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The Lord's Supper

Matthew 26:17-30 

 

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" [18] And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples." ' " [19] And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. 

[20] Now when evening had come, He was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. [21] And as they were eating, He said, "Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me." [22] And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, "Surely not I, Lord?" [23] And He answered and said, "He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. [24] "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." [25] And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said it yourself." 

[26] And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." [27] And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; [28] for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. [29] "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." 

[30] And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 
 

In the midst of their meal, Jesus took some unleavened bread and held it up, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." In the Passover meal, the bread had a particular significance. When the Hebrew women made their household bread, they took a piece of fermented dough they saved from a previous day and mixed it into their fresh flour. With time, the yeast would overtake the dough and she could then make her family's daily bread. (After saving a piece for future baking, of course.) When God delivered the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, there wasn't time to bake bread or hassle with yeast. They ate their bread unleavened.

Eating unleavened bread became a reminder of the time when God delivered the children of Israel out of bondage. In Exodus 13:8-9, God gives meaning to the unleavened bread, He said, "And you shall tell your son on that day, saying, 'It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.' [9] "And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt."

At the Lord's Supper, the bread that celebrated the people's deliverance from Egyptian bondage took on a new meaning. Now it commemorates Jesus' broken body and celebrates the Christian's deliverance from eternal bondage. Because of Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb, eternal life is possible to all who believe. 

Then, the scripture says, "And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; [28] for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:27-28)

When Jesus handed the cup to the disciples, they naturally would have thought of the blood of the lamb smeared on the doorpost of their ancestors' homes in Egypt. In preparation for the tenth plague, God instructed the children of Israel to put the blood of the Passover lamb on the two doorposts and on the lentel of the house. God made a covenant with the people: when the death angel saw the blood on the doorposts, it would "pass over" that house and not kill the first born son. But if a house did not have the blood on the doorposts and lentel, the death angel would visit their home and kill their first born son. The Lord said, "And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." (Exodus 12:13 NASB)

As the disciples drank the wine, they remembered the blood covenant. But Jesus reinterpreted the wine to symbolize a new covenant. In the Lord's Supper, Jesus' blood now symbolizes more then salvation from a single night of terror, instead, it celebrates eternal salvation. As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:18-19 "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, [19] but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."

Today, we celebrate the Lord's Supper. As we take the bread, we commemorate Jesus' broken body and celebrate our deliverance from eternal bondage. And then as we take of the fruit of the vine, we celebrate eternal salvation.

This is a day of great celebration for everyone who has experienced forgiveness for their sins and enjoys the promise of eternal life. Has there been a time in your life when you accepted Jesus as your Savior and submitted to Him as your Lord? Notice what I'm not asking you. I'm not asking you if you consider yourself a Christian because you're not something else-like Buddhist, Hindu or Moslem. Neither am I asking you if you grew up in a Christian home or if you do more good things than bad things. My question is very specific--Has there been a time in your life when you accepted Jesus as your Savior and submitted to Him as your Lord? 

Romans 10:9 says, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;" (NASB) Notice the final thing this verse says, "you shall be saved." It makes it crystal clear that salvation is possible. What precedes that glorious statement shows that it is conditional. You can be saved, but you must do two things. It says that you must "believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead." Do you believe? Deep down in your heart, do you believe the gospel message that Jesus died on the cross for our sins-that His body was broken for you-and He rose from the grave? If you believe than all you must do is accept His sacrifice for your sins by confessing "with your mouth Jesus as Lord." This puts your faith into action. Because you believe that He rose from the dead-that He is Lord over life and death-you make a public decision that He is your Lord.

Have you ever made a decision like that before? If so, the scripture says that you should examine yourself (1 Cor. 11:26-28) before you take the cup. I encourage you to use this invitation time to do just that. Not examine others around you to test their level of faith and commitment, but examine yourself.

If you haven't made that decision before, you can do so today during this time of invitation. I'll be here in the front of the auditorium ready to have a private prayer with you. When we stand, just step out and come up to me and tell me that you want Jesus to be your Lord and we'll pray together.

Perhaps you have other decisions you need to make. I'd also love to talk to you about being baptized or becoming a member of our church-whatever your decision is, please make it as we prepare ourselves to gather at the Lord's table.
 

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