We have now reached Thursday of Holy Week, or as some know it by Maundy Thursday. Today is the day that Jesus shared his Last Supper with his disciples.
Jesus was the host, he made the arrangements, and he had a lot to do any say in a very short window of time. The last supper may well be the most important dinner party the world has ever known.
I really enjoy the way Matthew tells the story. Things unfold as we come to expect. Bread is broken, wine is poured, Jesus predicts his death, and everyone swears their loyalty to Jesus up to and including their own deaths.
But buried in this familiar passage is some of the most amazing news humanity has ever been given; a new covenant.
During one of Israel’s lowest points, when their very survival seemed to be threatened, God promised that he would one day make a new covenant, a different covenant with his people. This covenant would be internal, not external. They would not be given a new set of rules to follow but a heart ready to serve God.
And a new heart is something that we desperately need. If we were to scan the our news feeds on any given day and what would we find? We find stories of poverty, of sickness, of war, of violence, of greed, of injustices of all kinds.
It seems obvious that humanity has a heart problem. And Jesus is offering a heart solution. Not more rules. Not more rituals. Not even more religion. Jesus is offering more of himself, he is offering more God.
The promise of the new covenant is one of the most beautiful verses in the bible, ‘I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, nor say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
As Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine he said that this covenant begins now, and that it begins with him. He would make it possible for us to have new hearts, and he would make it possible for us to be made right with God.
As you go about your day today and your stomach inevitably reminds you that you are hungry, take time and reflect on all Jesus said and did at the Last Supper. Likewise next time you take communion remember how much more was given that night then a little bread and wine.