Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We Plow The Fields"1 (Lyrics)
1 Corinthians 11:26 – For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (NIV)
Many cultures have a tradition of harvest celebration involving a special meal. Remembering the reason for the gathering is what makes it so special. People in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of November. At this time of year my childhood memories return — memories of Thanksgiving's special menu, the family gatherings, and lots of hustle and bustle, with aunts and cousins in the kitchen and the men-folk inside and outside. Then, there was the long-awaited final treat of pumpkin pie at the end of the meal. Although I was far removed from the rural part of the family history, my father certainly recalled memories of long months of hard farm work and the rewards and relief of having a food supply ready for winter. Recalling God's provision always caused thanksgiving.
For all Jews, the most special traditional meal of all is Passover. They gather to remember how God protected the Israelites by instructing them to put lamb's blood on their door frames so that the Lord would pass over their homes when He struck down all the firstborn sons of Egypt. When Jesus instructed His disciples to make preparation for the Passover meal, I imagine that there would be a great deal of work involved in preparing the many ingredients for the Passover foods, which are very symbolic of this event, and are designed to bring to mind thanksgiving for God's rescue. But I imagine that Jesus' words must have shaken the disciples as they reclined at the table during what turned out to be their last supper with Him.
Luke 22:15-20 – 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 of 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." (NIV)
Imagine the many memories that the disciples had of this traditional meal as they shared in it. But this particular time, Jesus said that they would celebrate it differently from then on. After Jesus rose from the dead and they realized the full significance of what Jesus meant, I'm sure that they looked forward to its "fulfillment in the kingdom of God" when they would have that celebration with Jesus once again. We continue to remember by taking these sacraments together as the family of God … "until He comes".
Don't forget! Remember Jesus! He died once for all to rescue us, He was raised to life eternal, and He is coming again!
Prayer: Holy and merciful Father, thank You for rescuing us by the precious blood of the Lamb, and for giving us the table of remembrance to freshen our memories and to increase our anticipation of His return. Amen.