22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:22-26

In Luke 22:14, Jesus expressed His eager desire to share this final Passover meal with His disciples before He suffered. There is so much meaning packed into this ceremony. The entire Old Testament climaxed in that moment. Everything that Passover symbolised was being fulfilled.

The disciples, all Jews, would have understood the symbolism of the bread and wine, according to function and not form, not taking Jesus’ words literally, as some heretical branches of the church do, but interpreting what He was saying to express the stark reality of the events about to unfold. They may not have understood it all then, but after ave thanks. Pentecost it would all come alive to them. Then they would be able to “connect the dots” to see the whole picture clearly.

As we read the words of this simple ceremony, they don’t impact us a powerfully as they would have impacted those twelve men that night. Even Judas would have been riveted by Jesus’ disclosure. What thoughts ran through his mind as Jesus spoke of His broken body and poured out blood? How did he connect that with the dastardly act of betrayal that was already taking shape in his mind? Did he realise that he, in some perverted way, would play a part in the unfolding drama of redemption? His mind was probably fixed on the reward of his betrayal – a small fortune in a bag!

There is no fear, anxiety or distress in Jesus’ words. He disclosed the outcome of the next fateful hours with confidence, even expectation. He was not there to announce the end of His life but a transition into a new era with His friends – the kingdom of God. When would He share the Passover meal with them again? Would it be only after His return, when He wraps up this season of earth’s existence and restores everything to His original purpose? Perhaps, but is it not true that He shares that Passover experience with His people every time they celebrate the Lord’s Supper because, wherever His body is, there He is in the midst?

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Luella Campbell

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