And Jesus took 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.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
Luke 22:19–20, ESV
As a Lutheran, I read these words very intentionally. It has been a debate and struggle in the Christian faith since the Reformation and was what divided much of the Protestant movement. Yet, it is important to remember that these words are from our Lord. His desire was to unite us at the table with Himself and one another. Though we know of and He speaks of His betrayal, we are often reminded of His call for unity amongst His followers. It was Judas Iscariot, we know, who betrayed Him and it is the heart of Judas that we, as Christians, must be cautious of in our life and our faith. Judas never believed in Jesus as Messiah or Savior and never addresses Him as Lord. Judas only refers to Jesus as Rabbi or Teacher. As C.S. Lewis wrote of those who call Jesus merely a good man or a teacher, we cannot in good conscience do so as a people. If Jesus was merely a good man or a teacher in order to do what He did He would have to be a lunatic. One cannot call Him merely a good man or a teacher because to make the claims He made not be true would be the worst of all lies. Our Lord’s words are very powerful because He calls us to take Himself into us. We are not merely ingesting bread and wine, but His body and His blood. As we take Him into ourselves, we receive as He promises in other accounts the forgiveness of our sins. In Christ’s body and blood, we receive new hope that is eternal. We receive the new life that will carry us through. It is in our Lord that we find full restoration and this restoration is not merely a fanciful thought that is fully dependent upon us but is carried through the Word of God and His promises to us.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.