On Thursday of Holy Week for this Pray the Word, we remember what happened when Jesus gathered together with his disciples.
Luke 22:14-20, “And when the hour came, Jesus reclined at table and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to east this passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Behold the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined. But woe to that man by whom he is betrayed.’ And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.”
Jesus institutes a new meal, telling of His sacrifice for and redemption of sinners.
The time to eat the passover meal had finally arrived. Jesus instructed Peter, John to make the necessary preparations so that he could partake of this meal with his disciples. They found a large upper room, just as Jesus said they would. All is going according to plan on this Thursday of Holy Week. The disciples gathered around the table not knowing that this would be unlike any passover they had ever experienced.
Jesus reclines here at the table, he starts talking about he’s longed to eat this meal with them before he suffers. He takes the bread and starts talking about how it’s his body and they were to eat it in remembrance of him. He says this cup is a new covenant in his blood. This was the institution of a new relationship between God and his people and it would revolve around his body and his blood. That thought, what does that mean? How is his body, his blood, how is that going to make it possible for us to have a relationship with God in a whole new way. This is the beauty of what becomes clear that’s been promised all throughout the Bible. But it becomes clear as Jesus goes to the cross.
The fact that we have sinned against God and no matter what we do, no matter how many laws we try to obey, there’s no way we can overcome the fact that our hearts are sinful and we’re prone to do that which we want to do instead of what God has called us to do. We’ve all sinned against God but the beauty is in the body and the blood of Christ, we have a picture of God who has come to us in his son Jesus and though he had no sin in him, has paid the price for our sin. When he would go to the cross, his body and his blood would be given, would be shed to cover over our sin. He would be a substitute for us on the cross. And because of what he did by dying on the cross, he would make a way for our sins to be covered. Because he gave his body, shed his blood, we can stand totally forgiven before a holy God.
So, this is the passage that reminds us, we need to remember this constantly. Not just when we take the Lord’s Supper, not just during Holy Week, but we need to remember … I was thinking about it this morning. As I was praying, it’s only possible for me to pray, to be in the presence of the Holy God because of the sacrifice of Jesus on a cross. So we pray. This is what makes it possible for us to pray.
“God right now. We know. There’s not way would come before you based on our own merit. There’s no way that we could come before you. We’re sinners. You are holy. We deserve to be separated from you forever.yet here we are talking to you, we’re praying to you. You’re listening to us. This is only possible because of the body and the blood of Jesus. This is only possible because of what he did on the cross for us. So Jesus, we thank you. Thank you for making prayer possible. Thank you for making relationship with God possible. Thank you for making communion with you possible.
“What a fitting word to describe the Lord’s Supper that we celebrate in churches is ‘communion.’ We have the opportunity to know you, to be with you, to speak with you, to hear from you, to lift our hearts to you, and to pray before you because of what Jesus did on the cross. So on this Thursday of Holy Week, we thank you. We thank you for the privilege of communion with you, of a covenant relationship with you, based not on our merit, what we could do to earn our way to you. But based solely on your mercy, what you have done in the body and blood of Jesus to make this kind of communion possible. We thank you, we praise you for the privilege of communion with you. Help us to live in it all day long. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”