On the eve of his death, Jesus made sure to eat the Passover meal with his disciples. With so much on his mind, he took the time to break bread with his brethren.
In today’s reading from Luke 22, verses 7-13 detail the arrangements Jesus made in organizing his disciples to prepare the room for the meal. It was important to him.
Is it important to us? We don’t have impending crucifixion bearing down on us, so perhaps the pressing need isn’t so great. It is easy to go through the motions habitually each Sunday morning and take it for granted. And now, during the coronavirus lockdown, it’s even easier to roll out of bed, listen to an exhortation, sing some hymns, break bread, drink wine and then get on with our day.
It is easy to go through the motions habitually each Sunday morning and take it for granted.
It isn’t easy to enter into the spirit of that first breaking of bread in the upper room. It was, after all, the eve of our Lord’s death. But how do we bring more urgency and meaning into breaking bread together?
It’s not about doing everything right – selecting good hymns, having a suitable exhortation, making sure everything runs smoothly. Those things help, of course, but unless we capture something of that first breaking of bread, it can be an empty ritual.
A key is in the two things Jesus said concerning the bread and cup. For the bread, he said,
That’s what we break bread for – to remember Christ. What are our expectations when breaking bread? That the hymns will be uplifting, the exhortation encouraging?
What we should be focusing on is Christ, bringing him to mind. We can’t remember him personally, but we can focus our attention on his trials and temptations, and of course, his death and resurrection. There’s something about remembering those things, each time we meet together, that our Lord wants us to include as an integral part of our worship.
how do we bring more urgency and meaning into breaking bread together?
For the cup, Jesus said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (v20). That’s the other main element to think about – the fact we’re in the bonds of a covenant. It took the blood of Christ to bring us into our relationship with God, and that’s what we need to think about when we drink from the cup.
What we should be focusing on is Christ and the fact we’re in the bonds of a covenant.
Together, the bread and cup also remind us of our relationship with each other. Are we Christ’s disciples in the way we treat each other, or do we act more like those who acted in the various fleshly ways that brought about Jesus’ death? Are we pouring out our lives in service to one another as our Lord gave his life to serve his brethren?
When we look at the time Jesus set aside, on the eve of his death, to gather his brethren together so he might break bread with them, what does it tell us about what our attitude should be towards the memorial service and our relationship as brothers and sisters?
Jesus died to get the point across. When we think of the principles he not only taught at the Last Supper, but then lived out, letting his body be cruelly nailed to a cross, and his blood shed, what does that tell us about what the breaking of bread, and its outworking in our lives, should mean to us?
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