He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, broken for you,” and ... “This wine is my blood, shed for you.”
This bread is bread for the world. It is our covenant bread, our daily bread, our food, what gives us life.
Simply, as simply as the Lord’s Prayer puts it, we depend on God for the bread we need each day.
And we depend on the Lord for the bread from heaven that sustains us unto eternal life.
This joyous meal, this solemn feast, comes on the eve of a great betrayal. For on the very night that he took the bread and broke it and gave it to them, one of the twelve men closest to Jesus sold him out.
Fearful, anxious, greedy - not sure what we know of the emotions of the betrayer. We know that he failed him. And from there the gift offering of Jesus’ life for humanity became inevitable. He had already given his life, day by day, but now he would not hold it back but yield it up when to try to save himself would have veered him from his course.
For Jesus’ whole life was given for our salvation. The collect for last Sunday, remember, was both about his Incarnation and his Crucifixion:
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
His great humility, celebrated in the hymn of Philippians 2: 5-11, is shown in his gift of himself, not holding equality with God as a prize to be hoarded, but freely taking on our nature, became one of us, that we all might be saved.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8, KJV)
Tonight we celebrate what made every night different from its moment on: we remember the humility of the servant that Jesus became to humankind, as he took on servants’ tasks, and showed his followers that the way to glory led through the path of service, and even to Calvary.
And so when we break this bread, we proclaim his death and his victory over death, until he comes anew.
Come Lord Jesus come into our hearts and dwell there as sovereign: forever.
- Philippians 2:5-8
The gift of love in the sacrament of Christ's body and blood. (Dennis Michno)