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Luke 22:1-27, Last Supper (Holy Thursday)

An Ageless Meal

Ever since God created a covenant with Abraham, both God and people had been trying to keep up their end of the covenant. The covenant was basically this: God will be their God, and they would be God’s people. Over and over again, the people broke the covenant by worshiping other gods or forgetting about God. Over and over again God let the people be exiled and separated from God until a time when God would rescue and deliver them once again. Clearly, this covenant was not working as planned.

So God created a brand new covenant with God’s people, one that did not rely on the people’s ability to remain faithful. This new covenant was established in the Passover meal Jesus shared with his disciples, and fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This new covenant was basically this: God will be our God, and we will be God’s people; regardless of our ability to remain faithful, God will remain faithful to us. Jesus’ death and resurrection obliterated anything that could stand in the way of our relationship with God. Even today, we are blessed every day with the promise that God will never abandon us. We can share in the very meal that Jesus shared with his disciples each and every time we commune together. What a grand gift all wrapped up in the tiny elements of bread and wine!

Narrative Lectionary Text: Luke 22:1-27

Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal. When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given 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.” And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!” Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it could be who would do this. A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.