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Days of Destiny, Part 1: The Last Supper

Scripture: Luke 22:1-23
Date: 04/15/2006 
The first in a six part series that focus on the greatest days of Jesus' life. This message focuses on the last supper. The context of this event was an upper room.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

This month we have been engaged in a special emphasis on prayer. I thought that it would be in keeping with both this prayer emphasis this month, and also time of year. This is the season when the Passover occurred. That's why many churches are celebrating the resurrection this weekend. I feel impressed that I wanted to do a series that specifically focused on the greatest days of Jesus’ life, which were encompassed in the last few days. I've titled this series, it'll probably be about four parts, Days of Destiny. We're going to talk about the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, betrayal, the trial, the crucifixion and resurrection. You might think it's strange that we would be having, and today's special message is on the Last Supper. That's obviously first sequentially. Our church is having a communion service in about a week. It'll be on Friday. Two weeks, sorry. Thank you very much.

I was wondering as I said that, in about two weeks. So you might be thinking. Usually we talk about the Last Supper and then we have communion service. How much better would be if we talked about the Last Supper and gave us a week or two weeks to pray about it? Digest it, meditate on it, and then come together as we participate. And so I'd really like that to be something that we focus on and prepare for. Also, I'll just be very honest with you, so often when we have our communion service, the Lord's Supper, there’s a little sermonette that's supposed to encompass what happened during that time and it is never adequate time to really study what was going on during that meal where this covenant was established. And so I thought, “I'm going to give it the full block of time I would normally give a message, and we're going to talk about the subject of the communion service and what is often called the Last Supper. Now, it begins with, and this is then part one in the series, on the Days of Destiny. It begins with picking a place for the time.

This was the time of the Passover, which is what time we have right now in the year. And I'm going to take it from Luke 22. If you turn in your bibles to Luke 22, referred to this chapter several times as our springboard. Verse one says, “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.” And then you can go down to verse 7, “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John saying, Go and prepare the Passover for us that we might eat. And they said to Him, Where do you want us to prepare?” I guess from year to year, they didn't have any one place where they went. They chose different places for this. And Jesus gave them some interesting instructions in order to find the upper room. He said, in verse 10, “Behold, when you've entered the city, Jerusalem, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him.” Stalk him. “Follow him into the house, which he enters. Then you'll say to the master of the house,” the homeowner, “the Teacher says to you, where is the guest room in which I might eat the Passover with my disciples? Then he'll show you a large furnished upper room, and there make ready.” That upper room becomes very significant because evidently it's the same place where they met after the resurrection, and it may have also been same upper room where the Holy Spirit was poured out later. We're not sure of that. It tells us that was the room of John Marks family. It's amazing how the Lord said God would provide.

Remember when Jesus needed a donkey to fulfill that prophecy in Zechariah and ride into Jerusalem. He's said to the disciples, you're going to go into the city and you're going to find that there is a colt tied with its foal. Take it and if anyone asks any questions, say, “The master has need of it.” And I've always been a little frightened to try that. Just walk up to somebody and say, hop into their limo. “What are you doing?” “Master has need of it,” and see what they say. It's God's way of saying that providentially God will provide and He will direct us. But it's also significant that they found the upper room by following somebody carrying a pitcher of water. Keep in mind, the Gospel begins with baptism. That pitcher of water that was taken into the house was probably brought to the upper room. They didn't all have running water in the houses and that water was probably used later to wash the disciples feet. So water was used for cleansing. The first miracle of Jesus had to do with pitchers of water that were turned into wine. Am I right? And what happened at that dinner is that this wine, the symbolism of the grape juice, was shown to be the blood of Christ. So there's a great significance there that they followed this man bearing a pitcher. And ultimately it’s telling us about Jesus, who is the living water. So they go to this upper room, the disciples spent time preparing for the feast. And there was preparation involved. They were going to have a Passover meal. Why did Jesus use the Passover to introduce the Last Supper?

