On the night before he was crucified, Jesus sat down with his disciples and had a simple meal together – bread and wine. For those who have attended church, we call this the Last Supper. I get why we call it the Last Supper, as it was the last meal that Jesus ate before his crucifixion, but I’m not sure it’s name is the best name. It also goes by another name once we pass through the events of the cross – The Lord’s Supper.
Further into church history, we find that rather than it being the Last Supper, it actually became the First Supper, as Christians throughout history have commemorated the meal at churches and homes throughout the centuries. Sometimes in church this becomes such a formal event though, that we lose the intimate value of it. Picture yourself sitting with Jesus around the table on the night that he was betrayed. He is sitting there eating, talking and loving on his best friends.
The room would have been lit up with candles. There would simple utensils lying around. Perhaps some cloth to wipe their faces. There may have been some laughing early in the evening as the disciples were unaware of what was going to quickly come to pass. Remember Jesus had rode into Jerusalem to the crowds chanting “Hosanna” and laying palm branches down before Him. This was an electric time.
Truly, this meal would have been a celebration in one sense, though it would take a darker turn as the night wore on and Jesus, the son of God, would soon be betrayed. Think of the fact that Jesus, who knew everything, was sitting at the dinner table, eating with his betrayer. He knew that Judas was going to betray him shortly and announced it to the room, yet he still ate with him. Isn’t that exactly what he does with us? Even though we betray Him, he still invites us to sit and eat with Him at His table. That’s exactly what the Lord’s Supper represents. It represents us as sinners, as betrayers, being invited into a meal where we are offered forgiveness and grace.
Jesus knew the events that would quickly unfold as the meal ended and they headed to the garden to pray. He had the power to stop Judas in his tracks. He could have called down a legion of angels, but he didn’t. He could have blocked the door to the supper and kept Judas on the outside. He could have never asked Judas to follow him, yet he did. The grace and love that Jesus has for his enemies shines forth at this meal.
When we eat the bread and drink the wine, we remember these things. We remember that even when we were enemies of Jesus, he invited us in to eat and drink with Him. Even though Peter would deny Him after this meal, Peter was still invited to the table. Even though all of his disciples would desert Him, they were still invited to the table. No matter where you are in life, no matter what you have done, you are still invited to the table. Come and eat. Come and feed on Jesus. His body was broken for you. His blood was spilled for you. Receive the forgiveness that was purchased for you at the cross.
The Last Supper has become your First Supper in the kingdom. It may have been His last meal before his death, but it became your first meal after you were born again. The Lord’s Supper is important because in it, we find grace and mercy. We find the heart of the gospel. We find Jesus. Whenever we eat the bread, we find life. Whenever we drink the wine, we find grace. God’s heart isn’t in the formality of the meal, but in the intimacy of the meal. Jesus wants intimacy with you. He wants to eat this meal with you. He wants to share His grace and love with you. Don’t turn down the invitation, come and eat.