Read: Luke 22v14– 38
When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And 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 again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
Meditate: Today we go back to the night when Jesus was betrayed, to the moment when he shared his last meal with his disciples. ‘Maundy Thursday’ is the commemoration of this moment. The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the ‘commandment’ which, in John’s gospel, Jesus gave to his followers that night: the commandment that they should love one another as he had loved them.
In Luke’s account we see that kind of love embodied as Jesus patiently teaches the disciples as they quarrel and argue, make promises they can’t keep, all while failing to understand the great promises Jesus is making. Just like us.
Communion is not just a meal. It is a time for teaching, and modeling, Jesus’ view of God’s kingdom. And it’s also a time for getting ready for the trials and challenges that are about to come.
A wise old bishop once described Communion as a ‘warrior’s banquet.’ It is the food we need to strengthen us to go and do the work of God’s kingdom.
Engage: Attend the Good Friday service tomorrow tonight at 6pm with your family. Ask yourself, ‘How will my Communion equip me to face the temptations and the hostility I will run into the minute I leave church?’