The Most Important Meal Of Your Life
April 1, 2012 Series: Easter
Scripture: Matthew 26:17–26:29
Answer this question in your head, If you could dine with anyone in history, who would it be? Many people think of family members that have died, or they never got to meet. Some think of celebrities, military of political leaders, or spiritual heroes. My wife said she'd love to sit at the table with Jlo and Anne Hathaway, while I said Martin Luther and Charles Spurgeon -- it's quite obvious -- we are different people!
Now, think about how great that meal would be, and how significant that moment feels. Meals are an important aspect in every culture, especially the 1st Century. Meals were hours upon hours. To have a meal with someone, was a large sign friendship, a trusting and mutual relationship. We do the same. We have lunches and dinners, to make friends, or to be with our friends.
Think about our text today. Jesus is eating with his friends. This was the most important meal of their life. They've had many meals together, but not like this one. Jesus is flipping the world upside down at this meal.
At this point in the Gospel of Matthew we are in Passion Week, which today is Palm Sunday. And in today's text we are zooming forward to Maundy Thursday, the night of the passover meal & Lord's Supper, tomorrow is Good Friday, Jesus is going to die. It's sundown in the text, we are nearing midnight. Jesus is a few hours away from being arrested.
Look at 26:1-5.
Jesus told them it was coming, and he knew the religious leaders of the day were going to wait till Passover was complete.
Let's imagine this scenario, Jesus is less than 24 hours away from dying. He is with his best friends. Ready to celebrate God's faithfulness and enjoy a meal together, but not just any meal -- the most important meal of their lives.
Passover was the grand event at the end of the Exodus account with Moses, Israel, and Egypt. The final plague in Egypt was a judgement of death of the first born son. But, if you killed a lamb, and put it's blood on your door post, as a covering, your home would be passed over. They were saved by the blood of the lamb, and God's wrath was so great on Egypt, Pharaoh released God's people, they were delivered by God.
The Passover meal was to remember what God did to deliver his people from oppression, and to give them freedom with Him. The Disciples are asking Jesus where He wants them to prepare the passover meal.
Jesus instructs them to go into the city and ask a certain man. The other gospel writers say that this man will be holding a water pot. So either Jesus made previous arrangements they don't' know about, or Jesus is orchestrating a supernatural event.
His time is at hand. Jesus knows what awaits him. The very purpose that he came for is hours away. His trial is less than 12 hours from now.
"They did as Jesus directed them" - that's rare!! They prepared the passover. These were not small preparations. There would be certain cups, herbs, sauces, wine, bread, and most importantly a lamb.
The disciples would have to take a spotless lamb to the Temple. One of the commentaries I read said this,
"[The disciples took the lamb to the temple and]There the lamb was killed, with the nearest priest catching the blood in a gold or silver bowl, passing it to the next in the row of priests until it reached the priest nearest the altar, who instantly sprinkled it on the altar’s base. The lamb was then flayed and the entrails removed to be burnt on the altar with incense. At dark the lamb was roasted."
The slaughtered lamb was the symbol of sins being atoned for & forgiveness being granted.
The dinner is set.
They are all reclining at the Table. Forget the painting you see in you head. It wasn't a long table, they would have been at three tables, making a U-shape. Jesus would be in the middle, they would be reclining, leaning towards the honored guests, and feet away from Him.
"As they were eating" - they are well into the meal, and Jesus says, "One of you will sell me out." Jesus changes the entire tone of the meal. The disciples are grieved, and begin to ask one by one, "Is it I, Lord." Peter, "Is it i Lord?" James, "Is it I Lord?" Phillip? "Is it I Lord?"
They are all worried about betraying Jesus. That's the mark of a disciple. You are genuinely concerned with not walking in away that honors Jesus. Flippancy towards Jesus should concern us all. It concerned them.
v. 23 - Jesus says it's the one who has dipped his hand in the bowl. Well, they all have.
Judas, "Is it I Rabbi?" Jesus says, "You said it, not me." Underline Rabbi, it means teacher. Now, look at the end of v. 22, underline Lord. This is significant. The other 11 call Jesus their Lord, their master, the sovereign one. Judas, "Teacher?"
What's your view of Jesus? Is He your Lord? Or...do you just admire what He has to say. I bet Judas loved the sermon on the mount. I'm sure Judas was in agreement with most of Jesus' teachings. He saw Jesus walk on water, raise people from the dead, feed 20,000 people with a sack lunch, cast out demons == He saw these things with his own eyeballs -- but he didn't follow Jesus.
He followed Jesus, but didn't follow Jesus. My fear is that some of you look at Jesus as your Rabbi. If that's all Jesus is to you, you are still headed to Hell. You need to give him your life. Having Jesus as your Lord, where you want to honor Him, worship Him, live for Him, give your whole existence for Him -- that's what we need.
And the very nature of the Lord's Supper means, He is extending and invitation to you today. The fact that we are going to do the Lord's Supper today means that Jesus is inviting you to His table. No sin is too great to come to Jesus, because Jesus is coming to you. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF YOUR LIFE.
Here's some good news: We are all Judas. Every person in this room has betrayed Jesus. The Bible says that everyone is at enmity with God, we have all fallen short of His glory. We have all sinned, we have all worshiped and served created things, rather than the creator -- that's betrayal. We gave glory to other things & ourselves, rather than God.
