While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And when he had taken a cup and given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)
Jesus lost many disciples after he said something very similar earlier in his ministry (John 6:53-66). It was, frankly, difficult to hear and difficult to understand. But here during Holy Week, Jesus gathers the twelve together for the Passover and returns to the same theme that troubled them before: “Take, eat; this is my body…Drink, all of you; for this is my blood…”
I think the depths of this invitation is worth returning to over and over again, but one question comes to mind:
Why must we take and eat Jesus’ body and drink his blood?
His invitation is more than mere metaphor. This bread and wine more than just symbols.
There is something very physical, even visceral, in this Eucharistic invitation: To take, taste, chew, swallow, and digest. And if we’ll come to the table in faith, there is something very intimate and deeply relational in it.
For Adam’s helpless race, Jesus gives himself very literally. And he gives himself completely—his good body, his pure blood. “Take, eat, drink.”
Depending on your tradition, Thursday and Friday of Holy Week have been days when Christians the world over gather to say yes to Jesus’ Eucharistic invitation. In our need and in our helplessness, by faith we take his body and blood into our own, that who he is would be absorbed into who we are.
Question: Can you let Jesus’ invitation expose more of the depth of your own sinfulness, need, and brokenness this week? And can you let his invitation draw you more deeply into the full and intimate gift of himself he is offering you?
Yes, Jesus, I need you pervading everything I am! Let all that you are—your goodness, your holiness, your love, your purity, your joy, your freedom, your power—make me alive, and good, and new again!