Daily encouragement

Video by

dive deeper

Matthew 26:26-28

“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take and eat it; this is my body.’ Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”

Behind the Scenes

I love that God put this verse on my heart to share on this specific day. When I first created the plan for this devo series, I didn’t notice the significance. But as I have been preparing for this devo, I have been in awe of God’s perfect guidance. Today is Thursday, the 5th day of Holy Week leading up to Easter. But why is that significant? Because it is on this day in relation to His crucifixion that Jesus spoke the words of today’s passage. It was on Thursday of that week that Jesus instituted what we commonly refer to as “The Lord’s Supper” or communion.  

Leading up to this day, Jesus has been busy in Jerusalem. He turns over the tables in the temple, driving out the moneychangers and merchants selling there, and purifies the temple. He heals the sick, blind, and lame. He receives public praise and adoration as the Messiah for the first time, infuriating the religious elite. The Jewish leaders seek to discredit Jesus with a line of taunting questions meant to trip Him up. But instead, they leave looking like fools. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem and the religious emptiness that has enveloped her. He spends time educating His disciples on the end time and teaches many parables. He is anointed with oil, another public declaration of His authority and Messiahship.  

Jerusalem is packed with people who have traveled to the city for the feast of Passover. The hustle and bustle of the city is palpable. Jesus gives instructions for His disciples to borrow an upper room from someone and prepare the Passover feast. They all gather together for the feast of remembrance, celebrating the deliverance that God issued for His people from the bondage of slavery. Jesus washes the disciples’ feet- and act of servitude and love that is unparalleled. He then calls out Judas, the one who had been plotting to betray Him.  

After Judas leaves the group, Jesus institutes a new feast for them. We read in today’s passage that He takes up the bread from the Passover meal. He blesses it again (they would have already blessed it before the meal), breaks it in the witness of His disciples, and explains to them that it symbolizes His body which will be broken for the sins of the world. He tells them to eat it. Then He takes the cup of the Passover meal, wine representing the redemption of Israel from slavery, and blesses it again, telling His disciples that it is symbolic of His blood which will be poured out for the forgiveness of sin. He then tells them to drink it, initiating a new covenant in His blood- a covenant of redemption and salvation.

Make it Real

I cannot help but get emotional about this meal, imagining what it would have been like for the disciples to witness and partake of this very first communion. I can imagine all the emotions flying around. As Jewish men raised in the traditions of their people, they would have heard Jesus claiming the symbolism of the Exodus. They may have been confused, frightened, or inspired. Maybe all three. They didn’t have the whole story yet. They didn’t yet know what we know now. We read the whole story in a matter of a few turns of the page. But they did not. For them it was playing out in real time, one impactful moment after the other.  

This whole exchange is chocked so full of symbolism, and I don’t want us to miss it. Because the symbolism and the fulfillment of what Jesus did is just so powerful. And if we allow it to impact us, we will live in awe of our King even more. In Exodus, the Israelites were told to sacrifice a lamb and place its blood on their door posts to ward of physical death. Jesus is our sacrificial lamb and His blood on our hearts is what wards off spiritual death. He is the atonement for our sins, the sacrifice that makes us right with God.

The bread of the Passover meal symbolized the affliction, slavery, and the total lack of luxuries that the Israelites possessed in Egypt. In haste as they left Egypt, they would have packed this unleavened bread for the journey ahead. The breaking of bread historically has symbolized familiarity, welcome, and openness. It is a symbol of friendship. Also, the fact that the bread would have been unleavened is important. Leaven is often a symbol used in the Bible for sin or self-righteousness. Jesus, our bread, is without sin. His body is broken to break affliction and slavery to sin, and to welcome each believer into His family.  

The wine as a symbol of the redemption of Israel and their freedom from slavery is powerful when understood as the blood of Christ poured out as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. In the traditional Passover meal, the Jewish people would drink 4 glasses of wine, walking them through the meal and specific parts of remembrance. And Jesus institutes the New Covenant in the wine of the Passover, as if to say, “this cup which has for so long reminded you of redemption, will now continue to do so. But instead of just a physical redemption from physical slavery, it will now speak of the spiritual redemption from spiritual slavery. It will point you forevermore to My sacrifice and My love for you.”

Another fascinating thing about the wine is that when a Jewish man and woman were betrothed, they would share a cup of wine as a symbol of the new covenant between them. This cup represented their promise to be faithful to each other, to share the same life together, and to become one flesh. I love that Jesus uses this same symbol to make His Church one with Him, to remind us of the promise. Every time we take it, it is as if we affirm once again, “I am the bride of Christ- the chosen, redeemed, and forgiven bride. And I wait patiently for my groom to escort me to the alter.”

I could go on and on about this amazing thing that Christ established for His people. But for the sake of today’s devo, I just want to encourage you. As you read and think through the events of Holy Week, don’t just skim past the Last Supper. Let the truth of what Jesus proclaimed with His actions and words wash over you. Let the symbolism sink deep and impact your heart. Jesus, our atoning sacrifice, whose body was broken for our sins and whose blood was poured out in a covenant of love for us- He is risen and alive, fulfilling every promise He made that historic Thursday evening so many years ago! He is King forevermore. He is our perfect Passover Lamb- our redeemer, our atonement, our King.  

End in Prayer


I am in awe of You. I am in awe of all You chose to do to redeem us. You are amazing and so, so good. I will sing of your praises forevermore! I declare Your wonders and celebrate Your Kingship in my life. I love You and I will follow You forevermore!

In the name of Christ my King,


Written by

Crystal Garnett

ACF Digital Discipleship Director and Church Plant