The last cup that Jesus had to drink, he drank with his betrayer. This meal that he had been looking forward to, probably for years now, was a significant meal. This meal is the meal that set the standard for all meals for the early church. This is a meal we still celebrate to this day, in remembrance of this event. And in this meal that we remember the sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins, we see ourselves sitting at the table. We see ourselves with our hands on the same table as Jesus. We see ourselves, sitting with him, ready to betray him at a moments notice.
“I’m not going to betray Him!” you shout at your computer monitor as you read this. But you do. I do. We all do. Not only was Jesus sitting at the table with Judas who would sell Jesus’ GPS coordinates for 30 pieces of silver, which could have been as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as a few thousand (the dollar amount isn’t important) – but all of his disciples would flee when Jesus needed them most. We would have done the same. In fact, it would have been more likely that we would have already betrayed Jesus. Most of his followers had deserted him by now, we probably would have been among them.
And yet, knowing that Judas would betray him, knowing that Peter would deny him, knowing that his disciples would scatter, he went to the cross on their behalf and died in their place for their sins. Knowing that we would betray him, He went to the cross in place of us and our sins. And while the cost the disciples faced for being associated with Jesus was much higher than we face (they could have been put to death alongside Jesus if they had been caught in association with him) we deny him for much less – but he made the same sacrifice on our behalf. We deny him for comfort and convenience. We don’t even come close to risking our lives to follow Him – at least most of us don’t. We deny him for ridiculous pleasures. We deny him for things that literally don’t matter at all. Some of us deny him for a few hundred dollars, others a few thousand, others millions.
Here we sit, thousands of years removed from this dinner. And once again, Jesus is looking forward to eating with us. Certainly he is looking forward to us eating the meal with him this Sunday as we remember his sacrifice. But, he is also looking forward to a day when we will all lean on the same table, put our hands on the same bread and cup that Jesus and the disciples are sharing.
The redeeming part of this story, (aside from the amazing work of Christ on the cross) is that the disciples spent their lives redeeming themselves. They sacrificed everything to spread the word of the Gospel, to share the amazingly good news of what Jesus had done, and they too sacrifice their own lives so that people who never would – could hear.
The question we face today as we think about taking the Lord’s supper together this coming Sunday, will we do the same? Will we spend our lives redeeming our denial and sacrifice everything to share the Good news with those who would never hear it unless we share it?
Luke 22:14-23 (NET)
The Lord’s Supper
14 Now when the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table and the apostles joined him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 Then he took bread, and after giving 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.” 20 And in the same way he took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
A Final Discourse
21 “But look, the hand of the one who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is to go just as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 So they began to question one another as to which of them it could possibly be who would do this.
God, please forgive me for denying you. Forgive me for the frivolous things I choose over you. Help me to see with fresh eyes and a softened heart all that you did for me and all the is represented in this cup and bread. I thank you for the new covenant. I thank you for everything you gave on my behalf. “I believe, help my unbelief.” Help me to overcome the draw of this world to live and lead people into the next world with you where we will all sit at the same table and remember. In Jesus’ Name – Amen.