Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Lord’s Supper

Luke 22 (Matthew 26, Mark 14, John 13)

Jesus and His Disciples Prepare the Passover

7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat."

[The Passover was instituted in Exodus 12 as the preparation for their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. As an act of faith each house was to kill a lamb, and mark the door frame of the house with the blood, to save the firstborn from the plague of death as foretold in Exodus 11

4 Then Moses said, "Thus says the LORD: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; 5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. 6 Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.

As Al Reichman mentioned in his teaching on the Passover there was no Angle-of-Death as popular tradition holds, this was God himself executing judgment.

The Passover meal features the lamb described in Exodus 12:
Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Furthermore they are told to eat in haste with their sandals on, showing they were ready to leave Egypt, and not to break any of the lamb bones, and to burn the leftovers. From these simple instructions, the Seder feast and narrative, that Bro. Al demonstrates, were developed. We don't know if Jesus followed the elaborate order of the Seder meal, but we know he kept the Passover according to the instructions given by Moses.]

So they said to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare?"
10 And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"' 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready."
13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.

[As we near the time of Jesus' death this passage shows us how every detail was pre-arranged by God, nothing was left to chance.]

Jesus Institutes the Lord's Supper

14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

[Moses instructed that the Paschal Lamb or "Korban Pesach" as it is known in Hebrew was to be killed at twilight, so the Passover meal we eaten after dark, as the plague of death descended on Egypt at night. Jesus longed for this intimate setting with his disciples away from the crowds. Here he would observe the past salvation of Israel, and begin the salvation of mankind. He makes it clear this was his last Passover until the meet again in heaven.]

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

[Again you see the finality in his words. He would not drink wine again until the kingdom of God comes.]
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

[Here he takes the unleavened bread, divided it and said this is my body which is given for you, then the familiar words "do this in remembrance of me". Understand that the Lords supper is a memorial service. We are called to remember the sacrifice of Christ. His body offered for our sins. Now the Catholics teach that the bread actually becomes the body or flesh of Christ when it is consumed at communion. I think this is a bit of gratuitous mysticism as the scripture does not support that idea. First when Jesus said this his body was still whole not yet offered on the cross. Second he called it a remembrance, clearly indicating the symbolic nature of the bread. Third the scripture clearly tells us that Christ was offered once for sins in Hebrews 7

For such a High Priest was fitting for us,
who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

And finally God through Moses commanded that none of the lamb be left until morning. Jesus body was not some eternal meal of leftovers, being continually consumed for thousands of years. He was offered once, to be remembered forever.]

20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

[The covenant of the Law required a blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of man. But Jesus became a new covenant between God and man, a covenant or contract of faith. Jesus fulfilled the Law on our behalf, then took our place, accepting the punishment of death assigned to man after the fall.]

21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"
23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.

[See the sovereignty of God in this passage. Even though Judas betrayed Jesus for his own selfish reasons, God had a purpose even in the deceit of a friend. Just as Joseph later said to his brothers that sold him into slavery, "you meant it for evil, but God intended it for good".]

1 Corinthians 11

Conduct at the Lord's Supper

17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.

Institution of the Lord's Supper

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.

Examine Yourself

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

[There is no question that communion or the Lord's supper is intended to reinforce the unity of believers in one spirit, all saved by a common sacrifice, serving one Lord. ]

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