Listen. It is the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. His death will come as a shock to his disciples. Jesus wants to explain his death to followers, so he uses a meal. Luke 22:13-21 tells us that Jesus uses a Passover meal to give meaning to his death. This meal, which we call Communion, is the central way we remember Jesus’ death.
God gave Israel the Passover meal so they could remember how he rescued them from 450 years of slavery in Egypt and made them free. Jesus gives us the Passover meal, invested with new meaning, so that we might remember Christ, his death, and how the cross saves us from slavery to sin and death and made us free.
Jesus takes bread without yeast and says, “this is my body, which is for you.” Bread without yeast was how Israel remembered that God’s salvation was sudden; they didn’t have time to let the bread rise. They left Egypt that very night. Jesus’ salvation was sudden as well. Jesus’ body was nailed to a cross by noon the next day and we were set free.
Jesus takes the cup of wine and says, “this cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured out for you.” After God rescued Israel from Egypt, he made a covenant (think marriage, a special relationship with a contract) and Moses sealed that covenant by sprinkling on the people the blood of a sacrificed bull. We have a new covenant with God through the blood of Jesus. We are forgiven our sins. We are also adopted into God’s family as sons and daughters. All those who belong to Jesus are brothers and sisters. We are family.
The Passover meal was celebrated in homes with family the way we celebrate Thanksgiving. Jesus celebrated communion with his disciples, because through his death, they and we became his family. Communion is God’s family coming together to remember Jesus.
Discussion. Sometimes communion is called “Eucharist,” which is simply the Greek word for “to give thanks” as in “[Jesus] took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it.” In a way, Communion is like a thanksgiving meal.
- Why are you thankful for you Jesus?
- What were you enslaved to?
- What has he set you free from?
- What are you still held captive by?
- What you like Jesus to set you free from?
We celebrate communion with God’s family, just like we celebrate communion with our earthly families. Jesus died for us, not only to forgive our sins, but to adopt us into his family. We celebrate communion with our new brothers and sisters because God is our new and perfect Father.
How are you connected with your church family? How are you thankful for your church family? How can you go deeper with your connection with your church family?
Set Goals. What will you do to remember Jesus and be thankful for him? Make a plan to connect with a church so that you can celebrate communion and remember Jesus’ death with your new family. Who is someone you will share this lesson with?