Today’s Lectio Divina: Luke 22: 14-20 (MsgB)
When it was time, He (Jesus) sat down, all the apostles with Him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the Kingdom of God.” Taking the cup, He blessed it, then said, “Take this and pass it among you. As for Me, I’ll not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God arrives.” Taking bread, He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, given for you. Eat it in My memory.” He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in My blood, blood poured out for you.”
If you’ve ever celebrated a Christian communion service (the Eucharist) in the midst of a Jewish Passover Seder, you know the event is not a short one-and-done kind of thing. Sharing the Lord’s Supper, as part of a Passover meal, is more of a celebration of family and friends, an evening to be experienced than it is a religious sacrament.
Passover, you see, is an evening of both remembrance and anticipation.
First, Passover focuses God’s people on all He has done in Israel’s past, rescuing and delivering them from numerous trials and hardships. It’s a sober celebration and remembrance of Yahweh, Israel’s Rescuing King. The great deliverance story of Moses and Pharaoh from the Book of Exodus is the theme for the evening. And every good Jew knows that each Passover begins with the burning question, ‘Why do we celebrate the Passover tonight?’
Yet not only does Passover reflect on the past and all God has done, but it also focuses God’s people on the glorious future we all have in Him. The promise and hope of tomorrow. Not some shallow political campaign promise, but real hope, real change, real life. Life filled with family, fruitfulness, and fellowship with God and His people.
Anticipation is looking forward to something or someone. A looking forward that brings joy and strength to the soul. A looking forward which allows us to step out of our present-day troubles and foresee an event which will be so full of life that it can trump our present pain or suffering.
Anticipation is a unique gift given by God. Human beings are the only species on the planet that actually have the ability to anticipate.
As I read this very familiar passage from Luke’s gospel; the story of the first Eucharist, the first Communion; I’m struck by the fact that Jesus, God’s Holy Son, has great anticipation in His heart as He looks forward to this unique evening with His friends.
So when Jesus states that His disciples have no idea how much anticipation He has in His heart for this one last evening of Passover celebration, I’m guessing that Jesus is literally bursting with excitement as He reviews with His friends all of God’s miraculous works that have occurred over the last three years of Kingdom ministry. He is also looking forward, maybe even a bit giddy, to a day, that at this moment in time, only He and the Father can see. A day when every man, woman, and child, from every generation, from every tribe, nation, and tongue, gather together in one unique place, in one unique holy setting, to break bread together, raising the Passover cup and celebrating eternal life and everlasting shalom in God, our Father’s loving presence.
The Lord’s Supper. The Eucharist. Holy Communion.
A moment of remembrance and anticipation. Both a celebration of all God has done and a looking forward to all He is yet to do.
May we never make our celebration of the broken bread and poured out cup anything but.
My prayer: Lord, may I never walk blindly through the sacrament of Holy Communion. May I take the time to reflect in my heart on all the wonderful things You have done in my life, serving me so well as my Rescuing King. May I also look forward with full anticipation, past my present-day troubles, to the glorious future You have planned for all of us. May I be like Jesus, both remembering the glorious past and anticipating the amazing future, for Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How have I allowed the Eucharist to lose meaning and importance in my life? Have I become so familiar with the sacrament of Holy Communion that I’m lacking the proper remembrance, or missing the high anticipation that I see in Jesus as He celebrates this event with His friends? What practical steps can I take to restore the amazing power of God’s presence to this holy act of worship?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are journeying through this Lenten Adventure?
Over a 48-day period (from Ash Wednesday through the Monday after Easter), you and I will be taking a deeper look at the stories surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus (especially the last week known as Holy Week) as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Our Lenten Journey home page for ease of use.
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