Title: Communion Sunday. Our remembrance of Christ.
The Jews were given many rituals in the Mosaic Law that were designed to make them never forget the many benefits they received from God.
Every Levitical offering was a picture of God's deliverance from slavery. Their first given ritual, the Passover, derives its name from the fact that the angel of death passed over any house that had the blood of the lamb spread on its doorpost with a hyssop brush. They had the Sabbath so that they could rest and remember that with a mighty arm, Jehovah had delivered them from the bondage of Egypt and into the land of promise, flowing with milk and honey.
He promised to them that He would bless them if they only followed His law in faith. He gave them seven major feasts to be celebrated in the spring and the autumn that were further reminders of deliverance, blessing, prosperity, and that God worked for them and that they did not work for Him.
Added to this was that the Tabernacle, representing heaven itself and their Messiah who would come from heaven to heal them. It was among them every day. Every item within the Tabernacle as well as everything that comprised it, was a picture of God's grace and salvation. After they had settled the land and spread out over the face of it, God instructed them to visit the Tabernacle on three different occasions throughout the year; at Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Every man in Israel was to behold the Tabernacle at least three times a year and be reminded.
All of these, the offerings, the feasts, the Sabbaths, the Tabernacle served as reminders of God's love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, comfort, salvation. And together, all of them are fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God come from heaven and who in the flesh, dwelt among us.
JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
JOH 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
JOH 1:3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
JOH 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
JOH 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
JOH 6:32 Jesus therefore said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
JOH 6:33 "For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
JOH 6:34 They said therefore to Him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread."
JOH 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
JOH 6:36 "But I said to you, that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.
JOH 6:37 "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
JOH 6:38 "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
JOH 6:39 "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
JOH 6:40 "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day."
All of the reminders given to Israel are types of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He fulfilled His mission on earth and ascended back into heaven, the church no longer needed these types. Why behold the type when you have the anti-type or the reality?
Yet we were given one physical and observable ritual. Its elements were taken from the Passover, the first and most important of all of Israel's rituals. Yet these two elements serve to remind us of the Lord, His body given and His new covenant with us in His blood.
Since all the feasts given to Israel are pictures of some aspect of Him, we can confidently say that they are all depicted in the two elements before us.
The Passover had been kept, the Pascal lamb had been consumed by the guests with feelings of deep emotion, and the festive cup had been several times sent around as was customary. The moment had now arrived when after singing to great Hallel, or psalm of praise, the meal should be concluded, and the signal given to the guests to rise up and depart.
LUK 22:14 And when the hour had come He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.
LUK 22:15 And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
LUK 22:16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. "
LUK 22:17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves;
LUK 22:18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes."
The Pascal lamb has been consumed, the festive cup passed around several times, the Hallel sung, the meal should be concluded, but the Lord bids them stay so that He may give them something brand new.
Instead of allowing all to quietly depart, the Master rises from His seat, but not to depart. His intenseness bids them to remain. All eyes are upon Him. He commences with a new act that will become the Communion Table for the church.
As the Head of a new family, a family of royal priests and brothers, He again takes the bread, breaks it, and after giving thanks, distributes it to the disciples. He then likewise gave to them the cup, and commands them all to drink of it.
Of all the elements of the Passover meal, the Lord takes the bread.
The Lord took bread. He might have taken any part of the Passover feast, but He chose bread. He did not take the flesh of the lamb. This might have been too like the old offerings in which they partook of the peace offering as a meal. He simply took the unleavened Passover bread. Bread is the most common of man's sustenance. It would continue to be common to him throughout his time on earth. But this in no way means that Christ is common. It does mean that Christ is sustenance.
Bread is the most common sustenance. He is the only sustenance that is spiritual and eternal.
JOH 6:51 "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh."
Such common bread that is sanctified by Him as representing Him is no longer common.
It remains common to all who do not believe, but when His blessing upon it and the representation that He affixed to it is mixed with faith in the heart of the recipient, it becomes sanctified and precious to him.
Hence, at the end of the Passover, He blessed this particular bread and affixed a meaning to it. It was no longer common.
MAT 26:26 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."
After taking the bread He blessed it and He gave thanks to the Father for it. Did He thank the Father for the gift of bread to man for sustenance? Hardly.
His body is the bread, and He gave thanks to the Father for His body, since through that body, He would save the world.
Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired,
But a body Thou hast prepared for Me;
He poured out His heart in praise and thanksgiving to His heavenly Father.
