By Stuart Powell
Dictionary.com defines godliness as “conforming to the laws and wishes of God.” Those are demanding words. To conform, we must fully understand God’s law. To live up to God’s standards, we must comprehend all of his wishes for us. But who can know what the eternal God wants?
Many times, it seems, God’s expectations are much simpler than we anticipate. One action that he made explicitly clear to his followers involves the table before us. Listen to his command:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:26-29, English Standard Version).
Did you catch Jesus’ wishes?
“Eat this . . .”
“Drink from this . . .”
The Son of God left his first followers with two simple commands. Those commands impacted his disciples so deeply that they passed on the same instructions to those who followed their example. The divine instruction of eating and drinking was taught in conjunction with the apostles’ message of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
To the world, this ritual might seem like a waste of time. But Jesus intended it to be more than an empty set of motions. In repeating these simple commands, we walk in step with Matthew, Peter, and Paul. As we lift up the bread, we continue the witness of the earliest followers of “the Way.” When we drink of the cup, we use the same pattern of celebration as the first-century church to rejoice in the grace of Jesus’ sacrifice to bring us all back to God.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.