October 27, 2016
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Today we come to the most central and eternally enduring act of the Church founded by Jesus Christ: The Last Supper. It is all at once one of the most mysterious realities and yet one of the most concrete. Since the night it was instituted, millions upon millions have reflected on the infinite depths of meaning wrapped in this sacred act. We call it a sacrament, which is an outward sign of an inward reality. Augustine called sacraments visible words.
The deepest debates and most tragic divisions in the history of the Church have revolved around the divergent understandings of these four words, “This is my body.” Is it transubstantiation, as the Roman Catholics believe? Is it consubstantiation, as the Lutheran’s believe? Is it the “Real (yet mysterious) Presence” of Christ as the Anglicans and Methodists believe? Or is it purely symbolic as the Baptists believe? These debates will persist until Jesus celebrates this meal with us again, as he said, “in my Father’s Kingdom.”
I would like to propose a more primitive and even primal meaning behind the sacrament on which I think we can all agree. When Jesus says, “Take and eat; this is my body” and when he says, “This is my blood of the covenant,” he is saying both literally and symbolically, in word and deed the following three words:
Me for you.
Me for you—as in—my death is the final, imputed atonement of your sin.
Me for you—as in—my resurrection is the eternally imparted source of your life.
Me for you. It’s the message of the Gospel. Me for you. It’s meaning of our justification. Me for you. It’s the means of our sanctification. Me for you. It is the core essence of holy love. Me for you. It is the very meaning of life.
The great act of thanksgiving (which is what the word “Eucharist” means) happens as we, in our deepest heart, say back to Jesus, “me for You.”
Finally, the most true and complete fulfillment his command to “do this in remembrance of me” happens as we turn to our neighbor and say with our lives, “me for you.”
Are we agreed? So let us keep the feast!
Jesus, thank you for making it all at once so simple and yet all consuming. Thank you for saying, in every conceivable way, through your life, “Me for you.” Thank you for saying in the most inconceivable way, through your death, “Me for you.” Thank you for saying in the most unbelievable way, through your resurrection, “Me for you.” Come Holy Spirit and help us become “me for you” people for the glory of God. In Jesus name, Amen.
In lieu of the questions today, let’s give ourselves to reflecting on and living out those three words, “Me for you.”
Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge here. Whenever you sign up, it will begin the following Tuesday.
J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.