Read Matthew 26:26-30
I love Christmas. More accurately, I love all the stuff that seems to make Christmas. The list goes in this order: Christmas lights; Christmas music; Christmas tree; gift wrapping; Christmas desserts. When I see the first Christmas light hung on someone’s house, and when I hear the first playing of “Silent Night” or “Let it Snow”, I’m instantly filled with cheer. Like the airplane I ride home in each yuletide, these symbols and traditions carry me into the joy of the season and the celebration of the Christ Child. One light; one note; one red and green box – that’s all it takes for me.
Jesus also knows the power of symbols. I have no doubt that Jesus orchestrated his death during the Roman rule of Palestine in part because the famed Roman-created torture device – the cross – stands in stark contrast to the power of grace and the God who conquered suffering and death forever. The cross would become the lasting symbol of the saving work Jesus accomplished on it. The cross is a powerful symbol.
On the night of his arrest, Jesus imbued everyday material things with deep spiritual meaning. As Matthew recorded, Jesus took the Passover meal – a meal already full of symbolism – and gave it new meaning. You’re likely familiar with it. A pinch from a sourdough loaf, diced up pita, or a thin wafer. A thimble’s amount of juice or a shared chalice of wine. It’s called Communion; The Lord’s Supper; The Eucharist. The bread represents his body, the wine represents his blood, and when we eat and drink of it, we commemorate what Jesus did on that cross.
We know these symbols. But do we feel these symbols? Like lights and Christmas music for me, are the bread and wine powerful symbolic reminders that flood you with the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice? Does the bread remind you of his body and his living the human life we cannot live, dying the death we deserve? Does the wine remind you of his blood, dropped with sweat at his greatest point of obedience, then spilled during torture and death covering your sin?
This is why Jesus said, “Do this (take communion) to remember me.”
We need symbols. We need reminders. Jesus gave us these so we never forget what he has done for us. The next time you take and eat the bread, crushing it between your teeth, let it lead you into thankfulness – because of Christ, you will never be crushed for your sin. When you taste the wine, let it remind you – because of Christ’s victory over your sin, you can now taste and see that the Lord is good.
Reflect on the symbols of the bread and wine and what they mean to you.
What is a symbol or action that helps you connect to Jesus in your life? I challenge you to pick one on this list and practice it through this season of Lent.
- Carry a small cross in your pocket or around your neck.
- Make a point to attend a local service that serves communion, or create your own communion service at home with loved ones.
- Light a candle daily to remind you of the Holy Spirit’s presence with you.
- Carry your Bible – in your bag, your briefcase, or your car – as a reminder that the Word was made flesh.
- Look for churches on your commute and allow them to serve as reminders that God came and is calling people to himself.
Check out the first post in our Lenten devotional here.
This was an excerpt from Easter is Coming, a Devotional Journey with Jesus. For all six weeks of Lent devotionals, please download the e-book here.