Thursday of Holy Week - Jesus Breaks Bread with the Disciples

Last Supper.jpg

"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

From Bethany Jesus sent Peter and John ahead to the Upper Room in Jerusalem to make the preparations for the Passover Feast. That evening after sunset, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as they prepared to share in the Passover. By performing this humble act of service, Jesus demonstrated by example how they were to love one another.

The Thursday of the Last Supper is often called Maundy Thursday. The name, it is thought, comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "commandment." On that night Jesus gave several commandments to His disciples. (John 15) He commanded them to remember Him by means of a meal of bread and wine ("Do this in remembrance of me" {Luke 22:19} ). As He washed their feet, He commanded them to follow His example by serving one another. And in John 15 we read that He commanded them to "abide in me" and to "love one another." It is the command to abide in Christ that we consider today.

Then Jesus shared the feast of Passover with his disciples saying, "I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God." (Luke 22:15-16)

As the Lamb of God, Jesus was about to fulfill the meaning of the Passover by giving his body to be broken and his blood to be shed in sacrifice, freeing us from sin and death. During this Last Supper, Jesus established the Lord's Supper, or Communion, instructing his followers even after He was gone from them, to continually remember his sacrifice by sharing in the elements of bread and wine.

As Jesus prepared to leave His disciples, He called them to abide in Him. Jesus used the metaphor of a grapevine and its branches to describe what He was asking of them...and of us. I am reading from John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

We are reminded here that we are to remain connected to Jesus even if we cannot physically see Him. We are to draw strength and spiritual nourishment from our relationship with Him. We are to do this through prayer, meditation, worship, and the study of His life and teachings in the Scripture; as well as through talking about Jesus with others.

A man I know had at one time had a vibrant spiritual life. He had felt God's presence in his life; had been excited about serving God and others; and had always been looking for ways to bless, care for, and encourage others. When I looked at him, I saw joy. But something happened to him a couple of years ago. He dropped out of church...not all at once, but slowly. He missed a Sunday here and there. Soon he was absent more often than he was present for worship. He stopped attending his small group. He stopped serving others. He stopped reading His Bible. He stopped giving his tithes. And eventually, he stopped praying.

I saw him later that year. The joy I had once seen in his eyes was gone, and he recently had made some decisions that would have lasting consequences upon his life. His actions had produced in him no small amount of anxiety. Gone was the fruit I had once seen in his life. This is what can happen when we become disconnected from the Vine.

If we remain connected to the Vine, pursuing practices that help us abide in Christ, we will bear fruit...not just praying, reading the Bible, worshiping, and giving, but demonstrating our love for others through our actions. This love is more than just warm affection; it is a willingness to put others before ourselves and to practice kindness, to do justice, to seek the good of others, and to bless.

Are you abiding in Jesus?

Are you bearing fruit?

Would others describe you as a loving person? Why, or why not?

Please pray with me...

Jesus, help me to abide in speak with You, listen for Your voice, worship You, and study Your words. Please help me to live a life of love toward others. Amen.
Apr 18 2019