It is something we say when someone gives us a gift. At times, it just rolls off the tongue as if it is a duty rather than a sincere statement. I used to work at a school, which gave me a new perspective on gifts. I really had to teach myself that, although perhaps I didn’t need another coffee cup with an apple on it, someone on the other side of that gift cared about me, appreciated me, and loved me enough to think of me and do something for me. That coffee cup meant so much more than a receptacle to hold coffee.
And he took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
— Luke 22:19
These are Jesus’ words. In my Bible app, they are in red letters, denoting that they are words spoken by the Lord. Jesus spoke these words the night before he was crucified. In the story, he spoke them directly to his disciples. He said them to his beloved friends, the ones that laid down everything to follow him. The ones who would go on to be challenged, tortured, jailed, and even put to death for following him and spreading the truth of the gospel. The ones who would build his church. They were so deserving of this gift from the Lord. What a sweet, precious time that must have been for those gathered in the room that night. What a treasured memory that must have become for them the very next day, when they saw their beloved Lord on the cross. I wonder, did any of them say thank you that night? Did they even recognize the value of the gift they were given in the form of bread and wine? Did they know at that moment that they were loved enough that the Savior of the world thought of them that night?
“But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.”
— Luke 22:21
But when I read through this passage again, something new stuck out to me. Also seated at that table were sinners. Jesus knew who his betrayer was, there at the table. He also knew one at the table would deny him three times. He knew that some at the table would run and hide as he hung on that cross. Yet he loved them and thought of them despite that. He gave the bread and the wine for them. And even more importantly, the next day, he gave his life for them. Did they know at that moment that they were loved enough that the Savior of the world thought of them that night, in spite of their faults, failures, and sins? In spite of their betrayal and denial? Did they say thank you?
And then I remembered this: the Savior of the world didn’t just give this gift to the 12 men in the upper room that night. He didn’t just lay down his life the next day for those 12 men. The Last Supper isn’t just a story of Jesus and his 12 best friends having dinner together. They were not the only ones thought of that night, despite sin and failure. Jesus, the Savior of the world, thought of you and me that night. We were all gathered around that table. Your name was written on his heart as he faced the next day. Your salvation was on his mind as he broke the bread, shared the cup, and took the cross. You and I were washed in the blood that day, despite what he knew would be our faults and failures. Jesus gave us the greatest gift. He gave his life.
Communion is our reminder of this gift, and our response to communion is how we show our gratitude for the gift Jesus gave us. This should weigh on our hearts and, because of this, our daily, heartfelt cry should be, “Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!”