“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it,
and gave it to them, saying,
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
which is poured out for you”
The history of God’s people is the story of sacrifice.
In Eden an animal was sacrificed so that God could clothe Adam and Eve as He expelled them from the Garden. Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son Isaac only to be stopped by the Lord at the last moment. The lambs were sacrificed to save the Israelites from harm when the angel passed through Egypt to slay all the first-born in the land. And then there were the sacrifices of the desert journey and in the Temple of the Promised Land – sacrifices which had everything to do with the forgiveness of sins.
Not for a moment could anyone seriously believe that the blood of a beast could atone for the sins of the men and women created in the image of God. They were continual reminders that for sins to be forgiven, and the sinner cleansed in a miraculous way, there would need to be some eternally effective and holy sacrifice.
- “But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3-4)
The time had arrived. So had the sacrifice. Here said John the Baptist was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This great truth was affirmed by the apostles.
- “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2)
- “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Here in these pregnant moments, not long before He died, Jesus draws us into the mystery and the actuality of this great act of sacrificial salvation. He gives His body and the pouring out of His blood in a covenant of reality. There is no symbolism on the cross – it is cruel and clear and complete. As we take the bread and wine we accept and associate ourselves with Him in His death. He dies for us. In His death we die to ourselves – putting away the old self. When He rises again He brings us with Him into the wonder and glory of our redemption as the eternal daughters and sons of the glorious Father.
There can be no greater promise given to us than that sealed by the shedding of the most precious blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God. As we ‘do this in remembrance of me’ we acknowledge, affirm and accept this great sacrifice and confirm that we live in and through and by it.
Thank You Lord Jesus – thank You so very much!