There is one part of Good Friday that I stumbled upon while preparing for the Passion season. It is possible because of Good Friday, but it was revealed through Jesus’ presentation at the Last Supper. Switching to the Book of Luke, let’s look at what Jesus says there, and how it can revolutionize our life in Him.
When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:14-18)
What we call Communion or The Lord’s Supper is described in the verses that follow. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks for it, handed it to His Disciples and told them to do this in remembrance of Him. Then He took the cup again and did the same.
This is where we usually focus on the cup, on Jesus describing the blood of the new covenant, and in other places telling us that His blood was “shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28). Yet there is a stark contrast between how Jesus distributed the powerful symbols of broken break and the cup of wine.
With the bread, Jesus determined how much each would receive. It was He who broke it into its many parts so that each could have their part in it. We do not know whether He gave each an equal portion or if each portion was different. No one spoke up and complained, as far as we can tell. And who, on such an important occasion, would argue with the Master?
The point of the bread and the broken body of Christ is not how much you receive, but that you receive. We are told in Scripture that all of us are members of one Body. It does not matter if we are seen or unseen, or whether we feel important to the Body. What matters is that we are all of the Body of Christ. Jesus gives to each what He desires each to have.
But the cup and its powerful symbol were given very differently. Jesus gave one vessel for all to share from. Each one took as he desired. And again, who could argue with whatever portion others helped themselves to? If Peter filled his cup and John only took half a cup, it was up to each one.
In this way the cup is different from the bread. While we must all be grateful to be in the Body of Christ, wherever God has planned for us to fit into it, there is an element of the spiritual life where it us up to us to choose whether we will be filled.
Have you received your full portion?
Jesus told us that He came to that we “may have life, and that [we] may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).
Many of our lives might be characterized as far less than the abundant life. Yet it is available to us because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It wipes away our guilt and shame. It makes us pure and blameless before God who is holy, and it prepares us for all that He desires to do in and through us.
But how much have you given to yourself?
Maybe you have only taken as much as you feel is proper to take. You wouldn’t want to be the one who took the last piece of fried chicken at the buffet table. You certainly do not want to be the one to take advantage of Christ’s cup or take so much that others will not have what they need.
Maybe you have limited yourself only to what you think you deserve. You wonder why Jesus would offer you this cup at all. If only He knew what you know about yourself. You think that if He could see into your mind and know what you’ve been thinking about all week, He would quickly take that cup away.
Have you taken your full portion? There is no end to the supply that Christ draws from. You can go back for more if you have run out of what you took at the first.
God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). He offers you all that you need. Take your full portion.