Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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APRIL 5 – Drinking Anew In The Kingdom Of God

“And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is My body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, ‘This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.  Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.'” Mark 14:22-25

Devotional Thought For The Day

This evening we commemorate once again the momentous night of Jesus’ arrest, the eve of His crucifixion, in our Maundy Thursday worship services.  The term “Maundy” almost certainly comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” from which also comes the English word “mandate,” a command.  What is the mandate from that evening?  Many take it to be the “new commandment” to love one another, spoken by Jesus in the context of His having washed the disciples feet [Jn. 13:34]. However, there was another “mandate” from that evening, of even greater importance, solemnity, and blessedness: “Take and eat” . . . “Take and drink” . . . “do this in remembrance of Me.” [Matt. 26:26-28; Mar. 14:22-24; 1 Cor. 10:16, 1 Cor. 11:23-29; Lk. 22:19]

What Jesus solemnly avers He is giving to us to “eat and drink” is “His body,” and “His blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many [all] for the forgiveness of sins.” [Matt. 26:28] All of the Lord’s commands are blessings – but the mandate to participate in His body and blood [1 Cor. 10:16] for the forgiveness of sins, which we need more than any blessing, must be the greatest blessing of all.  After all, “we love because He first loved us.” Thus it is our experience of His love which empowers, enables, and compels us to “love one another” just as He has loved us. [Jn. 13:34]  And we experience the full measure of His love in the precious sacred meal of His body and blood.

I’m certain that the disciples sensed the weight and dread of that evening, so much so that they undoubtedly took no comfort in the joyful optimism expressed by Jesus, which sets the context for all that followed in the next 24 hours: “Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” [Matt. 26:29] Jesus knew what lay ahead – we will have opportunity to review it again in full detail over the next few days; yet He also knew what lay beyond His suffering and death.  He would rise again to life, glorious life, and ascend to the right hand of the Father, and would “drink again of this fruit of the vine . . . with you in My Father’s kingdom.” This is where we are headed, and this is the “joy that was set before Him” which compelled Him to suffer all, even forsakenness of God, that we might be redeemed by His blood sacrifice for the sin of the world.

This is what awaits us at death – and so we too are optimistic and joyful even in the face of death. It is the joy also set before us so that we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus in fervent love for others. It is His gift to us, by His gracious mercy, along with the forgiveness of sins earned for us on the cross, and delivered to us with His body and new covenant blood, in the sacramental meal of Holy Communion. The words, the Word of the Lord, are really quite simple and full of blessing. May we all take them in by simple faith and exult in the joy of God’s salvation!

Scripture Cited

1 Cor. 10:16  “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, help us to receive in simple faith all the wondrous blessings that You have secured for us in Your suffering, death, and resurrection. Grant us to simply trust Your Word, that we may live fully in Your gracious love, participate in Your new covenant blood, and joyously anticipate drinking the fruit of the vine anew with You in our Father’s kingdom!  Thanks and praise be to You forever, Amen.