The room was dark, somber, even gloomy. Heaviness clung to the air and caught in their throat. The disciples didn’t understand what would transpire in the following hours. But they sensed a growing somberness about Jesus and growing uncertainty within themselves.
For the past several days, Jesus increasingly talked about his death. And now, as the gathered round the Passover table, the theme emerged again.
Jesus picked up the bread and broke it—his body, he said. Then he passed the cup, telling them to each take a drink. This wasn't like the other Passovers that the disciples had celebrated since youth. There was something new and different about this one. "Drink of it, all of you," he said of the cup, "for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin" (Matthew 26:28).
Covenant. The idea has largely been lost in Western society. We seldom make covenants today. Instead we make contracts—agreements written on paper and easily torn in two.
But throughout the Old Testament we find people, and especially God himself, making covenants. Unbreakable commitments and promises often sealed with blood.
Take God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis, Israel in Exodus, and David in Samuel. Each of these covenants was initiated by God. Two were sealed with a blood sacrifice. And the promise of each of them was not only for the present but for God’s future plan.
All these covenants came to a conclusion on that somber night as Jesus and his disciples sat around the table. This new covenant would also be sealed with blood—this time God's own blood. Permanent. Perfect. Complete.
The disciples couldn’t fully sense the magnitude of their final supper with Jesus until after the resurrection. But wrapped up in that meal as they passed the bread and wine was an incredible promise. Their redemption—and ours—would be sealed by his body broken and blood soon spilt. It was a promise that would sustain them through the darkness-soaked days to come and ultimately lead them to an empty tomb.
Perhaps like the disciples gathered in that upper room, life is swirling and spinning around you right now. Uncertainty fills the air and burns your lungs. You can’t make sense of the scene surrounding you.
In the midst of such moments, the Lord’s table offers us fellowship and hope. It invites us to lean in and listen to the One who understands our sufferings more than anyone else. It summons us to recommit ourselves to the God who always keeps his covenants, even—and especially—at times when all feels shattered and lost.
Maundy Thursday, also called Covenant Thursday, prompts us to pull up a seat and press into the promise-filled words of his table. So this week let's gather together, remember Christ’s sacrifice, and remind ourselves that God is faithful and good even in the most uncertain times. After all, Easter's sunrise is just a few days away.
Will you join me?