Luke 22:14-23The Message (MSG)14-16 When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.”
17-18 Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said, “Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I’ll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives.”
19 Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory.”
20 He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.
21-22 “Do you realize that the hand of the one who is betraying me is at this moment on this table? It’s true that the Son of Man is going down a path already marked out—no surprises there. But for the one who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man, this is doomsday.”
23 They immediately became suspicious of each other and began quizzing one another, wondering who might be about to do this.
Most folks in the church are familiar with this story. If you've been in a church that does regular (monthly) communion, you've probably heard it a dozen or more times. If you're a life-r you've probably heard it hundreds of times.
Funny thing is Scripture, as the living Word of God, has a way of speaking in new and different ways each time we read it. That's what happened for me today, I heard this passage differently. For me, today, it was less about the Passover meal (a.k.a. communion) and more about who Jesus included, or chose not to exclude.
It is clear here Jesus eats with one he knows will betray him. Throughout the whole meal, Jesus knew Judas would betray him (and he knew Peter would deny him) and yet he included them anyway. This holy meal--to which Jesus gave new depth and meaning--wasn't reserved for the faithful and the righteous. It was meant for all--including the sinners, the liars, and those who would betray him.
That's good news for us because if Jesus included the "worst" disciples then--the most wicked the the most weak--then Jesus also includes the "worst" of the disciples now. Whether we're defined by wickedness or weakness, Jesus invites us to the table. He shares the blessing with us, even knowing we're going to keep getting it wrong.
And the kicker is, if Jesus is willing to include us at our worst, then he's also willing to include them at their worst. The gift of forgiveness, of salvation, new life, and God's promises aren't reserved for a select few, they are made available to all--over and over again because of and in spite of our sin.