Holy Week: Thursday
Read: Matthew 26:20-35
When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, He said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays Him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” Judas, the one who would betray Him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” And He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
On the way, Jesus told them, “Tonight all of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.”
Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
“No!” Peter insisted. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the other disciples vowed the same.
Re-read verses 26-28. Read it again but this time read slower.
The Passover feast was a time to remind the Israelites how God had liberated them from slavery in Egypt. (Read Exodus 11 and 12 for context).
Jesus led the disciples in the annual Passover celebration of God’s promised freedom. He offered a new direction of thought which, for those who followed Him and came to believe in Him, took Passover in a new direction which has continued to this day. Instead of just remembering how God liberated the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, now we also remember Jesus and how He has liberated us from the bondage of sin.
As they took the meal Jesus made clear that the Passover lamb is no longer going to be an actual lamb, but Jesus Himself will be the last lamb that was slain. By Jesus saying this, He’s saying that He is in fact the Savior of humanity.
Notice Jesus says, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people.” A covenant is a relationship between two people; however, the covenant Jesus is talking about is a relationship between God and humanity. Essentially Jesus is saying, because of my life and my death, a new relationship is possible between you and God.
When we take communion now, we remember that Jesus is the one who has liberated us from sin and death. His body was broken to save us, and His blood was shed so that we can be in relationship with God.
Thank God for His redemption and His plan to relate with us. God wants to be in relationship with you, every day. Thank God for Him being relational. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to continue to keep your eyes fixed on God and His kingdom.