When Jesus Gave Thanks
Open Your Bible
Matthew 15:35-37, Luke 10:21-24, John 11:39-44, Luke 22:14-20
BY Guest Writer
Scripture Reading: Matthew 15:35-37, Luke 10:21-24, John 11:39-44, Luke 22:14-20
One of my pastors often quotes the Heidelberg Catechism before we receive communion: “As assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.” When the bread crumbles in my mouth and the wine washes it down, I think, This is how sure I am that Christ is who He says He is. For a chronic doubter like me, it has been a grace to view communion in this way.
I often think of the disciples at that first communion, when Jesus took the bread, gave thanks for it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying what must have been cryptic words to the disciples, who didn’t have the advantage of hindsight we do. For them, this seemed an ordinary Passover meal. They didn’t yet know that their Father had been foretelling the story of their Messiah every year for generations.
There was another meal where Jesus took bread, gave thanks before breaking it and giving it to many, with so many leftovers they filled seven basketfuls (Matthew 15:35–37). Jesus was preaching the gospel in this meal, too, a foretaste of the last supper to come. He was showing them how breaking bread would never be the same again—not because the bread was extraordinary, but because the Blesser of it was.
In both meals, Jesus was showing His disciples that broken things aren’t the end of the story. He was essentially saying: I give thanks for the breaking about to come, because I know there is a bounty to follow you can’t even imagine.
When you next take communion, I encourage you to feel the breaking of the bread in your mouth, to taste every crumb. And I encourage you to thank your Father, as Jesus did, knowing this mere meal points to a gospel more real than you can imagine, and a feast more bountiful than you could ever supply on your own.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, and tweets and instagrams at @lorewilbert. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.