Bread, Wine, and Serving
March 19, 2005
The task that lay before Jesus, born a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, was impressive and grand, and one greater than lay upon any baby ever born.
An angel had told his father, Joseph:
Matt.1.21- he was to save his people- a narrow focus stated here.
The angel had spoken to his mother, Mary, and declared:
Lk. 1.30-33- the focus is bigger- his kingdom would not end. Inherent is the idea of an expanding kingdom- outward, not only going on forever.
As Jesus began his ministry, when he spoke in the same synagogue he had been raised in, in Nazareth, he declared:
Lk.4.16, 18- 19- 21- no longer do we see any idea of a limited mission to one small nation. Rather, it is expansive and toward others.
In washing of feet, we were reminded of Jesus’ act of serving toward those near to himself. We understand that the serving is to go outwardly from that, of course.
But in the symbols of the end of His life- the bread and wine- we are reminded of the serving going out far and wide. We are reminded of Jesus’ commitment to serve all humanity.
Matt.26.26-30; Lk.22.14-20- he inaugurated something entirely new, something that had not been before. He began a relationship where no relationship had existed before. People were kept relatively far from God, and Jesus enabled coming up close and personal, both ways in the relationship. It’s an incredible change that we believe we understand, but we don’t. It was revolutionary, and this irked the religious establishment, of the time, to no end- well, to the end that they killed Jesus. Still this idea is hard for the religious establishment to handle and to accept. Jesus’ sacrifice was not for a small group of fairly good people- no one is fairly good, to be honest- and the sacrifice is for all, no matter how horrible.
Not only is the sacrifice in place, but, then, there is the ongoing effort of Jesus to reach out to the people he lived and died for.
Let’s read what Paul declares:
Ro.10.1-13- there is no distinction. All have access, not because of what they do but because of what God, and Jesus- have already done. How can we do anything except express intense joy and appreciation to them? Each time we take the symbols of Jesus’ sacrifice, we do declare the reality of the new relationship and our acceptance of it. And, each time we participate, we declare our readiness to be in the ‘fight’, reaching out to the people who don’t know, who are near, and who need to come nearer- who need to make that final step- or that grand leap- to oneness with God through Jesus Christ.
As Jesus was willing to serve- those close and those far- so we are called upon to do the same. We affirm that today as we take the symbols that are before us.