17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
The one who would betray Jesus had spent a long time with Jesus. We find it almost incomprehensible that anyone would betray Jesus, for any price. Yet, we live in a world in which individuals and churches and even nations betray Jesus every day. Whether it is to avoid unpleasantness or to satisfy our appetites, betrayal is ugly business. Those who refuse to deny Jesus, face suffering and ridicule, but can trust in His promise that those who are not ashamed of Him will not suffer shame, but receive a heavenly reward.
For anyone tempted to disregard the Old Testament – in His crucial hour, Jesus reminded that He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies.
Regarding Jesus’ words about the bread and wine -nowhere in Scripture do we find support for the Roman Catholic belief that the elements used in communion miraculously transform (transubstantiation) into the actual flesh and blood of Christ. It is simply not necessary. The Last Supper is the most powerful metaphor in history and it was designed to help us remember Him and His redeeming sacrifice. Yes, Jesus’ precious body and blood ransomed us from sin and death, but we do not access that gift of salvation through any substance, but only through faith by grace.
As we remember the sacrifice of Jesus, let us reconsider the casualness with which we sometimes serve Him. Jesus is not merely an idea or a philosophy; He is the resurrected King and He is alive. Paul described the relationship of Christ and the Church to that of a bride and groom. One of the greatest sins in marriage is to begin to take each other for granted. It seems too ugly to even consider, but are we guilty of taking Jesus for granted?