Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12).
When we gather around the Lord’s Table for Communion, our thoughts most naturally turn to the rigors of Jesus’ torture and shame during his illegal trials and crucifixion. We think of Jesus’ body and blood and his life given for us to empower love over hate and to win life out of death. Our routines at The Table and our language about Communion lead us to forget the context of the first time Jesus shared The Supper with his disciples.
If we remember Jesus as he asked us to do, the bread and the cup can lead us to remember more than the suffering agony of our Savior. We can remember words he spoke as he and his disciples shared The Supper that first time:
- Words about having trouble in this world, but still having reason to rejoice because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33).
- Words of promise to send the Holy Spirit as our comforting presence from heaven to be with us and to advocate for us (John 16:7-16).
- Words of reassurance about staying connected to him and bearing much lasting fruit (John 15:1-5).
Jesus filled the night he was betrayed with poignant moments of service, powerful promises, and reasons for strong hope. In his last moments with his disciples, Jesus also made his stunning promise that his disciples would do even greater things than Jesus did (John 14:12).
Jesus’ disciples will do even greater things than the works Jesus did?
Yes, that is the Lord’s promise. Anchored in the context of the Last Supper, Jesus promises greater things!
Like the earliest Christians, we take The Supper on Sunday, the day of resurrection and not on the day of crucifixion (Acts 20:7). Taking The Supper together on Sunday reminds us that Jesus triumphed over sin, death, and hell. He joined his disciples to share a meal in reunion. Jesus’ resurrection reminds us that love is stronger than death and that trust in God is more powerful than anything and anyone opposing us.
As we remember the promises that Jesus made before his crucifixion, we take courage because we know:
- We are never abandoned in our struggles with sin, evil, and death — Jesus entered our world and faced these things for us and now lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 2:14-18; Hebrews 4:14-16; Hebrews 7:25).
- Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower us and be with us as a reminder of his victory and his presence with us (John 14-16).
- As we share in Jesus body in the bread, we are fashioned into his bodily presence in the world (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
- As we leave The Table, Jesus’ blood not only cleanses us from sin, but it also empowers us to live new lives under a new covenant (Luke 22:20).
- As we believe that Jesus triumphed over sin, death, and hell, we have confidence that the power of the resurrection is at work in us (Ephesians 1:17-20).
So yes, as we take this small piece of bread and drink a small amount of grape juice, it is something far beyond bread and wine. This simple meal is a reminder that we have the power to do even greater works than Jesus did because our crucified Savior now lives in us and through us. His, resurrection power fills our lives as we share this bread and this wine to re-enter the world as his presence.
Prayer for the Bread:
Almighty God, we admit that we often view the cross as abject horror and agony. We lose sight of the power of love triumphing over hate, injustice, unfairness, betrayal, and abandonment. But today, dear Father, we are awestruck at the power of Jesus’ loving grace. We are strengthened by his promises to be with us and strengthen us. Thank you for all these gifts and many others that we have because of Jesus life, death, and resurrection. We thank you in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
Prayer for the Cup:
For the blood that was shed, dear Father, we thank you. We did not deserve it. We cannot comprehend the cost of it. However, dear Father, we believe that just as Jesus’ lifeblood drained from his body on the cross, so also his resurrection means that his power surges through us through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. We thank you for this grace in Jesus’ gracious and mighty name. Amen.