[Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19
On December 6, 1907, explosions rocked a small community in the US state of West Virginia, producing one of the worst disasters in the history of the coal-mining industry. Some 360 miners were killed, and it’s been estimated that this horrific tragedy left behind about 250 widows and 1,000 children without fathers. Historians maintain that the memorial service became the seedbed from which the celebration of Father’s Day in the US would eventually grow. Out of great loss came remembrance and—eventually—celebration.
The greatest tragedy in human history occurred when human beings crucified their Creator. Yet, that dark moment also produced both remembrance and celebration. The night before He would go to the cross, Jesus took the elements of Israel’s Passover and created His own memorial celebration. Luke’s record describes the scene this way: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’ ” (Luke 22:19).
Still today, whenever we take communion, we honor His great, unflinching love for us—remembering the cost of our rescue and celebrating the gift of life His sacrifice produced. As Charles Wesley said in his great hymn, “Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
How often do you find yourself just going through the motions when taking communion? What are some ways to keep your focus on the cross?
Father, when I come to the memorial table, help me to remember why my forgiveness was so costly, and help me to celebrate Your great, awesome love.
The Passover meal commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. A lamb is eaten with bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness of slavery in Egypt, while unleavened bread symbolizes their hasty departure. Jesus, however, shockingly altered the Passover meal ceremony, indicating that this particular meal was a covenant-making one in which God’s covenant with humanity would be renewed through Jesus’ sacrificial death. In this way the Passover would find “fulfillment in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16).
The transformation of the Passover meal’s significance occurs through Jesus’ decision to become the Passover lamb in order to deliver the world from sin, evil, and death. The fulfillment of the Passover is the messianic banquet (14:15–24) celebrating God’s deliverance of all creation. At Jesus’ second coming, this banquet will celebrate the complete fulfillment of this deliverance, though Christ’s victory is already won and celebrated now.