This Easter season has a different feel to it, doesn’t it? Uncertainty has a way of making us look at our lives differently. But is it in a way that helps us see more clearly?
For the disciples, that first Easter week was full of uncertainty and dramatic change. At the beginning of the week, on Palm Sunday, they see Jesus welcomed into Jerusalem by crowds praising him joyfully, but within a few days, they will witness many of those same people turn on him. Jesus knows this is going to happen and so he begins to prepare his disciples.
When Jesus says they’ll sit down together and share the Passover meal, the disciples might have been thinking: Dinner? Yes! Dinner we can handle! And since they’re familiar with the traditions of the Passover meal, Scripture readings, and prayers they probably think they know what to expect.
But Jesus’s mood is really serious. He talks about betrayal, the destruction of the temple, and imminent war and chaos. The disciples have to start feeling uneasy.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:22–25
Jesus knew the disciples didn’t fully understand what he was saying—that the bread and wine signified what he was about to do on the cross, dying for our sin, taking our place so we could have eternal life with him. He knew the disciples couldn’t comprehend what was coming: the horror of the crucifixion. He knew fear and confusion would soon overtake them.
But Jesus does what he said he would do; he offers himself as the ultimate sacrifice and rises from a sealed grave to walk again among the living. In fact, he soon afterward joins two of his disciples walking along a road. But they are still so blinded by their disappointment, fear, and confusion over the crucifixion that they don’t recognize him.
When the disciples ask the stranger to join them for a meal, he agrees—and it’s during the meal, as Jesus again breaks the bread and gives it to them that he reveals himself to them.
Luke 24:30-31 “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”
Jesus’s sacrifice is complete. He offers us communion not only to remember him, but also to recognize him. When we fix our eyes on him, and not on our fear, he helps us see beyond the struggles we are facing today. He has won us eternal life and is with us…always.