Glances around the table. Reclining in the custom of their day, the disciples were satisfied with their preparations. So much had happened since they first began following Jesus. Although most of them were still young, they had learned much, experienced much. Once again the Passover was upon them. Various conversations ebbed and flowed. They ate in that comfortable way which comes from three years of doing life together everyday. Some were relaxed; others, particularly Judas Iscariot, seemed furtive, restless.
Then Jesus interrupted their dinner conversation, stunning all of them into brief silence. “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
Each of them, one by one, asked, “Surely, you don’t mean me?” Judas was last to ask this question.
With certainty, Jesus replied, “You have said so.”
Awkwardly they continued to eat, the conversation now subdued. Jesus looked at them, tenderness in his eyes. He raised a loaf of bread. They looked at him expectantly, quieting their conversations. He gave thanks, broke the bread, and then passed it to them, saying, “Take and eat; This is my body.”
Quietly, they did so, pondering his words. What did he mean, this is my body? But he wasn’t finished speaking. Breaking into their thoughts, he reached for the cup of wine, gave thanks again, and then passed it to them, saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
More glances around the table. They each partook. Someone started singing a hymn. Not sure who, and not sure which one, but soon most joined in with full voice.
I wonder if their voices rang in Judas’s ears as he departed the scene, the song co-mingled with the penetrating memory of Jesus’ declaration that he would betray his master of three years.
The last supper of Jesus and his disciples reminds us of a few important things:
He wants us to remember his body, his blood each time we gather in community, and to do so bringing our brokenness to him and each other so that we may be forgiven and healed (Mt. 26:28).
He wants us to remember that there will come a day when all who choose to follow him will share with him and each other personally in his father’s kingdom (Mt. 26:29).
He wants YOU to remember he loves you. So much that he died for your sins in your place (Jn 3:16-18).
Quotes above taken from Matthew 26 (NIV).