Communion Sunday: What to Remember?
Communion: What to remember?
Luke 22: 15-21
What are we remembering today? What happened?
Thinking a bit meta for a moment, Jesus shared the Passover with His close disciples and in doing so shared an incredible object lesson with them. He appropriated the Passover feast. This was carefully chosen and full of meaning; it was the national deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt (Foreign Land). He could have chosen any feast day or moment in His ministry to demonstrate what He was doing with His life – but He chose The Passover.
Thinking closer to home, He shared this meal with His close disciples among whom was a betrayer – one who would set Him up for murder! Still, He not only shared the meal but the Apostle John’s account of the evening included Jesus washing all their feet! There was much to choose from that Jesus would say remember for the rest of time.
What are we to take away from this evening and call to remembrance?
A lot was happening; should they remember the foot washing or the meal itself?
Luke 22: 1-6 reminds us that there was an incredible amount of pressure coming down on Jesus and His followers – the pressure included secret meetings, assassination attempts, confrontations, people rioting as well as miraculous healings – the dead being raised to life! As we exit from this opening to the chapter – a deal has been struck between the religious leaders and one of Jesus’ own men (Judas Iscariot). Luke tells us that Satan had entered Judas – think about that for a moment. There are players in this unfolding drama that are larger than we think.
The spectra of spiritual warfare is real. The Apostle Paul will remind the church that we don’t fight against flesh and blood but rather “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12) The same forces that 30 plus years before were roaming the streets and invading the homes of Bethlehem slaughtering all the male babies 2 years and younger. These same forces were on the move this very night and coming again for the Son of Man – the redeemer, the Messiah. (Matt 2: 16)
Luke brings us into the intimate moment of sharing the Passover meal elements (vs. 14-22). Eating a meal together is incredibly personal. The way they were sitting probably placed Jesus at the center of a large horseshoe shaped arrangement. They were all able to look into one another’s faces. Jesus begins by leaning in and telling them He earnestly desired (craved or yearned) to eat this Passover with them before He would suffer (He knew what was waiting for Him). Which of us wouldn’t savor a last meal with friends and family before departing for a long journey, off to college or into the military?
Jesus tells His disciples that He won’t eat or drink with them like this again until the Kingdom of God had come. For the Christian today – the indwelling Holy Spirit is the Kingdom present but not fully in effect. Only when Jesus returns as the rightful King will the Kingdom be in full swing. The Kingdom of God is dawning in and through us - we’re like the advanced element of the Kingdom. Paul likens us to citizens of a heavenly Kingdom – here on earth (Philippians 3: 20). Peter likens us to strangers and aliens passing through (1 Peter 2: 11).
Jesus takes the bread and gives thank and states do this in remembrance of Me. In like manner, we’re told, He too the cup and stated it was poured out for them and is the new covenant in His blood. The new covenant that Jesus was inaugurating means a new relationship between God and His people – a movement from an ethnic centered community of biological family relations to a worldwide spirit centric family of people. This new covenant was accomplished by His broken body and shed blood; this is what Jesus calls His followers to remember.
Remember the new relationship with God is via the work of Jesus. It is the grace of God and not of our works, efforts or even good intentions. This is God reconciling man to Himself. Not man reconciling himself to God.
Christian, Henri Nouwen, saw in the communion experience a call to action. To remember is not a passive action – but requires engagement. A question as we go into the week: Think - As Jesus was broken, torn and given away – are we ready to follow Him and ask where am I to be broken, torn and given away.
He captured His own mission like this… “The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give my life a ransom for many.” (Matt 20: 28)
People around you need you. What does it look like to follow Jesus from here today? It begins in your heart and mind – saying the phrase, “I will remember what Jesus did for me and do my best to do that for others.”
What it looks like will be different for all of us. It might be as simple as helping someone by opening the door for them. It might be as involved as sitting down and listening to someone. It might be as bold as “how can I help you?”
“I will remember what Jesus did for me and do my best to do that for others.”