WHEN JESUS celebrated the Passover with His disciples, they would have been shocked to the core when He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat, this is my body given for you”. These words had no place in the Passover feast. He should have said, “This is the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate when they came from the land of Egypt.” Jesus changes these words in anticipation of His sacrificial death. As the bread was broken, so His body would be broken.

The same can be said of the wine. Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin. Jesus understands His death to inaugurate and ratify a covenant that would secure the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus reinterprets the Passover, an annual feast celebrating how God de­livered Israel from Egypt, to show that His death would also be an act of deliv­erance – but of far greater proportions. By the ‘breaking’ of His body and the ‘pouring out’ of His blood God would deliver His people from the terrible bondage and consequences of their sin – He would forgive them!

Jesus is the final fulfilment of the Passover – He transcends its original meaning for He Himself is the Passover Lamb. The slaughtered lamb no longer had any part in the meal for its central position had now been taken by the bread and the wine. In the Lord’s Sup­per the bread and wine represent the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus as the true Paschal Lamb.

Neither the bread nor the wine con­tain in and of themselves any efficacy. The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation and a remembrance of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ and an expecta­tion of the joy of being with Him in His kingdom.

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Co 11:26

Further to this, the bread and wine invite us to partake of the great bless­ings of the cross. Jesus said “Take, eat … Take drink”.

The Book of Common Prayer puts it succinctly: Take and eat this in remem­brance that Christ died for you and feed on Him in your heart by faith, with thanksgiving.