Can This Meal Have Meaning for You?
A FULL moon bathes the land in soft light. In an upper room of a dwelling in age-old Jerusalem, 12 men are gathered about a table. Eleven pay rapt attention as their Teacher introduces a highly significant observance and speaks words of great import. Says one account:
“Jesus [Christ] took a loaf and, after saying a blessing, he broke it and, giving it to the disciples, he said: ‘Take, eat. This means my body.’ Also, he took a cup and, having given thanks, he gave it to them, saying: ‘Drink out of it, all of you; for this means my “blood of the covenant,” which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins. But I tell you, I will by no means drink henceforth any of this product of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father.’ Finally, after singing praises, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”—Matthew 26:26-30.
This occurred after sundown on the 14th day of the Jewish month Nisan in the year 33 of our Common Era. Jesus and his apostles had just celebrated the Passover in commemoration of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage in the 16th century B.C.E. Christ had dismissed Judas Iscariot, who was about to betray him. Hence, only Jesus and his 11 loyal apostles were present.
This supper was not a continuation of the Jewish Passover. It was something new that came to be called the Lord’s Evening Meal. Concerning this observance, Jesus commanded his followers: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26) Why did he say this? And how can this centuries-old event possibly have meaning for you?