When they gathered in the Upper Room that night, it was for a meal. Did they know it would be their last? – the last meal they would share together with Jesus before the world was changed forever. How could they know? Only Jesus knew what the next hours were to hold in store for Him, for His followers and for all mankind. But for this moment, they had come together to share a meal.
However, it wasn’t just any meal. This was a meal that had become a ritual of remembrance. This was the Passover meal. Passover is an annual observance. When the Israelites ate the Passover meal, they remembered how their forefathers had been delivered from slavery in Egypt into the freedom of God’s Promised Land. Their deliverance from bondage into freedom turned out to be quite the long, hard, winding journey – a journey which served to prepare them for their new role as free citizens of Israel – a nation of God’s chosen people.
This particular Passover meal, which Jesus shared with His disciples that night in the Upper Room, turned out to be the Last Supper, or the Lord’s Supper, which is now Communion – our meal of remembrance today. When we participate in this meal, we remember through the bread and the wine, that we too have been set free, delivered from slavery to sin into freedom in Christ.
Like the Israelites, my journey and probably your journey, too, from bondage to freedom, is a long, hard, winding journey. Just as the Passover meal reminded the Israelites of how God miraculously freed them from the powerful Egyptians, Communion reminds you and I, each time we take it, of how God has miraculously freed us from the bondage of our sin and set us free.
When I take Communion, I am reminded that God accomplished this miracle of freeing me from sin’s bondage by Jesus’s body being broken on the cross and His blood being poured out for my sins on that cross. The bread and the wine of the Communion meal, remind me that through Jesus’s broken body and shed blood, I too have been delivered from slavery into freedom, from certain death into everlasting life.
That night in the Upper Room, the disciples didn’t know it would be their last Passover meal with Jesus or that their long-standing tradition of Passover would be replaced with a new one – Communion. Likewise, I don’t know which Communion will be my Last Supper, because I don’t know when Jesus will return or when I will leave this earth. Until that time, I will take Communion as Jesus instructed, “this do in remembrance of Me until I come again.” I know that “as often as we (I) eat this bread and drink this cup, we (I) proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again.”
The Passover meal celebrates the physical redemption and liberation of God’s people. Communion celebrates the spiritual redemption and liberation of God’s people. Every time I participate in Communion, I remember and I celebrate. I remember that it is Christ’s broken body that heals mine and makes it whole. I remember that I have been bought with a price. The price was Jesus’s life-giving blood. And I celebrate my release from sin’s slavery and my newfound freedom in Christ.
Communion, like Passover, is a most meaningful meal. Communion connects me to my Savior and the sacrifice He made for me and for mankind that day on the cross. I will continue to remember and to celebrate with Communion until I am invited to another meal yet to come – the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” (Revelation 19:9) What a joyous meal that will be!
sincerely, Grace Day