When we read the stories of the Last Supper in the Gospels, it is worth noting that the disciples had no idea what was going on!
2,000 years later, we can talk about Judas, the man who is about to betray Jesus and give the authorities an easy chance to arrest him for a small bribe. Today, we know that it was all part of God’s plan and Jesus knew that too.
2,000 years later we can imagine Jesus breaking the loaf and we can reflect on that act as a symbol of his body being broken and life being taken from it as he is nailed to the cross. We can see him pouring wine into a cup as a metaphor of his blood being shed for the forgiveness of our sins, just like a bull, goat or lamb in the temple.
We can even mark that particular Passover celebration as a moment in time when new meaning emerged like a butterfly from a chrysalis because Jesus’ death on the cross will become a new day of God’s deliverance from sin and evil.
But the disciples did not understand a bar of it!
Jesus had tried to tell them, of course, on a number of occasions, that he was headed to Jerusalem, where he would be killed, and on the third day rise from the dead.
On one notable occasion, Peter couldn’t handle it, saying, ‘Never Lord! This shall never happen to you!’, prompting Jesus’ shocking and now famous response, ‘Get behind me, Satan... you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns’ (Matt 16: 23).
Peter and the 12 didn’t get it then, so it is unlikely anything has changed now at the Passover meal. The disciples have no clue as to what is about to happen to Jesus, they don’t realise that this is the last time they will eat together, and so they also don’t know what this Last Supper represents.
But these men trusted their Rabbi and Master and so they went along with it. They did what he asked them to do – they ate the bread and drank the wine, believing it was just another regular festival, same as last year.
It was only after Jesus rose from the dead that things started to make sense.
It strikes me that there are times when we don’t understand things either. There are seasons when we have questions, uncertainties, and, sometimes, unexplained heartaches in our lives. We come to church, or we gather with friends and we share and take communion.
Why do we do that? Perhaps because it is something we do regularly, and maybe because our Lord and Master, Jesus has told us to. Perhaps it is also our way of saying we trust him, and we believe that one day the questions, uncertainties and heartaches will make more sense.
So, let me suggest, next time you take the bread and wine to remember Christ’s death on the cross, consider doing the following: Acknowledge that you don’t understand everything, but thank him for dying on the cross. Tell Him where you might be struggling, but then as you eat the bread and drink the wine say, ‘Lord I trust you. I don’t know how things are going to work out, but I trust you’.
The best is yet to come. God bless - Terry