Jesus from His humanity thanks the Father for His mercy, to save the poor and miserable, which all of us are, no matter how much we may possess.
“For what did He render thanks? O my friends, for what else than for the decision of divine mercy, to save such poor sinners as we, which He saw in spirit, as already accomplished in His blood, and for the deliverance of the children of Adam from the curse of the law, from the power of Satan, and the gulf of perdition.” [The Suffering Savior, F.W. Krummacher]
It was the disciples and all of us in the church that lay heavily upon His heart that night, and not His impending suffering. His interest was only in obtaining blessing for world.
Imagine the angels who were watching Him. Imagine the awe in them when His words of thanks graced by them and came to the throne of the Father. We know the angels can rejoice and so I assume they can experience awe.
When He broke the bread, how could He not picture His own breaking with the Father when the judgment for the sins of the world came upon Him?
He broke bread and He gave thanks. He gave thanks and He blessed.
When He blessed the elements they separate from the common elements that they are. They are still just bread and wine, but He had given them meaning and it is their meaning that separates them. There is nothing mystical in them as some denominations came to believe. When the bread elicits the idea of His body in our minds and we remember Him in body and blood giving His entire self to us so that we may live, when we remember that He allowed His body to endure such a treatment against it that no man had ever known and that He allowed it to be hung on a Roman cross so as to be the one true sacrifice for sin, then the bread becomes more than just a piece of bread.
In Luke's account, His body is given for us.
LUK 22:19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
The cup was given in the same way, with thanks, blessing, and for us.
LUK 22:20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
The Lord gave the bread and cup in the same way with blessing and thanksgiving to the Father. He would give of Himself as a sacrifice - freely and without cost. Whosoever may believe and whosoever may join Him at His table.
Giving to us and teaching us are gifts that He gives with joy and delight. He is the Giver and the Teacher.
The cup is His blood. It is poured out for us. We often like to define the bread and the cup distinctively, but the one cannot be separated from the other.
Luke and Paul: new covenant in My blood
Matt and Mark: My blood of the covenant
Both the blood and the covenant are in view.
He doesn't say it is His blood, but the covenant in His blood or My blood of the covenant. Both the blood and the covenant are in view. The covenant is salvation and the blood along with the body are Him in total.
Though the sacrifice of Himself, all who believe in Him in this age enter into the New Covenant. There has been some confusion concerning this New Covenant since God had said that He was going to enter into a New Covenant with Israel in Jer 31. At our next communion we will explore the New Covenant in reference to how it is mentioned in the OT and in the NT.
Though the sacrifice of Himself, all who believe in Him in this age enter into the New Covenant.
The Lord selected unleavened bread. For the cup the Lord did not select water, but the fruit of the vine for the symbol of the covenant in His blood.
In just a few minutes time, after the Communion was instituted, Christ would teach them that He was the true vine. That vine would give the New Covenant of God to the world. No longer would the old Mosaic Covenant be in force. It was never meant to be permanent. The life of the New Covenant, divine life, would be in men, only so far as they were branches in the vine. They were now given the privilege of communing with Him or abiding in Him at all times, every day of their lives and on into eternity.
He shall drink of the cup of the sins of the whole world and He would hand us the cup of divine life, the New Covenant in His blood.
And so, the cup reminds us of the wine press. The Son of Man would be fully pressed in the arena of man’s ignorance, rejection of Him, and finally forsaken by His Father, and the pressing would produce a divine wine, typified in His first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, which divine, sweet wine would be given to men.
ISA 53:4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
ISA 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
ISA 53:6 All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
Take and drink of it, all of you.
The bread, His body was given for you. Take and eat of it. The cup is the result of that sacrifice. To you is given the New Covenant in His blood. Take and drink of it.
What an incomparable legacy has the Lord left us in His sacred Supper. What a fullness of heavenly blessings and mercies has He showered down upon us in this solemn institution. It should be highly esteemed and revered, which is why the Corinthians, in gross violation of its importance, were so heavily disciplined by God.
We are to celebrate it together in humility and in joy, for it is for all of us and He is the reason that we are united in faith, purpose, mind, and love.
So, now that we are fully reminded, in reverence, let us eat the bread together. Almost 2,000 years ago He gave thanks for it and blessed it. This is His body which is given for us. Let us eat it in remembrance of Him.
Let us drink the cup together. He also gave thanks for it and blessed it. This is the New Covenant in His blood, which is given for us. Let us drink of it in remembrance of Him.
MAT 26:27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you;
MAT 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
MAT 26:29 "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."