While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.”
When are you most likely to show love to a child? When they’re misbehaving, disobedient, or rude? Or when they’re well behaved, affectionate, and loving themselves? When would you give a gift to someone? When they’re mean, underhanded and disrespectful or caring and compassionate?
As humans, we tend to reward good behavior. If our child gets straight A’s on his report card, he gets a gift or special recognition. If, on the other hand, he’s failing his classes, things are very different. So often our expression of love is conditional.
Christ’s love has no earthly equivalent. Here, Jesus is giving us an awesome gift: the gift of his presence, his communion with us. Touching as the gift itself is, it’s nothing until you consider when he gives it. In Saturday’s verses, we read of the coming betrayal. Moments later, he is giving us this wonderful gift.
His timing defines the gift. Knowing what was coming, the betrayal, the denial, persecution, beatings, execution and death; he chooses now to give this gift – in spite of what we’re going to do. Could there be a better picture of God’s love for us? Paul says that while we were still enemies of God, Christ died for us. We were his enemies, especially that night and the hours ahead. But his love was deeper.
That same night, he remembered our need. That same night he provided the sacrament which would forever contain his grace, comfort and touch, beyond all our deserving.