While most Christians have a vague understanding of the symbolism of what we call the “Lord’s Supper,” few believers understand how Jesus transformed the most important meal in Jewish life into a way to remember the most important event in human history.
The book of Luke, written for the Gentiles, does not give a detailed explanation of the entire meal, but instead focuses on two elements that would become part of the new meal we call The Lord’s Supper: the bread and the wine.
The bread represents the body of Christ and reminds us that Jesus was willing to leave behind the majesty of heaven and submit Himself to His Father’s will – to provide deliverance from sin. The wine represents the blood of Jesus Christ, which is the only method that can adequately atone for our sin. And when we trust in Christ to be our Savior, God no longer sees our sin, but the blood of His Son and He “passes over us” in judgment (Romans 8:1).
It’s easy to study Luke 22 and get lost in the chronology of the last week of Jesus' life, the elements of the Seder meal, or even to focus on the horrible ordeal Jesus was about to endure on the cross. However, the whole point of this chapter is found in two simple words, which are repeated twice: “for you.”
“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.’” (Luke 22:19-20)
Jesus is saying “My body instead of yours is the one being offered as a sacrifice for sins. My blood is being poured out for your sins instead of yours.” God could have directed His punishment toward us, because we deserve it. Yet, He poured out His punishment on Jesus, who is our substitute (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus was saying to His disciples “The sacrifice I’m about to make is not for someone else, but it is FOR YOU.”
While that message was to everyone reclining around the table that night, there are two men who desperately needed to hear it who would both betray Jesus that very night. Judas Iscariot would sell out the Lord for thirty pieces of silver. But the other disciple who would do something equally heinous was the Apostle Peter.
Peter would be the leader of the apostles, and Satan knew if he could take Peter out, he had a good shot and stopping the whole Christian movement before it got off the ground (Luke 22:31-32).
And within a few hours Peter would be tempted to deny Christ three different times.
But Jesus said, “I’m praying for you, Peter, that your faith won’t fail; and that you, when once you have turned again will strengthen your brothers.” Hebrews 7:25 says Jesus is praying for you right now as you go through a test.
Peter did fail, and he failed miserably. Just as Judas failed. But Christ offered both men forgiveness for their sins. His sacrifice would be for both of them.
“This is my body, this is my blood, which is FOR YOU.”
The difference was one man – Judas – turned away from God’s gift, and the other man, Peter, repented and received the gift.
Jesus offers you the same gift. You may think, “God could never forgive me.” He forgave David, who was guilty of murder and adultery. He forgave the apostle Paul, who was guilty of murder and blasphemy. He forgave Peter, who denied Christ and cursed His name, and He was willing to forgive Judas who betrayed him.
Today Jesus offers to do the same for you.
“This is my body, this is my blood” which is given FOR YOU.
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Adapted from “In Remembrance of Me” by Dr. Robert Jeffress