“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (Jn. 15:13)
In the first instance, Jesus is that great friend. He is the friend who laid his life down for not only his friends but even his enemies. For while were still sinners Christ died for us. While we were still enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. This meal is a celebration of that Great Love. This meal celebrates that mind blowing love, that earth shattering love, the love of God in Christ that has overwhelmed us all. But that love cannot stop. That self-giving, self-sacrificing love must break out in more love, in more sacrifice, in more lives laid down. Christ died so that the wages of sin might be destroyed. Christ died so that death might be swallowed up in victory. Christ’s death in our place satisfies all the demands of justice and more. All that was against us is taken away, and all that we need is provided. But in the cross, God was reconciling all things through the blood of His Son. In the cross, God was reconciling warring nations. God was reconciling broken and battered families. God was reconciling traitors to the betrayed, terrorists to their victims, broken friendships, bitter hurts. And this is because the love of God is no little thing, no timid thing, no weak or stammering thing. The love of God in Christ is the Greatest Thing, the Greatest Love of the Greatest Friend. And if this God has loved you, if this God has given Himself for you, if this God has taken all your sin, all your pain, all your failures, all your guilt, and taken it away, then you only have love left. You only have love to give, you only have love to spend, you only have life to give away. And this is how God is reconciling all things. It’s sometimes mysterious, but many times it’s just plain and simple humility, plain and simple love: going to your brother, going to your sister, going to your parents, to your children, to your spouse, to your friend, to your enemy and loving them, putting it right. This always means swallowing your pride, swallowing the desire to be right, swallowing all the hurt and pain and sorrow, and laying your life down. This is what this meal means. When you take and eat and then hand it to your neighbor, you are swearing an oath in this love, to this love, to be this love. So come, eat, drink, and love one another.