(This passage is also referenced in Matt 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25)
The account of the Last Supper in Luke’s Gospel highlights a couple of features. The first gives us an insight into the Lord’s character and attitude towards not just what he was doing at that time, but also the events he was in advance commemorating. He eagerly desires to eat. This does not reflect his appetite for food, but his attitude towards bringing to completion his Father’s will. The writer of Hebrews puts it like this: ‘for the joy set before him (Jesus) endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’. In the Greek language it’s a phrasing that emphasises the deepest of longings – Jesus simply can hardly wait for the joy of knowing us by name, calling us brother or sister and reconciling us deeply to the Father’s love.
The second gives us an insight into His calling and ours. Luke’s is the only Gospel to position the fallout amongst the disciples here, which makes it all the more striking and poignant - just as at Jesus’ ascension, when the disciples are preoccupied with status and earthly kingdoms. The meal Jesus celebrates here has, of course, become the meal at the centre of our Christian faith and church practice. We call it by different names: the Eucharist (Greek for thanksgiving); Holy communion; the Lord’s Supper; but essentially it’s all one and the same. Sadly, what is also true is that the self-interest, disputes and fallout within the group of disciples has also become common in church life: so that gathering around the meal of Christ’s sacrifice is sometimes called into disrepute.
As Paul exhorts the church to do in 1 Corinthians 11:17-33, we should examine ourselves before sharing bread and wine together and settle our differences, for it is the sacrifice of his body and the pouring out of his blood that we are remembering. It is a holy moment for a holy people.
But that is an aside to the main point here, which is to focus in on the nature of our calling. It is not to take advantage of our privilege and claim the highest place, but to use our authority and position to serve others. Our example is that of Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us. He is among us as one who serves. May we do likewise?
Ask the Father to bless your day and to give you an insight into the needs of others and how you can become the solution to those needs.