Today is Maundy Thursday. It is the day that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper.
“And he took bread, and when he had given 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.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:19–20, ESV)
First, he takes the bread. He gives it to the disciples and says to do this in remembrance.
Another way to translate this is: “do this for my remembrance.” In other words, do this for God’s remembrance. That is covenant language. What is to be remembered? The new covenant! Each time we receive the meal, God remembers what he did, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He secured our forgiveness!
It’s not that God forgets. He never forgets. This remembrance is similar to the way a married couple renews their vows. They never forgot, but the pledge of their love is renewed. The body is given so that the importance of God promise is not forgotten by the God who gives it and the people who receive it.
The next line says that this cup is poured out for you. Jesus says, “it is the new covenant of my blood.” God establishes a new covenant with you when you receive this meal.
I am reminded of one of my mentors, Pastor Harold Hein, who died a few week’s ago. He would always say that the most important words when you receive the Lord’s Supper are “for you.”
The blood is not given by you. The blood is given for you. This meal has nothing to do with what you have done. It is not about your worthiness. It is about all about what God has done for you. It is about Jesus’ worthiness.
Occasionally, someone will ask me if they are worthy to receive the Lord’s Supper. They fear that they are too great of a sinner. The truth is that if this covenant were dependent upon us, none of us would be worthy to receive it. Only Jesus is worthy. Worthy is the Lamb who as slain!
This meal is especially for sinners and those who are unworthy. Where there was no way, God has made a way.
On the last day, there will be “good people” who will be condemned. There will be “bad people” who will receive salvation. Our salvation has nothing to do with how good (or bad) we are. It is all about how good Jesus is. Our salvation is because we are given the blood of the covenant. It is blood we receive when we drink the wine, receiving it in faith as the blood of Jesus.