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A sinner and songs of praise at the Last Supper

Posted Aug 10, 2017

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Daily Scripture

Luke 22:14-21

14 When the time came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles joined him. 15 He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.” 17 After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom has come.” 19 After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you.

21 “But look! My betrayer is with me; his hand is on this table.

Mark 14:22-26

22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 I assure you that I won’t drink wine again until that day when I drink it in a new way in God’s kingdom.” 26 After singing songs of praise, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Reflection Questions

The Passover Supper annually recalled God’s great liberating act in Egypt to set Israel free from slavery. It was central to their faith. The night before his crucifixion, Jesus shared the Passover with his disciples. Jesus added meaning to the meal as a way of remembering his giving of his body and blood to save them (and us). But Jesus didn’t limit that meal to “good” people, either—Judas was there. And it wasn’t somber and downcast, as we sometimes imagine. Mark noted that at the end, they sang “songs of praise.”

  • Practical issues and centuries of Christian tradition may make it hard for you to think of the Lord’s Supper as a “meal.” But when you take part, imagine a great meal, with Jesus as the host offering you and all those around the table the bread and wine. How might a sense of the Supper’s “meal-ness” create closer bonds between you and those who share the meal with you? How might it help you celebrate Jesus' generous forgiveness?
  • Imagine—Judas at the Last Supper, taking the first Communion! Scholar William Barclay wrote poignantly, “Jesus Christ has at every communion table those who betray him, for if in his house we pledge ourselves to him and then by our lives go out to deny him, we too are traitors to him.” * What made the difference between Judas and the other 11 flawed, fallible disciples? How can you, even when you fail, live as a loyal disciple of Christ?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for welcoming me at what the psalmist called the table you spread before me in the presence of my enemies. Keep me humble and grateful for the privilege of being your supper guest. Amen.


* William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel of Luke. Revised edition. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 267).

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Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

A year and a half ago I went to Brazil with some of my best friends. We were in Aracaju, a city on the beach, where one of my friends grew up. It was an amazing experience! We made memories lying in the sand, going dancing, traversing the city, exploring the country, spending time together, and eating everything from tropical fruit to traditional Brazilian barbeque. Yum! One of my favorite things we ate was cheese bread. This is not your typical pizza parlor bread loaded with cheese. No, these are little balls of heaven with a crispy crust and doughy, cheesy insides. For me, it was love at first bite. 

I was ecstatic to find Brazilian cheese bread when I returned to the states. A company called Brazi Bites sells it in the frozen section of some stores. Every now and then I will treat myself and, I must say, they are close to the real thing. Now when I bite into the cheese bread, I am first soaking up the flavors and textures. I don’t mean to oversell them, but I found them life-changing. But as I continue to eat them, I find myself not only enjoying the taste, but delighting in the associated memories from my trip to Brazil. I picture myself eating them in the city square or while dipping my toes into the ocean. In my mind, I’m surrounded by my friends and having the time of my life! Cheese bread is more than just a delicious snack, it’s a memory of that trip and those people. 

 
Maybe you have foods that bring up memories for you, too. I think of my grandmother when I eat homemade chocolate chip cookies, I think of my mom when I eat stew, and I think of a good friend when I eat potato olés at Taco John’s.
 
For me, communion is a similar experience. When I eat of the bread and take of the cup, it’s more than just food and drink. It’s a connection with my Savior, remembering the life and death of Jesus. It is a taste of miracles, teachings, healings, and blessings. It’s sacrificial love and holiness in one bite. It may resemble a simple morsel, but the next time you take communion, find yourself in the presence of the One who fully knows you, deeply loves you, and wholly redeems you. Enjoy the taste of that!

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