And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you (22:19-20 CSB).
The time for the beginning of the new age and Christ’s new covenant had come (22:19-20).
Jesus instituted a new meal of remembrance
A meal is a sign of death and life. Whatever you eat has come to the end of its life. Yet you have life through the death of what you eat. Life is given that life might continue. The Lord uses the physical sign to teach us this spiritual truth. We live because Jesus died. So we must think of his death that gives us life.
A meal also is a time and sign of sharing. He “gave it to them”; “for you”. At the Lord’s Table, we join with others who confess they receive life through the death of Jesus Christ. It is a time for Christ’s new family to share their faith in the Lord Jesus together. As the apostle Paul later wrote, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”. We preach this shared faith and hope to one another.
The Lord Jesus Christ event to focus on himself.
It is too easy to become self-centered, including during the Lord’s Supper when we are supposed to be celebrating God’s glory in Christ. It is an occasion to declare God’s worth. The Lord Jesus wants us to think on him; he wants us to recall his great act of deliverance. He wants us to think on him, our Redeemer and Rescuer.
It is to spur us on during our time of separation from him. (You see, we need to remember him, because he is not physically present with us now, and we so weakly rely on our physical senses.) We live in a brief interim, like a business trip, until Jesus comes to restore all things (Acts 3:21).
Are your thoughts fixed on Jesus?
But look, the hand of the one betraying me is at the table with me. For the Son of Man will go away as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” So they began to argue among themselves which of them it could be who was going to do it (22:21-23 CSB).
Jesus spoke of the trials of the new (22:21-23). The new age arrives through troubles. Salvation comes through judgment. The judgment we deserved fell upon Jesus the Messiah.
Here was a time of the struggle of the purpose of God versus the schemes of evil. It was a time of faithfulness versus unfaithfulness. Christ’s people still must stay true to the Lord and the gospel, because some false brothers among us won’t. Yet this trial was the time of God working out his ultimate victory. There was also uncertainty about the identity of the traitor. The betrayer acted like he wasn’t the man, though he had already sold Christ over to his enemies. The faithful disciples questioned themselves. True believers know their weakness, since we all struggle constantly with remaining sin. We learn the desperate evil that is still in our hearts and know too well where it could end. How are you doing in this struggle?
- Let those who follow Jesus remember that we are part of the ongoing story of God’s glory in Jesus Christ.
- Set your heart on the reign of God that will soon come. Our Lord’s return is nearer now than when we first believed. Are you ready?
Grace and peace,