The next in the series of Meditations leading up to Easter.
Reading: Mark 14 v 22 – 26
On the night before he died, Jesus shared a meal with his disciples. During the course of it, he revealed that one of their number would betray him. As we saw yesterday, he knew that it would be Judas.
Jesus then explained to them, using symbols of bread and wine, what would happen to him. He had already told them that this would happen, but here he reinforced it using real, everyday examples.His body would be given in the sense that he would be put to death. Note it does not say broken, neither here nor in the other Gospels, nor in Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians. Not one bone of his body was broken (John 19 v 35 -37)!
There was tremendous significance in the shedding of blood that went back to the Old Testament sacrificial system. An animal would be killed and sacrificed as a symbol for the forgiveness of the sins of the people. Of course, animal sacrifices could not forgive sins, but they foreshadowed what Christ would do when he shed his blood. He was making a new covenant which would truly and completely bring forgiveness to those who avail themselves of it. The old covenant was based on the imperfect animal sacrifice, the new covenant was based on the perfect sacrifice of Christ who willingly gave himself up to death, shedding his blood.
We continue to remember what happened on that night when we gather around the Lord’s Table and eat bread and drink wine (or juice in some cases!). It is a shame that it has been a cause of so much controversy in the history of the church, usually centring around how much and in what way is Jesus actually present. For what it’s worth, and I’m not trying to cop out here or indeed distract from what this passage is teaching, I don’t believe that the elements of bread and wine literally become flesh and blood. However, I do believe that Communion is more than just a memorial, as some would see it. I believe that God does meet with his people in a very real and particular way as we eat bread and drink the wine together.
Jesus said that this was the last time he would do this while on earth, but this would continue when he went back into heaven. As believers, we continue to remember him in this way “until he comes.”
So we share in this Bread of Life,
And we drink of his sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of grace
Around the table of the King.
Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend