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Matthew 26:17-30, Words of Institution (Maundy Thursday)

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’
— Matthew 26:26

NL Daily Devotion for Thursday, April 18, 2019

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff


Main Idea: Jesus’ gift of salvation is for all people, despite our inability to deserve it.

It is fitting that Jesus chose the Passover as the celebration that would become his last supper with his disciples. Passover was the feast celebrating the event where God delivered the people of Egypt from slavery at the time of Moses. The Passover feast included a remembrance of the lamb’s blood the Israelites placed on their doorposts, so the angel of death would pass them by. It also included a remembrance of unleavened bread that would prepare them for their long journey ahead. The feast was a celebration of deliverance, salvation, and redemption for the people of Israel.

Jesus used the imagery to shift the redemption from Israel to all people; from deliverance from slavery to deliverance from sin and death. Jesus indicated that the lamb’s blood would now be his blood; that the nourishment to prepare and sustain them would be his body. Jesus would give everything of himself so that everyone and everything else might be saved.

And what of Judas’ betrayal? Jesus indicated that he knew a betrayal had occurred, and that it was done by one of his closest friends. And yet, when the time came to share the bread and wine that would mark the new salvation, Jesus shared it with “all of” his disciples—even the one who had betrayed him. Jesus’ salvation isn’t selective—it is for all people regardless of their worthiness to receive it. This is the greatest gift humanity could receive—salvation not contingent on our ability to obtain it.

It is an unconditional gift for an unworthy lot. In Jesus’ eyes, we are all worthy to be saved—not because we do, but because we are.

Earlier Event: April 17
Matthew 27:1-26, Passion
Later Event: April 19
Matthew 27:27-61, Crucifixion