Institution of the Lord’s Supper - Luke 22:7-23

Today, as a church community we take the Lord’s Supper together. As a church we do this at the beginning of every month. It is a reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. When Jesus first instituted the Lord’s Supper with his disciples He gave a new meaning to an old tradition established during the Exodus with Moses – the Passover. Tomorrow we will look at the origin of the Passover; today we are looking at how Christ made it new.

Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare for the Passover meal. This meal was a big deal. In Jesus’ day every Jewish person partook of this meal. The preparations were more involved than reserving a table at a restaurant. Specific foods and rituals were required.

When it was time to celebrate Passover, Jesus reclined at the table with his disciples. (In that day, the custom was to lie on your side at the table, with your feet angled away from the table.) Before taking the first bite, Jesus said some shocking words. They are not shocking to us who live after the cross, but His disciples still had not grasped the idea that Jesus was about to die and come back to life. Jesus told them that He deeply desired to share this meal before He suffered. I’m sure the disciples were a bit puzzled by this statement. He had mentioned similar things before, but they still did not fully understand.

There were ritual sayings that were recited at the Passover. Jesus broke from this tradition as He directed the meal. As He broke the flat bread—having no leaven or yeast—He equated it with His broken body. By doing this, Jesus brought in very physical imagery. From that moment on, at every celebration of the Passover—and at other times when they celebrated His death and resurrection—the breaking of bread was to remind them, and us, of His broken body. At Highland, we use broken matzo crackers. When the broken bread is passed around, remember that it is not meant to be a pre-lunch snack. Rather, the jagged edges of the multiple pieces should draw to mind the image of His body broken and bruised…for us.

When He passed the cup of wine around, He equated it with His blood. Before He shed His blood for us, He told the disciples that it was going to happen. But, remember, His suffering and bleeding was for a greater purpose – a new covenant. Today, for hygiene reasons, we do not pass around a single cup. While we miss some of the imagery of a community partaking of one cup together, we still have the constant reminder of what Christ did. By shedding His blood—dying on the cross—He brought new meaning to the Passover meal. He brought redemption in a new covenant to fulfill the old covenant.

Thoughts to Ponder
We, as a church community, celebrate the Lord’s Supper every month. We need to never let this event become mundane; we should never forget the seriousness of its meaning. It is easy to take the piece of bread and the little cup and follow the actions of everyone else. Let us strive hard to never let this celebration become a mundane event. When you hold the broken bread, think about the broken body of Christ hanging on the cross because of our sins. When you hold the cup of grape juice, think of the blood that Christ lost so that He could bring redemption. Let us never forget what the bread and the cup symbolize. When we eat the bread and drink the cup, we are celebrating the Lord’s death and resurrection; and we will continue to do so until He comes again.