123: The Lord's supper
Jesus and His disciples were seated together at the table. The meal was almost over. It was Jesus' last supper with His disciples.
The end of Jesus' life on earth and the end of God's covenant with Israel was near. The Jews could no longer be God's people if they killed the promised Messiah.
A new day was dawning. There would be a new people of God living on the earth, a people that bore the name of Christ.
There would be no place for Israel's Passover feast among that new people of God. They would remember their deliverance from the power of sin and death rather than from Egypt's might. They would use not the blood of the lamb to help them remember but the blood of the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who would surrender His life on the cross.
Jesus wanted to make sure that the new people of God never forgot how He died for them. He wanted them to realize that God was willing to forgive all their sins only because He had borne punishment for those sins. Therefore, on this last evening before His suffering, He instituted the Lord's supper.
The disciples must have sensed that something very special was about to happen. They could see from their Master's eyes that He was deeply moved. Carefully He took the bread in His hands and blessed it. Then He broke the bread, as a symbol of how His body would be broken for them.
He gave them each a piece of the bread and said: "Take and eat. This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me."
Then He took the cup of red wine and blessed it too. He passed it around to all of them and said, "Drink of it, all of you. This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you and many others for the forgiveness of sins."
Silently and reverently, the disciples ate the bread and drank the wine. Although they did not quite understand what Jesus meant by all this, their hearts were full of love for Him. They knew that they would never forget this ceremony.
Since that day, the Lord's supper, the holy communion instituted by Jesus Himself, is celebrated in churches all over the world.
Whenever believers see how the bread is broken, they think of how Jesus' body was broken for them.
When they see the red wine poured into the cup, they are reminded that the blood of their Savior flowed for them.
When the disciples had celebrated this first Lord's supper, Jesus assured them once
again that He would always love them. He was to die for their sins too.