Jesus then took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves because I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
What on earth? Jesus – the host – now he won’t be drinking either?
Jesus then took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. This breaking and eating of bread is the way in which you are to remember me.” Likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant-undertaking in my blood.” (In fact, a few hours later he was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem.)
This is an unusual dinner party. The host doesn’t drink. Instead he says that the poured out wine which they are enjoying is symbolic of his blood, soon, very soon to be shed for them. Not for himself.
And the bread which he breaks is bread which they are to share and eat. That (and not the symbol of a cross or crucifix) is how them must remember him – bread broken and given by him but eaten by them. Not in any way by him.
The most pivotal dinner party in the history of the world – before or after? Yes, indeed.
Pivotal for its deep clarity also in another radically different way.
No sooner had Jesus distributed the wine and the bread than he said the words in bold above. "But, look and see, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table - because the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is given over.”
Have you been at dinner parties where a man is about to die for others and that man then says that, among the guests, is the man who will give him over to death?
Understandably, they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
An argument also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.