When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of 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 he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
The story reaches its climax here. Since the creation of humanity, God had been waiting for one righteous man to save the earth. Everyone had failed: Adam, Noah, Abraham, the chosen people of Israel. Instead, a sacrifice was required to wipe out the sins that governed the will. Finally God himself provided the lamb. He stopped the hand that held the knife and sent his own sacrifice. The perfect lamb without blemish. The perfect body that lived according to His will rather than the desires of the flesh.
Remember, Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. He did not appear as a mist or some sort of Greek demi-god that might change into a lion or a vapor or a tree. Jesus’ body was crucial for our redemption because we needed a path for the redemption of our bodies. We needed a way to cleanse ourselves so that God, through the Holy Spirit, could establish himself within us and work his will through us. The new passover, if we choose, marks us with the blood of the perfect lamb, and the angel of death passes us by. The new covenant is the forgiveness of sins through our submission to God’s grace and will.
Father, we submit ourselves to you. We offer our bodies as living sacrifices to be used for your purpose. Amen.