Let us pray: Dear Savior, tonight we have come to have our faith fed and our sins forgiven. Since You are the One Who does both, we don’t have to worry whether or not such forgiving faith-feeding will be adequate. For whatever You do, You do it perfectly. Impress that thought in our minds. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR FORGIVING SAVIOR!
TEXT: Luke 22: 14-20: “When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’ After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”
Fellow Redeemed Searchers of God’s Forgiveness:
“Father, forgive them.” During Lent we focus upon various aspects of exactly what that means. This evening we have a very direct answer to that prayer. For forgiveness consists of two parts: one, the offended party forgives the offender from his heart; and two, he lets the offender know that he’s forgiven. Sometimes that second part is difficult. Sometimes the sinner is so devastated by their actions that they really don’t grasp hold of the forgiveness being handed to them—it seems just too good to be true. Well, tonight as we dwell upon our Lord’s Last Supper, Christ seeks to solidify in us the knowledge that, yes, He truly does forgive us. He answers our prayer:
FATHER, FORGIVE US THROUGH THE HOLY SUPPER!
Christ says that He “eagerly desired to eat this Passover” with His disciples. They probably felt eager, too, but for different reasons. For the Passover was the greatest celebration of the Jewish year. It was the 4th of July, Christmas and New Years all rolled into one. And the Passover dinner was the high point of the day.
But, of course, Jesus had a different motive in mind behind His desire. He knew as the eternal Son of God, the Lamb of God; that everything about the Passover was really about Him. He knew that the Israelites deliverance from Egypt was but an earthly reminder of mankind’s deliverance from eternal sin and death. He knew that the “angel of death” that saved them so long ago, was but a forerunner of the death He was to embrace on the morrow. He knew that the perfect Passover Lamb with its saving blood, was Him. It was all about Him. Likewise He knew that the bitter herbs they were to eat prefigured the bitterness of death He would taste the next day. And that the unleavened bread they ate, bread without any additive, prefigured Him, the bread of eternal life which needed no other additive. Yes, Christ was eager to make these truths fully known to His disciples.
And Christ went on to do just that during the meal. Toward the end of the meal, He took that unleavened bread, marking His non-sin-tainted Body, the Bread of eternal life, broke (or distributed) it to them and said of it: “This is my body, given for you.” Then He took the cup of wine, and gave it to them saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” To this action of consecration, or setting these earthly elements aside for holy use, Christ includes His distribution of it all to them along with their partaking.—Consecration, distribution, reception. And then He adds an emphatic command: “Do this in remembrance of me.”
A covenant is an agreement. Usually it takes two parties to conclude any agreement. On Passover evening they were celebrating an agreement between God and the children of Israel, an agreement that had first been instituted about 1400 years before in Egypt. For 1400 years that agreement had stood. It had been celebrated by God’s people because it marked and reminded them of God’s great deliverance. But now, Christ gives them a new covenant, His last will and testament. As such it is to extend to the end of time. And in this agreement, God does all the giving and His people do all the receiving. And what’s the benefit of this covenant?—The gift of total forgiveness for all sins.
Communion certainly is a ritual meal. But it is unique in that God performs the ritual for us and we receive its benefits. And to make all this real to us, to cement in our consciousness the fact that Christ really did forgive our sins on the cross and really does forgive them when we partake of the Supper, Jesus unites Himself to the bread and the wine. Through His powerful words uttered tonight He will dwell in, with, and under those earthly elements. They really will become His body and blood because He says so! And remember, Jesus cannot lie!
To make us truly aware, to make sure we really do grasp hold of the forgiveness He bestows, Jesus adds His body and blood to the bread and wine. To personalize all this, we taste and chew the bread and we smell, taste, and feel the wine. The forgiveness He gives is not “other-worldly” but grounded in our reality and it touches our senses. All of this is done to make sure that we really do grasp the reality of our sins forgiven by Him in His Supper!
Let’s go back to our prayer: Father, Forgive Us Through This Holy Supper! Do you want forgiveness? Do you want to be free from eternal guilt and shame? If so, then commune together with Christ tonight. For as His last will and testament, this is His legacy of love to and for each of you! Amen
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH…..