When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. (Luke 22:14-15)
Jesus eagerly desired to eat this Passover. What was it about this last meal that Jesus so looked forward to? Scan through Luke 22, and a few things about that meal jump off the page. During the meal, Jesus’ disciples disputed among themselves who was the greatest. At one point, Jesus looked into Peter’s soul and informed his friend he would soon deny the Savior three times. While eating, Jesus dipped his hand into a bowl with a friend and identified him as the betrayer. This Passover meal included internal disputes, future denials, and a betrayer revealed. Doesn’t sound like anything to look forward to, does it? Yet, Jesus eagerly desired to eat this Passover.
Scan through Luke 22 again, and a few more things about that meal jump off the page. During the meal, Jesus took bread, broke it and gave his body to sinful, disputing disciples. He said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” At one point, Jesus looked into a cup filled with wine and gave it to his disciples—including Peter, the future denier. Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” While eating, Jesus called out Judas, his betrayer. Although Judas didn’t take the chance, Jesus’ words were an opportunity for repentance. This Passover meal included Jesus’ body for remembrance, Jesus’ blood for forgiveness, and Jesus’ words for repentance. This certainly sounds like something to look forward to. Jesus eagerly desired to eat this Passover.
Do you eagerly desire to eat the Lord’s Supper? Scan through your life, and I’m willing to bet a few things jump off the page. Maybe you haven’t disputed among friends who is the greatest. But does your sinful pride already tell you you’re the best? Maybe you haven’t denied Jesus three times. But has your sinful silence loved to remain mute when faith needed to be defended? Sure, you did not literally hand Jesus over to be crucified. But all sin betrayed Jesus to death on a cross. At the Lord’s Supper, you bring with you disputes, denial, and betrayal. This doesn’t sound like anything to look forward to, does it?
With this being the case, eagerly desire to eat this meal. In it the Savior gives you his body and removes your sinful pride. In it, the Savior pours out his blood and forgives your sinful silence. In it, the Savior calls you to repentance and declares you not guilty for any sinful betrayal left on your ledger. Eagerly desire bringing your disputes, denials, and betrayals to the Lord’s Supper, because Jesus eagerly desired removing them.
Dear Lord, through your Son all sin has been removed. Allow us to properly examine our lives as we come to your holy supper. Work in us a desire to come to your table to receive your body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Amen.
Rev. Paul Spaude serves Martin Luther College as a theology instructor and dormitory supervisor.