Well, several things are happening here. This dinner was a time of a very, very, very important announcement. Not only was He announcing His death, what happened there in the upper room was a new covenant was being initiated. You can read many times in the Bible, when covenants were made they were sealed with a feast. So the new covenant, the New Testament, is sealed with this feast. Furthermore, Christ deliberately did it at the time of the Passover because the Old Testament Passover pointed to this event. The whole Old Testament Passover was really a symbol of how the angel of judgment was going to pass over or pass by, because the blood they had applied, the blood of the lamb, was applied to their hearts. Perfect context for Jesus to inaugurate this event. Because here He is the lamb and it's His blood that makes the angel of judgment pass by us. We are seen as innocent because we apply His blood. Am I right? And the Passover service also represented leaving Egypt, leaving Egypt and going to the Promise Land. And it's through applying this blood of Christ that we begin this journey to Promise Land Or to heaven. The purpose for the Old Testament Passover then really is replaced, it eclipsed, by the main event. There's a quote from the book, Desire of Ages, I wanted to share. Page 652. “As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever.

The service that Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages. It became the real focus.” Now there are only two ceremonies that Jesus gives to the church. That which is connected with the Lord's Supper He instituted, and baptism. And so it's very interesting that the beginning of His ministry is marked by what? The first ceremony, baptism. And the end of His ministry is marked by the second ceremony. Some people say that we keep a new Sabbath day in honor of the resurrection. But you know the Bible really tells us that what we do to remember the death, burial and resurrection is baptism. Never does it say He had a new substitute Sabbath. And so these are the two great pillars that mark the Ministry of Jesus and they are the only two ceremonies that Christ established. The covenants in the Church of baptism and the Lord's Supper. The institutes, I should say. And so there is great significance there. Something else that was happening in the upper room, that was very important to Jesus. You see, they were arguing among themselves, which of them was the greatest. There was a lot of bitterness among the disciples. You know, why? Because Peter, no, I'm sorry, James and John, with their mother, went to Jesus and said, “Lord, we've got a special request. When you're finally enthroned in your kingdom,” they were thinking that He would be sitting on an earthly throne, and it would happen any day. “We want to sit on your right and left hand.”

All the disciples began to wonder, who is going to get what position. And, of course, the greatest positions of honor would be prime minister and Chief of Staff on the right and the left hand of Jesus. And all the disciples knew, so far Christ had treated them like equals. I mean, you know, Judas was the treasurer. And sometimes they were given different jobs, but they didn't really know what their cabinet positions would be. And so James and John thought, “Well, Jesus always answers whenever you ask. He always says, ‘Ask and you shall receive,’ let's ask.” So they went and they said, “Lord, when you enter into your kingdom, James, since I'm the older, right hand. John, left hand. We want to be right there flanking you.” And their mother was there to add impetus to it. And some believe Jesus’ mother Mary was the sister to James and John's mother. And so there's some scholarly support for that, but you can't prove it. So they thought, “We'll even have the nepotism to reinforce it.” The Jesus said, “You don't know what you're asking. First of all, you think I'm talking about an earthly kingdom, so you don't know about my kingdom. Secondly, you don't know what it means to have those seats of honor. To sit next to me you must suffer with me. Are you able to drink my cup?” “Oh, yes, we can.”

He said, “Well, you will drink my cup, but you don't know what you're asking.” I always thought it was significant that of the twelve disciples, guess who was the first one to die a martyrs death? James. Who was the last one to die, and the only one to die of old age? John. They sort of did go to the right in the left of Jesus in that they were complete opposites in that respect. The other disciples heard that James and John had asked to sit on the right and left hands, and they were infuriated by this. Especially Judas. It bothered him because he wanted the chief position. That's why he was following Jesus. That's why Jesus said to Judas, “Foxes have their holes, birds have their nests, but the Son of man has no where to lay His head. I've got to borrow an upper room to have my dinner. If you're following me for an earthly position you're following for the wrong reason.” But it really made Judas mad, and the others, that they had asked for this. Why did it make them mad? Because they beat them to it. So here they come to the Lord's Supper.

