We serve and worship the God of surprises. Before Christ came, the Jewish people were expecting God to send His Messiah, and He would deliver His people from the Romans, overcome their enemies, and bring in the resurrection.
But God is the God of surprises. He did all this, but not in the way expected. God fulfilled all His promises to Israel, but He fulfilled them in Jesus, the new Israel. Jesus was betrayed in the hands of the Romans, was crucified, and then in His resurrection He was delivered from the Romans. When Jesus appeared in the upper room to His disciples, He was not worried about getting arrested again.
The resurrection of the dead, expected at the end of history, was planted squarely in the middle of history. God signaled His intent to raise everyone at the last day by giving us this down payment on the resurrection in the very middle of all our earthly affairs.
This transforms everything, and it certainly transforms our participation in this meal. When Jesus commanded us to observe this meal, He knew that we would be commemorating His death for thousands of years after His deliverance from that death. We now know that this is God’s way. We commemorate death because death is now a defeated enemy, and has no sting.
We are participating in this death, not because Jesus is still dead, but rather because we are not yet fully dead and fully risen. We are crucified together with Him in truth, but our bodies will still die, Paul tells us, because of sin. This means that we must follow Jesus—if we want to be where He is, we must follow in His footsteps. And so we partake (by faith) in His death, knowing (by faith) that we will partake in His resurrection. This is why we chew and swallow weakness and death. We look forward in faith to what God always does with this—He vindicates His Word, His people, His way. He does this in resurrection power.
So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.