From time to time gatherings of Jesus-followers pause to remember. We remember the depth and significance of the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. We remember the love God has shown to us. We remember the price of our freedom. We remember the hopelessness of life without Jesus.
One of the most tangible, sensory-driven remembrances we have been given is the experience of the Lord’s Supper. While it is referenced in a number of ways, most christians recognize it as a fundamental ordinance of the church that ought to be a part of our worship experience on an intentional and regular basis (though there are a great number of opinions in regard to how often that ought to be).
Reflecting upon the biblical narrative of the night that Jesus transformed this observance from a ritual of the Law to a remembrance of grace, I find myself transfixed by the richness of sensory expression in this simple but tremendously significant act of eating a bite of bread and swallowing a sip of juice or wine. It’s striking and strong and beautiful.
The bread that Jesus broke and handed to the disciples was a picture of the breaking and tearing of his own body – on our behalf. He said we should eat of it in reflection of how we all have been given life through embracing his death in our place. Jesus, the one who said, “I am the bread of life,” made clear that only in partaking of his death would we have life.
The cup that Jesus poured and urged the disciples to drink was picturing the sinless, innocent, holy blood that was furiously, messily, heinously spilled to provide the only possible atoning sacrifice. In drinking the cup we attest with the disciples that this Jesus is our only plea, our full provision, our substitute.
But Jesus did not instruct the disciples to do this at a particular interval. He did not give a great deal of information about the administration or context of it. His entire explanation was centered upon the WHY. He said we should do this to remember. As he was about to go and give these pictures their meaning, he paused for a moment to compel us to taste and remember.
We take the bread and chew it up and, in doing so, we taste the brokenness that purchased our pardon.
We drink the cup and taste the tart sweetness on our tongues and, in doing so, we taste the brokenness that gave us life beyond the grave.
We taste the brokenness of the sinless Savior who was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.
We taste the brokenness. And we remember.