They're in the upper room, and they're all jostling for position around Christ. Who's going to sit at the seat of honor? You know, I understand that when you go to a dinner in England, if you're invited to the Queens Palace for dinner, that the positioning is very, very important science. Those that are the closest to the queen and her family are the greatest honored, the most important guests. Those that are further away, less honor. Remember what Jesus said about the religious leaders who seek out the chief seats. They wanted the positions of honor. And so it would have been interesting to have a video of the jostling and positioning that went on, kind of like musical chairs, as Jesus sat down. Somehow John at please right next to him on the right side and Judas was not going to let James get the left side and he squeezed in and sat down, plop down next to Jesus on the left side. The Bible only tells us where four individuals were: Christ, Judas on the left, John, and then Peter next to John. We're not exactly sure where the others were seated. But that comes into play later. So Christ hits it head-on, what was going on in their minds. Luke 22:24, “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And He said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. But it shall not be so among you. On the contrary,” it's the opposite of the world, “he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger.”

Usually it was the older who got a double inheritance. In the Bible, who ended up getting the inheritance among God's leaders, the younger or the older? But who ended up getting it? I'm saying, biblically, it was supposed to be the first born, according to the law, but now look at how God did it. Was it Esau, who got the birthright, or Jacob, the younger? Was it Miriam, the oldest, or Moses, the youngest? Was it Rueben, the oldest, or Joseph, who led Egypt? You just go through a lot of those leaders in the Bible, you’ll find out that Gideon, the youngest, Jephthah, the youngest. God always seemed to say, “I'm going to choose the least.” Isn't that right? Mary was the youngest of Martha and Lazarus. Mary, the youngest. And so, you find this pattern in the Bible. He said, “That's not how it's supposed to be among you. I came among you to serve.” Jesus, it's interesting. Does He know what's about to happen that night? How restless would you be? Would your hands sweat if you knew you were about to be betrayed by your friends, you were going to be placed into the hands of a demon possessed mob that would do everything they could to humiliate you, to extract all of the maximum degree of emotional and physical suffering? And you imagine going to the dentist and him saying, “I’m out of Novocain.”

We wouldn't even want that, right? You’re going to go have your teeth drilled and filled and, “There's no Novocain today. Just grin and bear it.” I've got a friend of mine who is made of pretty tough stuff. And he doesn't take an aspirin; he doesn't take anything for anything. And he went to the dentist, one day, and he said, “You know, I need to drill that tooth.” And he said, “No Novocain.” And the dentist said, “No, I won't do that.” He says, “You can do it. I'll be all right.” “You don't know what you're saying. Trust me.” And this friend of mine, he sat there without any kind of anesthetic. Drilled into his teeth and he just sat there, perspire running down his forehead, but he didn't flinch. Tough character. I wouldn't want to do that, let alone face what Jesus faced. In spite of what He knew was immediately before Him, was Jesus worried about what was going to happen to Him or was He more worried about the spiritual state of His disciples? That to me just goes [whew]. I can't comprehend that king of love, that He was so selfless His final thoughts were the attitudes of his disciples. I mean, if I was about to go through that, I’d get all my friends together say, “Let's all cry for me. Let's all pray for me.” Right? But Jesus was more concerned about them. And that's why He began by saying, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you.” Now some of the other Passovers Jesus had, Lazarus could have been there some of the other friends and disciples, but only 13 in the upper room.

Which created a problem. As He's talking to them about service they're looking around and they see there’s a basin. Before you have the Passover meal, usually there's foot washing. Oh by the way, some people have been confused because in John 13, before the foot washing, it begins by saying, “and supper being ended.” And people thought that means the Passover meal was over. That's not what that means. It means preparation for the supper was completed. They had not eaten the Passover meal yet. A lot of people think that it was after the Passover they did the foot washing. No. It means Passover preparation was completed. They were ended with the supper preparation. It's just how it comes through when you translate it into that language. They see there's a base in there, there's a pitcher, there's a towel, there's everything needed for a servant to wash their feet. Other occasions, they may have had a servant there. Now, because what He's going to tell them is the most intimate and most personal information, He's about to say that one of them will be a betrayer, He wants no outside ears. Nobody's there to serve. The disciples have all been jostling for position around Jesus and they see that the basin and the water are there and they think, “Well, I'm not getting up and washing anybody's feet. I'm not losing my place here. Someone will squeeze in next to Jesus. I've got my spot, I'm parking right here.” And the others who are further out say, “Well, I didn’t get a place, close enough to Jesus. I'm too far away.

