Over the holidays we saw some friends we had not seen in quite some time. I suggested that we get together that afternoon and spend time together, but the idea turned into a dinner invitation. (Don't let Roger fool you... everyone knows that pastors are always on the prowl for a free meal! Peggy)
We had a great time sharing that meal together, and the conversation that followed was wonderful. The meal was a gift we shared together, a time of shared affection, a time of closeness.
What is the “bomb” Jesus drops on this gathering? Who will betray Jesus? Is a name given here?
Immediately following this revelation, what does Jesus do? What does the bread represent? What does the wine represent?
I have frequently commented that meals together, in my opinion, are a tremendous expression of love. It is a time when those involved are physically near to one another and usually emotionally near to one another – a time of openness and sharing. Jesus has gathered with his followers to celebrate the Passover Feast and in the middle of the celebration he declares that one of these beloved followers will betray him. No name is given in Mark, but the disciples know it is the person who dips his food in the same bowl as Jesus.
Then, immediately after this announcement, Jesus breaks bread and pours out wine for those with him. He is reminding them that his sacrifice on the cross is for them. His blood poured out is an act of forgiveness. And the one who will betray him is part of this sharing, this sacrifice and forgiveness.
The love of Jesus was an all-consuming love, a giving love, an unselfish love that provided for every need of the person receiving it. The entirety of the gathering and sharing of the Last Supper was an expression of love from Jesus.
He loved his followers so much he wanted that time of intimacy and closeness with them. He loved them so much he was willing to have his body broken, his blood poured out, so they may receive eternal life. He loved them so much he shared the bread and wine, symbolically inviting them to grow deeper in their faith, to make him a very part of who they were.
And the one who most would consider Jesus’ worst enemy was included in this time of love and forgiveness. Jesus has set the example for us. We need to love as he loved, a love that is all-encompassing and sacrificial.
DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you show sacrificial love to someone else?