It’s a story of miracles. A story of redemption. A story of the power of God overcoming evil. A story of salvation.
Israel’s story had gone wrong. God had made promises to Abraham that if he would believe and follow, God would bless him and give his descendants the promised land. Yet Israel was in slavery; ruled by a harsh Pharaoh in Egypt who feared and oppressed them. Pharaoh forced Israel into slavery; making bricks and building monuments to the glory of Egypt. As Pharaoh continued to fear their numbers he started to murder all of the baby boys. Now, not only was Israel in slavery but their future was in jeopardy. Their story had gone wrong.
God, however, is in the narrative changing business. God heard their cries for mercy and refused to leave them in bondage. God moved into the story with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and rescued the people of Israel. Through the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea God changed Israel’s story from slavery to redemption. In a moment the story was different; changed directions that led to a great future.
Israel celebrated this redeemed story each year at the Passover. At the feast, families would join together to remember, rehearse, and renew the story. Yes, they enjoyed a good meal and good company. But even more so, they recounted the story. Our ancestors were slaves in Egypt, suffering under an oppressive regime. But God who is rich in mercy, love, and power heard our cries and came to redeem us. Our story was bitterness and pain, but God redeemed it into a story of hope. We drink the cup of remembrance and eat the bitter herbs of suffering, but we also drink the cup of salvation, we drink the cup of redemption, and we drink the cup of thanksgiving. No longer are we separated from God. Instead, all that was wrong in the world has been made right; we have a new story.
Jesus later chooses to make Passover the time of his deliverance because of the magnitude of that moment. On the night before his death, Jesus celebrates the Passover meal with his disciples. He wants the Passover, and all that the meal symbolizes, to frame his own impending death and sacrifice. God is again rewriting the story. This was going to be the new Passover, the new redemption, the new moment of salvation.
The story had gone wrong. Our story had gone wrong.
We were in bondage. Not to the Romans or some other principality, but to our own sin. Our story had gone wrong because the wages of sin were leading to death. Jesus, however, wasn’t content to leave the story in the mess we had made it; to allow us to continue to slide to destruction. Just as God had come to redeem the story once, God was getting ready to break in and redeem the story again.
Jesus’s death becomes the new Passover, and Jesus wants his disciples to view his death as the new Passover. This is my body which is given for you. This is my blood of the covenant.
Jesus is rewriting our story. We were cut off from God, separated from our good beginning and in danger of losing our good end. But God didn’t leave us there. We were powerless to change our story, so God came in and rewrote the narrative.
However, sometimes we still live in the old narrative. Sometimes we still live in shame. Sometimes we still tell ourselves that we are broken and less than whole. While God says we are forgiven and free, we still live as if we are enslaved and hopeless. The question then becomes, which story will frame our very identity.
Because of the Passover lamb, our story has changed.
Will we believe the story? Will we live out of the story?
This is why we need the weekly reminder of the Lord’s Supper; of communion. The world is good at telling us we are broken and worthless. Yet each week we gather around the Table with fellow believers to remind ourselves of our true story. We are no longer broken, bruised, cast out, or ashamed. Instead, we are redeemed, forgiven, and whole. We take the bread and drink the cup not as a command, but to remind ourselves that this is our fundamental story.
As we take the bread and drink the cup may we be renewed in our new redemption story.