If I start washing their feet then I'm going to be branded the servant forever.” And all these thoughts are going through their minds. Jesus had just talked to them about service. He pauses for a long time. Everyone knows that dinner can't begin until the foot washing. Nothing happens. He gives them an opportunity. So what happens? He rises. Turn in your Bibles to John 13:2, “Then supper r being ended,” you’ll see some notes there that explained that verse, “the Devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, He rose from supper, laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded himself.” Jesus laid aside His righteousness, His garments, that He might wash us. There's great significance there. He also did it for practical reasons because it helped Him to be unimpeded as He got down on His knees and washed their feet. And the disciples are watching, kind of horrified, in shock, and also embarrassed that they had not offered themselves to do this. “He poured water in a basin, and began to wash their feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. And He came to Simon Peter, and Simon Peter said, Lord, are you washing my feet?” Now evidently He's made His way around the circle. He started at the left; He goes around to the right. Oh by the way, unlike any of the pictures I have, sometimes I do the best I can with these artist’s concepts.

They sat in a reclining position. You notice it says, “John leaned upon the breast of Jesus.” Part of the reason for that, when they ate the first Passover meal they were to eat it standing, shoes on, staff in hand, ready to begin a journey. Once they entered the Promise Land, when they ate the Passover they did it in a reclining, resting position, because now they were in the Promise Land. They were entered into the rest. And so it was a custom that they were leaning on couches and pillows, with their feet going out word. And it was eaten in a casual way. When Jews eat the Seder today they usually sit at a conventional table, but in Christ's time they weren't at the Leonardo da Vinci kind of table. Their feet were aimed outward and that's how Mary could wash Jesus’ feet at that supper and dry them with her hair because of the posture of how they were seated. He begins with Judas. And you know, I think when Jesus began to wash Judas’ feet; he's the one that needed it the most. His mind and heart were overwhelmed with the desire to confess what he had done. It was not too late at that point for Jesus to repent. I'm sorry, Judas to repent. Thank you. Because Jesus was washing his feet, it broke his heart, he wanted to tell Him, but when he resisted that last impulse of the Holy Spirit turn, the Holy Spirit was withdrawn.

He thought if Jesus was really the king, He wouldn't be down here doing this menial job. And he became more resolved and hardened in his desire to betray Him. Jesus made His way around the circle, He’s washing everybody's feet and eventually He comes to Peter. Peter feels the same emotions of shame that the Master, the King, is washing their feet. He says, “Lord, you're never going to wash my feet.” Matter of fact, let me read it to you right out of the Bible. “He came to Peter and Peter said, Lord,” verse 8, John 13, “you shall never wash my feet.” Peter so adamant, “Never!” A few moments later, he says, “Not only my feet, but my hands and my head.” Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” How important is it for Jesus to wash us? If you are not washed Jesus says, “You have no part with me.” You cannot just call yourself a Christian and be a follower of Christ, you must be washed. The other thing that's very important about this dinner is everybody in this room that is being washed is a believer. This is at the end of 3 1/2 years after the baptism.

It reminds us that Jesus must continue to wash the church. It's not just the washing we receive with justification when we come to Christ, but doesn't the Lord’s Supper tell us that we need ongoing cleansing and sanctification? And in the statement where Jesus said, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me,” it is a continual washing. Christ must always be washing us. And we like Peter, sometimes don't want to let Him do it. We've got to say, “Lord, not only my feet, but my hands and my head. Wash all of me.” And He said, “What I'm doing now you don't understand, but you'll know afterwards.” And then He said, “If I don't wash you, you have no part with me.” And Peter said, “Lord, not my feet only, but my hands and my head.” Jesus said, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not all of you.” Who was it that was not completely clean? Next verse, tells us that Jesus knew about Judas. “That's why He said, You are not all clean.” “So when He had washed their feet He took His garments again and He sat down and He said to them, Do you know what I've done to you? You call me your teacher and your Lord, and you say well for so I am. If I then, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.

