It’s Maundy Thursday. The disciples gather in the Upper Room. Jesus passes bread and wine among them. He tells them to eat and drink, that the bread is his body and the wine is his blood.
I wonder what they thought of this. If they did it out of a sense of habit. Jesus was their rabbi, their teacher, and students do what the teacher asks. Or did they have some sense of holy mystery and wonderment? Did they guess that he was giving them a way to celebrate their faith in a tangible, taste-able way? Did they know what his sacrifice would mean? Of course not. They were living this story as it unfolded and they couldn’t possibly have known what it all would mean. Even though he had told them he would die, and rise again, they couldn’t have understood it.
I’m still struggling to understand it, and I’ve known this story my whole life. Here’s what I know: when believers in Jesus gather around a table and share bread and wine, we get to literally taste and see that the Lord is good. We get to share in the reality that God became a man, died for our sin, and rose again breaking the bonds of sin and death for ever. We get to remember this with more than our minds or our hearts, with our whole bodies – with the senses of taste and touch, sight and sound, that God has granted us.
It is mysterious and it is beautiful and it is life-giving. And though this was a dark night on the life of Jesus – a night on which he was betrayed and arrested, abandoned by his friends – it was also a night on which he taught us how to live out our belief in him. By having a little supper with our friends and knowing he is among us.
May your Maundy Thursday celebration – in what ever for it takes – bring you closer to the life-changing love of Jesus, the Christ.
Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
Luke 22:17-20 NLT