Dinner in a Time Machine
Bible Reading: Mark 14:17-26
This is my blood, poured out for many, sealing the covenant between God and his people. Mark 14:24
MAYBE YOU SIT on the couch experiencing brain-crushing jealousy every time you watch the Starship Enterprise go to places you will never go. Little known fact: When Jesus gathered with his disciples in the upper room to celebrate the Passover, they entered a time warp—though not exactly of the sci-fi kind. And every time you participate in the Lord’s Supper, you enter that time warp too.
Flash to the past: The Passover meal transported its participants some fifteen hundred years back into Israel’s history. On the eve of God’s saving Israel from slavery in Egypt, he told every family to sprinkle lamb’s blood on the door posts of their homes and gather inside for a meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (see Exodus 12). God dealt a death blow to the firstborn sons of godless Egypt, saving only those gathered inside homes marked by lamb’s blood. As Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal together, their thoughts traveled back to Egypt, remembering how God delivered their ancestors from slavery.
Flash to the future: When Jesus took bread and wine from the Passover table, the disciples looked ahead to his crucifixion. The Passover meal that pointed back to a sacrificial lamb and deliverance from Egypt also pointed forward to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Today, all believers who celebrate the Lord’s Supper also enter a time warp. The bread and cup take you back 2000 years to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for your sin. “Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup,” Paul wrote, “you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
But the same bread and cup fling you forward to an event Jesus referred to when he said, “I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). The Lord’s Supper lets you look ahead to the end of human history. It’s when Christ will return to invite all believers to a celebration feast where we can thank him personally for his sacrifice that won our salvation.
It’s mind-stretching to look back to the cross and ahead to Christ’s return, because both events have a bearing on your present life. Looking back you say, “Lord, because you were so willing to give your life for me, help me daily give my life back to you in loving service.” Looking forward you say, “Lord, the prospect of meeting you face-to-face encourages me to make my life count for you!”
REFLECT: How can you make every Communion celebration a feast to remember?
PRAY: God, don’t let me take Communion for granted. When I look back, I remember your death for me. When I look forward, I can’t wait for your return.