March 12, 2017
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m an extremely futuristic person. I’m constantly thinking about the future. I’m constantly focusing on the vision of the future and where we’ll be as a family in 5-10 years or as a church in 5-10 years. Not that I’m a planner, I can just see the end product, so to speak. It’s hard for me to live in the here and now, and I hardly ever think of the past. I don’t reminisce much. So sometimes the conversations between Anne and myself are a little interesting. She likes to reminisce on the times we’ve had together and I like to talk about all the future stuff we are going to do.
However, when I do think of the past and reminisce, it often leads me to the family dinner table. Sitting around the table laughing and joking around. Making my brother upset as I took a piece of food off his plate.
Family dinners are special. But as we got older, sports got in the way. I left for college. And pretty soon, there was no more family dinners.
I’ll be honest that at the time I took these dinners for granted. Often time we wanted to keep the TV on because some sports game was on, or we wanted to eat quickly because we wanted to get back to playing video games or playing whiffle ball outside. The saying is true, “You don’t know what ya got till it’s gone.”
There’s another supper and another family table that we take for granted. We don’t want to, and it’s not our intent, but we do. Sadly,
We TAKE FOR GRANTED the Lord’s Supper.
Communion. Sadly, just like we take family dinners for granted, we end up taking the Lord’s Supper for granted. We forget how wonderful this dinner is and the meaning for us. At Peace, we practice membership communion before the service. For you members, how do you view it? Is it kind of like a family dinner where if you get to it great if not, oh well next time.
Today, we continue in our series called The Ransom. We are looking at how far Jesus went to free us from our sins. Today we look at this meal known as the Lord’s Supper.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
What is the Feast of Unleavened bread? What’s the Passover lamb? This was what our reading from Exodus 12 was all about. Remember the Jewish people were slaves in Egypt. They were treated poorly, and God said, “It’s time for my people to go free.” The King of Egypt, Pharaoh, wouldn’t let them go. Not even after God sent 9 plagues against the country. They were miraculous signs. Even Pharaoh’s own sorcerers said, “This is from God. We can’t do these signs.” Pharaoh continued to harden his heart until God said, “Fine. Here’s the last plague. Every first born son will die in Egypt.” God, through Moses, warned Pharaoh and told him what he was going to do, and Pharaoh paid no attention.
The night before that 10th plague, God instructed the Jewish people to kill a lamb and spread its blood over the doorposts of their homes. God would “passover” any house that had blood on the doorposts, but any doorposts that didn’t have blood, the first born son would die.
As a family, they were to eat the lamb that they sacrificed along with the unleavened bread. This was the covenant, or promise that God made them. It was a covenant of blood. The shedding of the blood over the doorposts promised the people that their family would live.
This family feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was the Jewish holiday to commemorate that day. The day they were finally set free from slavery to the Egyptians. The reason it was unleavened bread is because God was going to be acting quickly. There was no time for the yeast to work through the bread. So they had little wafer-like pieces of bread.
This is the feast that is starting in Jerusalem on that Thursday before Jesus died. The whole Jewish nation is in Jerusalem getting ready to celebrate the Passover. And like every other Jewish person, Jesus and his disciples would be celebrating it as well.
So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”
16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Is this Jesus being God and showing how he knows all things? Did he previously talk to the owner of the house and had already set up the place? Maybe a little of both. Either way, the disciples found the place where they would be celebrating the Passover meal. It was in an upper room where no one would bother them. In this room, they would celebrate the family meal of the Passover, and it’s here that Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper.
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
The Lord’s Supper is…A family meal.
The Passover was a family meal, and here the Savior shares his final meal with his family. Not his brothers or sisters, mother or father, not cousins nor aunts, but his family of believers. And it’s to this small family of believers that he institutes the Lord’s Supper.
Were these the only believers? No. But Jesus’ disciples weren’t outside banging on pots and pans saying, “Hey if you believe in Jesus as the Messiah, you need to get in this room! Something amazing is going to happen.” No. It’s only for the ones that Jesus has been with for 3 years. He’s been instructing them and teaching them. It’s to this family of believers that Jesus performs a miracle and gives him his body and blood with the bread and wine. They are connected forever with Jesus and with these other men sitting around the table.
