In the midst of what is known to us as the Last Supper, Jesus reveals thanksgiving, grace, and joy.
On that night, during the Festival of Unleavened Bread, in that home with table laid out for a Passover meal, in that room amongst the 12, Jesus gave thanks. Bread on the table, He picked it up and gave thanks to His Father in Heaven. Bread in hand, Jesus thanked Father God for the bread, which He revealed to those gathered was His Body. His Body...it's sole purpose… made and sent to be a sacrifice for all.
For it, He gave
Bread in hand, He offered grace to those at the table. Grace, even to the one who would eat the meal with Jesus, then leave the table and immediately betray Him. Grace, even to the rest who would fall away and deny Him just a few hours later. That's just it, grace just wouldn't be grace unless it's unmerited favor to all….no matter what. He offered them all Bread, His Body, and said, Take it and eat.
He did the same with a cup of wine. Raised it to Heaven and gave thanks for it. But, it wasn't just the cup and it's contents He was thankful for. It was the Blood, His Blood, which would be poured out for all of mankind. He was thankful that He carried the life-giving, healing payment due for the forgiveness of all sin. That this Blood would make a new covenant between God and His people. And again this grace…Drink from it, all of you. Yes, you Judas, and you too Peter…drink.
After He passed around the cup for all, He shared what He saw up ahead. A celebration in Heaven when all would be gathered together with Him in His Father's Kingdom drinking wine and celebrating. He said He wouldn't drink wine again until then. Until we were with there Him, together in heaven, everyone will drink it new He said. He saw ahead to what would come of His excruciating sacrifice and it was beautiful to Him and He anticipated it.
Thinking about Jesus and the bread, I can’t help but think of another pivotal time in His ministry where we see Him dealing with bread. Could it be a foreshadowing? Five loaves given as a sacrifice by someone's young son, lifted up to Heaven in thanks by the Son of God, broken and freely given to all, thousands fed to their fill with what began as an offering of five loaves. Even still, twelve baskets were filled to the brim with leftovers. Later, Jesus, His one body given as a sacrifice, lifted up to Heaven on the Cross at calvary, broken and freely given to all, every sin forgiven with what began as one perfect offering. Even still, today He continues to give out of the reserves of Heaven to all who would gather to Him.
It all started with Him giving thanks. Thanks for the Body which is the sacrifice, grace for all to receive it, and joy for the day we’re all gathered to Him in celebration.
His one command at the Last Supper?
Do this to remember me...
Give thanks to remember me...
Receive grace and remember me...
Have joy in thinking of our future together and remember me...
This reminds me of another "remember me" quoted in scripture. Sentenced to die on that same ominous day on calvary, a criminal hanging on a cross at Jesus' side cries out to the One he could now see...
Remember me when you come into your kingdom...
Jesus immediately replied, I assure you today you will be with me in paradise.
So, wherever you are, in whatever state you're in, remember Him today and you will be with Him.
What does Jesus offer us when we commune with Him?
And how should we receive it?
In the same way it was given.
Arms extended in thanks.
Hands open to receive grace.
Hearts fixed on the joy ahead.
My heart's desire is to make each day one of communion with Him.