For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.” Now, in this Seventh-day Adventist Church, we are one of several denominations that still practices the foot washing ordinance, along with the Lord's Supper. Mennonites, primitive Baptists, a lot of churches still practice this. It's interesting that some do and some don't because there is no clearer command given in the Bible where He tells them that it's a ceremonial washing. He had washed Judas' feet, but He said, “You’re still not clean.” Obviously it's a ceremonial washing. And He said, “I've given you an example that you should do as I have done to you.” He says it just as emphatically as He says it about the bread and wine. Yet some churches don't practice this aspect. It's interesting, not that it's our example, even in the Catholic Church the Pope once a year, I think it's once a year, he washes feet of the Cardinals and kisses them. I've got pictures of it. To illustrate this point. It is very clear teaching in the Bible. In the Seventh Day Adventist Church we practice what is known as the ordinance of humility, where we serve each other. And really, it is the perfect preparation for the Lord’s Supper because we should not be participating in the Lord’s Supper until our hearts are right. And sometimes there’s strife among us as there was among the twelve disciples. “Which of us is the greatest”? Or there could be strife regarding gossip.

That’s typically how it happens in the church. Or someone got voted or nominated into a position and someone else was displaced by that. And there’s anger. And you know, the Lord is saying the same thing to us as a church, not just here at Central, but those who are watching, that if we’re going to take advantage of Christ’s body, His blood, His sacrifice, we need to first humble ourselves, put aside our differences, be reconciled, be content to be servants and not be clamoring for who’s better than who. Right? And when we have that mind of Christ, where we are willing to come and to serve, then the cleansing of the Lord’s Supper really takes effect. It really takes root. That’s why it’s so important not to subtract the foot washing from the communion service and from the Lord’s Supper. Back to our study. So then they did this and then after they were clean they began to have the meal. Now the whole purpose of the Lord’s Supper is designed to help us remember what Jesus was about to do. You notice when He washed their feet He said, “Right now you don’t know what this means, but you will know.”

They still did not comprehend. He said, “I’ve got many things to say to you, but you can’t bear it.” He told them several times, “I’m on my way to Jerusalem. I’ll be betrayed into the hands of the Gentiles, or into the chief priests, who will turn me over to the Gentiles. They’ll crucify me. I’ll rise the third day.” And it just kept going in one ear and out the other. They just didn’t get it. So now at the dinner He’s wanting to tell them in more detail what’s going to happen. They just can’t handle it. And what He did tell them filled them with sorrow. They could see a great burden of solemness was on Him, that was crushing Him, that He did not have before. He said, “This service is to help you remember.” This dinner was to help consecrate. It was an announcement that He was going to sacrifice for them and would rise again. You know sometimes, young men, when they’re going to propose to a young lady, will wait for an opportune time. And he may do the proposal personally, but the announcement is often made at the dinner. Weddings are often associated with a reception, a dinner. And so these covenants were in the context of this dinner. Why do we continue to celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Because we are prone to forget. Does it hurt when you are forgotten? That depends on who it is that forgets you.

I heard about some grandchildren that went to visit Grandpa and Grandpa was getting pretty old and he was struggling with his memory. And it had gotten very severe. And they went knocking at his door one day and he opened and he looked through the screen door and said, “Go away. I don’t know who you are.” And they tried to identify themselves, but he just didn’t recognize them and he shut the door and those little grandkids went home devastated because they had been to Grandpa’s house many, many times. Don’t you think that hurt? How do you think the soldier feels when he has to go off to war, he’s got this two-year old that’s calling him, “Daddy”? Comes back, the child runs afraid, doesn’t know who he is. To be forgotten by your own child. Wouldn’t that hurt? Sometimes it hurts if your spouse forgets your birthday or anniversary. Don’t you think the Lord is hurt when we forget that He’s our Creator? For one thing, that He made us. I mean, that we forget the one that made us. How can you forget the one who creates you? I mean, that’s why you’re here every day. And you forget the one who sustains you.

He provides for all your needs. And then to forget the one who died to save you, your Redeemer. And yet, in spite of the fact that God is our Creator, our Sustainer, our Redeemer, we tend to forget Him all day long. And it hurts Him. The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remind us. Humans have this chronic problem of forgetting. That’s why the Sabbath is so important. Every week, remember the Sabbath. Why? Because we forget. We come together to worship God and remember He is our Creator. Doesn’t the Sabbath involve that? “For in six days He created.” He is our Sustainer. And He recreates us, He is our Redeemer. And so, part of this was all about remembering. Someone said that memory is synonymous with intelligence. Those that cannot remember usually are not very bright. Because you learn based on memory. