by: Sean Fitzgerald
Read Matthew 26:26-30
Jesus and his disciples had gathered to share a meal to celebrate a past deliverance of the Hebrew people. The deliverance from Egypt and salvation from the spirit of death. As God had instructed the Hebrew people celebrated this feast every year, never forgetting what God had done for them. This feast is rich with imagery from the sacrificial lamb to the blood by which they were saved.
As we look in on Jesus and his followers take a good look around the room, at the table with him, Judas, the betrayer, Peter the denier, and the other 10 deserters I can’t help but be amazed as Jesus words and actions. John’s account tells us that in addition to claiming the bread as a symbol of his body and the wine his blood, Jesus will remove his outer garment, wrap a towel around his waist, get down on his knees and serve the ones that would disappoint him the most. This is certainly consistent with everything he had taught and all he is about to endure.
What they gathered to celebrate as a past deliverance, Jesus has now reframed it to be a celebration of the coming deliverance, or salvation, of all mankind from the bonds of sin and death. He proclaims, “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” As the next 12 hours unfold the power of this moment becomes unmatched in all time. As Jesus is hung on the cross, his blood poured out, a new covenant is established. The old one is fulfilled or completed, and the blood of THE Lamb of God ushers in a new covenant between God and His people.
It’s no accident that Passover, the celebration of deliverance, becomes a new celebration, a new feast, the one we call the Lord’s Supper.
As we follow the scripture we find that this meal, the Lord’s Supper, instituted by Jesus is something the early followers did often. Most likely every first day of the week and possibly even every time they came together. Because of this regularity we share in the breaking of bread and drinking the cup every Sunday morning. There are times, I am sure, that for many this becomes mundane or habitual losing is meaning or purpose. As those who have been redeemed may we seek to never allow this moment, this sacred feast, to lose its power and purpose in our lives. May we always connect it back to the upper room, the cross, and the empty tomb.
As you move toward the worship gathering this Sunday, take time to reconnect with Jesus and his disciples in the upper room, listen as he claims the bread and cup as symbols of his sacrifice and be prepared with gratitude and joy to share in this feast on Sunday morning.
TAKING IT TO THE FAMILY
Sit at the dinner table together. Do something that declares this a special moment. Maybe use you best dishes. Fix your favorite meal. As you share in your meal consider reading from Matthew 26, John 13, or one of the other gospel accounts of this meal. Try to connect with what's happening in the upper room and what some of them might have been thinking or saying as they were together.
Do you think anyone really understood what was happening that evening?
In a few hours, after Jesus is arrested where are all the others from the upper room?
Do we ever have moments where we don’t fully understand?
Does life with Jesus ever get so difficult that we step out, or run out, on Jesus?
What does this moment mean for us? Take a look at Hebrews 9, how doe the Hebrew writer connect with what's happening here in the upper room and the moments that follow?
NOW DO SOMETHING...
As you finish up your “special” time with the family take a minute to share how your time together was. Use our Facebook page or church email address to share a picture and a few words about your family's time together. If you like you can share your experience through video. However you choose, it will be greatly appreciated if you share it.
As we journey through the passion week together I pray our hearts will be cleansed and that our spirits will sore as we draw near to God together.
Blessings and Peace,
1 Comments on this post:
Thank you, Sean. It is now May 6th, and I have just now discovered this wonderful article you have put on our website. I re-read this, going to the scriptures you have suggested, and have been rewarded with much greater knowledge of its meaning. I am continually impressed with the many ways you are encouraging our learning. May God Bless you and your family more and more. You all are certainly a huge blessing to us.