When people are about to die, they often gather their closest family and friends, and give them what is most important as a last will and testament. On the night Jesus was delivered to his enemies, he gave his Church everything he had. He would have given her the shirt off his back, but his enemies would take even that from him. (John 19:23-24). Instead of the shirt off his back, he gave his very back: his very body and blood.
He gave his Church his body, his blood, his life. He gave her everything. Some would say that he really had nothing to give, but the life he gave is eternal. (Hebrews 7:16). He gave us his own eternal life. And each succeeding generation bequeaths our Lord’s gift onto the next. Paul wrote:
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:
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“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-30).
He may not have had a shirt to give, but he did have an eternal life to give; and he gave it for you and me. Believe his words, “This is my body … for you,” and approach his table in fear and trembling, for there we receive his greatest gifts: his forgiveness, his peace with God, his eternal life.