By Joe Harvey
Have you ever noticed the way Jesus took the most ordinary objects and attached extraordinary meaning to them?
He talked about good seed and bad soil and the next thing we know, he challenges the receptivity of our hearts to the message of God. He talked about weeds to confront our priorities and treatment of others. He talked about catching fish, and he ended up calling his disciples to preach and teach the good news of God’s Messiah come. Over and over again, Jesus used everyday objects to teach eternal truths.
When significance is added to the ordinary, normal living becomes a bit more sacred. If I had never heard Jesus’ words, I’d merely feel the wind blowing through the trees. When I listen to him speak through Scripture, I cannot help but contemplate the movement of God’s Spirit. Why? Because Jesus told me that God’s Spirit is like the wind—visibly producing results that are mysterious in their origins and progressions.
Jesus did the same for us when he assigned new meaning to the bread and the cup of Communion. Both were part of the Jewish feast that Jesus was celebrating with his disciples. And they were normal, everyday components of daily living. Beginning on the night of the Last Supper, however, their significance for Christians forever changed.
Jesus broke the bread and said, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). Then he took the cup and said, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (vv. 27, 28). His disciples may not have fully grasped Jesus’ teaching, but they soon would. It was the night of Jesus’ betrayal. A few hours later, he was beaten, crucified, and buried. He bled and died for them. Later, when the disciples met together to remember Jesus’ loving sacrifice and to give thanks, the bread and the wine represented Jesus’ body and blood.
Acts 2:42 says “the breaking of the bread” became one of the common and distinctive practices of the early church. Though we know Jesus now as our resurrected Lord and Savior, we Christians today still follow his instructions. And just like that, a bit of bread and a small cup of juice are transformed from tidbits into symbols of Jesus’ courageous love for us.
Joe Harvey is an adjunct professor at Johnson University and the road manager for singer and songwriter Mandy Harvey. Joe and his wife Valerie live in St. Cloud, Florida.