Let's not forget, there are two kinds of betrayers at the table.
Judas is the unbelieving betrayer, and if you fit that mold, Jesus will forgive you if you plead your crimes before Him, repent of you sin and come to Him. He'll cleanse you.
But Doesn't Peter sell Jesus out as well? Look at 26:35, they all proclaim, "We will die with you!" Verse 56, "All the disciples left him and fled." Peter in vv. 69-75, denies even knowing Jesus three times. Peter said earlier in the gospels, "You are the Christ, the son of the living God."
Christian, Judas sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver, about 4 months wages. Haven't you betrayed him for less? A couple of clicks on some websites? That purchase you didn't need to make? Some revenge you enacted? That lie?
We all stand guilty before King Jesus. We are all sinners. And here's the first thing we learn about the Lord's Supper:
God makes friends with Sinners.
Jesus is eating with his betrayer, his soon to abandon disciples. God doesn't go after the "good guys" the upstanding. God eats with sinners.
God's table is open to all that want to come to Jesus. "Come and Welcome to Jesus." Yes, we are all rebels. Our rebellion can only be forgiven by the work of Jesus on the cross. And that's where Jesus takes us with the Lord's Supper.
vv. 26 - 29
Jesus shifts this passover meal, into a new meal.
Notice in the text, the lamb is never mentioned, which is the prominent piece of the meal. The lamb is never mentioned, because Jesus is now the lamb, and He is going to take away our sins.
v. 26 - Jesus grabs the bread and says, "Take eat; this is my body."
Jesus is saying, "You must be united to me, if you want to live."
He has said this before, John 6:35-36; 53-55
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.
53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Eat = Believe. Jesus is calling us to faith in Him.
The Lord's supper, eating the bread, is the outward expression and symbol that you believe Jesus' body was broken for you. Luke & Paul include the phrase, "broken" & "for you."
We eat the bread/body in our new passover meal, to remember, just like the old passover meal -- The Lamb of God was broken for my sins, and I am saved.
The Drink is to remind us of His blood that was poured out for, "the forgiveness of sins." Is there better news than forgiveness of sins!?
"Poured out" was used to describe a violent death. And the cross was as violent as the come. And glory to God, the Bible says, "By his wounds..." WE ARE HEALED. Every drop of blood was for us. There is no wasted blood at the cross of Christ.
Jesus' blood, as the Lamb of God, is the fulfillment of all the blood of lambs, bulls, and goats that came before Him. The blood of animals were like credit cards, they weren't meant to pay for sins, they couldn't. They put payment on hold. Jesus came and made the final payment of all our sins.
We are fully forgiven, fully loved, fully welcomed, fully accepted -- because Jesus, who is fully God, died in our place. God forgives us, because God died for us.
We do the Lord's Supper, because we need to remember. We forget the amazingness of the cross. It fades to us. We get on with our lives, we get on with other things in the church, but the Lord's Supper reminds us, THIS IS THE MAIN THING.
Redeemer, keep the main thing, the main thing.
We do the Lord's Supper, in remembrance of Him, TO REMEMBER & PROCLAIM HIS WORK
It's all about Him. It's all about Jesus. Our new sign on 249. Did you see it? "IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS."
1 Cor. 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
- The passover was to remember the Exodus.
- The Lord's supper is to remember our Exodus.
The Lord's Supper is a visual sermon. We are proclaiming the greatness of Jesus, that He is our redeemer. This meal with Jesus is meant to destroy the meal that happened with Satan. Remember Genesis 3? The human race eats with Satan, and sin ruins everything. But this meal with Jesus trumps that meal with Satan.
Every bite of the bread and sip of the juice, we are saying, "We cannot save ourselves. Jesus is our Redeemer." If you are not a Christian, God is preaching to you through the Lord's Supper. You can be saved by believing in Jesus. Nothing magical is happening with the bread and the juice. They are symbols. Very meaningful and holy symbols, that Jesus died for sinners and rose again to give us new life.
We are free. We are healed. We are new. We are loved by God. I keep saying WE.
The Lord's Supper Reminds Us -- We are a Family
1 Cor. 10:16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
We are a family in Jesus. There is no longer a you. When you come to Jesus, you become a we. We are a part of God's family. No one is alone. There are no strangers and loners in God's family.
The Lord's Supper reminds us, everyone in this room is a sinner & we are greatly loved by God, and I'm to love my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Lastly, the Lord's Supper Reminds Us...Another Meal Awaits Us
Jesus is telling us, "We are going to eat and drink again. Just wait. We are going to dine in the Kingdom."
We eat the Lord's Supper and are reminded, Eternity is coming for us. Jesus has promised us another course.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb awaits us.
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Will you be at the marriage supper of the lamb?
The Lord's Supper is our glorious rehearsal dinner for what's to come.This is the most important meal of your life.Have you believed? Have you eat the bread/his body and received the wine/his blood?
Take, eat, drink, and welcome to Jesus. His table awaits you.
We are going to take the Lord's Supper. But let's not be hum-drum. Rev. 19, "Let us rejoice & exult, and give him glory." Rejoicing is not quite. Exultation is not sitting down.
The band is going to lead us in song, come and grab the elements, bring them to your seat, we will take them together, and It is right that we should clap, rejoice, shout if you like, you've been forgiven!!