The night before he was killed, Jesus ate the passover with his disciples. “And he took bread . . . and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20). How they must have held onto the fragments of that memory in later years! They do not seem to have understood at the time that this was their last meal with the mortal Christ. They reply in puzzlement to what he says, argue frivolously about which of them is greatest, and fall asleep in the garden. They would eat with him again, but he would come when they did not expect him, and not stay.
How thoughtful he was to give them a trope by which to remember these last precious hours! We see some of their sense of loss afterward in the account of Thomas, who was so upset at having missed Christ’s visit that he refused to believe he had come at all.
When we eat and drink in remembrance of this evening, and the day it foreshadowed, we should remember the shock and sorrow of separation, but also savor the promise of return: “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). May we be ready when we are called to that supper!