If you had one day left to live on this earth, who would you invite over to your home to sit and break bread together one last time? Jesus invited a group of uneducated, radical misfits, and ragamuffins to break bread and drink of the wine. This group he called servants or pupils became “his friends”, according to John, who sat at the table with Jesus. This group of so-called friends who would deny him, betray him, and fall asleep during the critical hour of Jesus’ ministry, were the same friends that Jesus bent down and washed their feet. Oh Jesus, that we would be that forgiving and loving toward each other. Teach us, Lord, to love and seek to serve, not judge and criticize. Give us your eyes and heart.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 in the Old Testament foretold this moment. God said that he would make a “NEW covenant….I will put my law WITHIN them; and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”.
As Jesus changed the Passover to the new covenant with his friends, they were confused. They thought Jesus would come to take over and conquer. They anticipated the meal to be a time of celebration and culmination of His rule! Yet, Jesus says to them, “Take; this is my body.” Then He took the cup, and after giving thanks He gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”
Take of me….
Jesus’ work was not going to be “Let’s go set them straight”(I must be right), or “Let’s go and take from others, so we can rule!”(I must be in control, and you wont get away with this!), or “Let’s give up, it’s too hard.”(apathy, hopelessness).
Jesus had all the reasons in the world to be disillusioned, frustrated, cynical, and justified to walk away from these “friends”, ministry, or life. Yet, in His divine mercy and grace, He not only washed their feet, He gave of himself, His very body–take all of me……
Take of me…eat…..drink…..
This act of love, this free gift, is a new covenant for us, in which, we can have the glory of Jesus’ love and work to reside and live within us, just like God said would happen in Jeremiah. Oh what ignorance and unfathomable pride to reject such love that changes us for eternity! Jesus calls us friend–us, the misfits, ragamuffins, radicals…..
Each time we partake of the Holy Communion or Eucharist (from the Greek word for thanksgiving), we are giving thanks for this unrelenting love and act of grace. We are remembering, but we are also looking forward to chains broken, doors opening, and healing taking place.
Receiving this gift of love in a deep and personal way–in the secret places of our heart with Jesus, molds us to be more like Him, so we can say, “Take……..” It opens our hearts to forgiveness, to accepting instead of judging, to being the fragrance of Christ to a lost and hurting soul, and to passionate pursuits!
The religious people of Jesus’ ministry had the law ever before the people as a checklist of “do’s and don’ts” to judge and scorn. Jesus came to provide a new way, a new covenant, in which, His love and message would reside within us, and He would be our God, and we would be His people. His message is for all mankind to know the amazing grace of His perfect love. He calls us friend.
Today, remember that Jesus desires to call you friend regardless of your past, or where you find yourself in your relationship with Him. If you are like Peter denying Him, Jesus calls you friend. If you have never accepted this friendship, it’s a free gift available in this very moment. You only need to ask Him, and seek Him.
If you are disillusioned by the world around you and the friendships that hurt, fall on your knees and talk to your perfect friend–Jesus, and ask Him to help you see them as He sees them. Ask Jesus to give you the courage and strength to say, “Take……”
Below are clips from The Passion that emphasizes this message with deeper meaning. The Spirit awakened my soul this morning to this beautiful message through reflection, confession, study and video. Thank you Jesus. Jesus told His friends that they could not go where He was going and left them with a commandment–“Love one another.”
(The video is non-violent)