Dusk began to settle and the streets grew quiet. A holy calm engulfed the night as God’s people took their familiar places at their familiar tables. The hustle and bustle of business was stilled – if only for a night – to remember.
We remember when Yahweh rescued us from Egypt.
We remember how the blood of the lamb covered our doorposts.
We remember how that lamb saved our lives.
But on this night, Jesus was going to start a new thing. This should come as no surprise to us now. Jesus is in the business of new. In Matthew 5, he gives a fresh perspective on the law when he references different ways to think about murder, adultery, divorce, and loving our enemies. He even tells us in Revelation 21, “See, I make all things new.”
But this was going to be more than fresh perspective. Jesus was about to provide a radical calling for the people of God. Luke 22:19 says, “And he took bread, and when he had 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.” After they had eaten the bread, Jesus did the same with the cup of wine, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
The Passover meal that once stood as a reminder of God’s provision in Egypt would now be a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice.
We remember when God rescued us from death.
We remember how the blood of Jesus covered our sin.
We remember how that Lamb saved our lives.
We take this bread and remember his body that was broken for us. We drink from this cup and remember his blood that was poured out for us. But it’s more than just remembrance, isn’t it? Jesus had a knack for object lessons. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 or the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15, for example. I think the same thing is happening here.
This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me. // 1 Cor. 11:24
Now you are the body of Christ. // 1 Cor 12:27
This is my body, which is broken for you. Now you are the body of Christ. Do this in remembrance of me – taking this bread and drinking from this cup. But also pour yourself out for the world in the same way I have done for you, because now you are my body.
Jesus was using communion as an object lesson. He was showing us how to live as his followers. He was calling us to a life of brokenness that’s poured out for others. We remember him by taking the sacred meal, yes, but also by replicating his actions in our ordinary, everyday lives.
We are the broken and poured out body of Christ.
Communion is our calling.