The setting was the upper room. Jesus was gathered with his dearest friends and followers. This would be Jesus’ last meal with them. Jesus knew what was coming, but the disciples did not fully understand. How fitting that it was the Passover feast, complete with a spotless lamb!
What would you have thought sitting at the table that night when Jesus said, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” Jesus’ body? Seriously? If the disciples had been paying attention, they might recall how Jesus had been preparing them for what was to come. Jesus would soon be crucified. That, too, must have really given them pause to fully accept.
We’re looking at these verses through the lens of “seeking the kingdom.” Take a moment to ponder Jesus words. “Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.” Jesus himself is calling out the future of being together again in his Father’s Kingdom. That is where Jesus is waiting for us.
Jesus wants us to remember this moment. We have done exactly that in our churches each time we celebrate Holy Communion. Imagine being in that moment once again when Jesus tells us the bread and the wine are his body and blood! It’s a very emotional part of our worship, and as believers we keep that remembrance alive, just as Jesus had asked.
Paul’s words to the Corinthians help them, and us, see Jesus’ beautiful promise. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 we read, “For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.”
As we seek after the kingdom and remember Jesus in this way, we “are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” That’s beautiful, isn’t it? Can we read a little more into this to say that when Jesus comes again so, too, will his kingdom?
In the Lord’s Prayer, that I’ve recited since I was a young girl, we ask for God’s kingdom to come. It is an important part of our prayer life to be focused on the coming kingdom, waiting expectantly for it to fully arrive. At the same time, as we ask Jesus into our hearts to rule and to guide, we experience his kingly rule here and now! Where Jesus rules is his kingdom.
This reading helps us focus on the importance of the coming kingdom. We will be able to feast and celebrate with Jesus. He is waiting for us. How does that make you feel?
Let’s pray. May your kingdom come, oh Lord! Prepare my heart to receive you. Bring to my mind the remembrance of your sacrifice. Your body was given, and your blood was shed for me! I am speechless with gratitude and overflowing with love. May I never forget what you have done for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.