As you stand and receive the Lord’s Supper, you have a family of believers that you are connected too stronger than blood family. You are connected together with the family of believers that you are sharing the Lord’s Supper with. You may have nothing in common with them, but as you stand next to them you are connected.
And that’s because as you stand there, you know that the people standing on your right and left are just like you. They struggle the same way you struggle. They believe the same things that you do in regards to the Bible. Just like a family meal brings you closer to the ones you eat with, this meal brings you closer to the ones you celebrate it with.
That’s what happened to the disciples that night. They were with each other every day for 3 years, but his meal brought them close because here they received the blood of the covenant.
Just like the lamb’s blood was shed over the doorposts, Jesus blood was shed for you. And this meal is God’s new covenant; his new promise that you as a family of believers have been forgiven.
As you stand there, you know that you share in the covenant, the same promise, as the people standing there with you. We are all on the journey through life on our way to heaven. We know we are all leaving the table together to go out and live our lives in a God-pleasing way.
The Lord supper is a family meal. A meal for the family of believers who are united together. But the Lord’s supper is also…
A Personal Meal
Jesus told his disciples to, “Take and eat. Take and drink. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” Think of the smells, the sights, the setting. It all brings them back to the memories of when their forefathers were freed from their slavery to the Egyptians. This was more than a meal. There was an order that things were to go, and certain things needed to be said.
One of the things needing to be said was a retelling of the meaning of the Passover supper. This whole meal was geared toward reminding them of the freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. Now Jesus takes this meal and he says, “Take and eat. Take and Drink. You personally. This is my body and blood which I am giving for you to free you for your sins. This is the ransom I’m paying to free you. My body and blood sets you free from the slavery to sin. You are forgiven.”
Think back to your family meal at the dinner table. Yes, it’s true that you are growing closer together with others, but you’re also having a personal meal. You eat and drink that your body may be strong. In the same way, the Lord’s supper is a family meal and a personal meal.
In a miraculous way he gives you personally his body and blood to ransom us, to set us free from sin. But didn’t Jesus die on the cross for my sins? Isn’t that where I’m forgiven. Yes.
But Jesus knows us so well. He knows that we will look at the cross and isolate ourselves. “He died for others there, but he couldn’t forgive me.” We isolate ourselves and put ourselves on our own island, and think that even God doesn’t care.
Here in this meal Jesus comes to each and every one of you personally and says, “You take. You drink. This is my body and blood. I’m giving it to you so you know personally that you are forgiven.” Every time you receive the Lord’s Supper, Jesus strengthens your faith. He builds it up and makes it stronger through his body and blood. He gave us this meal so that we constantly know that we have been set free from sin by his body and blood. It’s a family meal and it’s a personal meal. Finally, one that we might not readily consider is that the Lord’s Supper is…
A Heavenly Meal
25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “If only I could experience heaven?” Well here in this meal that’s exactly what you get. You get a little bit of heaven. Jesus said that night that he wouldn’t have this meal again until he drinks it anew in the kingdom of God.
Several times in the Bible, it refers to heaven as a banquet. Someway, somehow we are going to be celebrating by eating with Jesus. Believers of all time will sit at the Lord’s table and there we will have on big family dinner with Jesus at the head. The Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of that meal. It’s a preview of that family meal we’ll share in heaven. It quite literally is a little bit of heaven. Every time you come and receive the Lord’s Supper, you experience heaven. Won’t it be neat when we get to heaven and we sit across the table eating from people that we have been sharing the Lord’s Supper with already? What a wonderful foretaste he gives us.
I read an article earlier this week that talked about the top three things people want to hear. 1) I love you. 2) I forgive you. 3) Let’s eat. That’s exactly what we have in the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus says, “I love. I love you so much that I was willing to give my body and blood to set you free from sin. In other words, forgive you.” And he declares that to us when he says, “Take and eat. Take and drink.” What a wonderful family meal we have, what a wonderful personal meal we have, what a wonderful heavenly meal we have that we will one day share with all the family of believers. Amen.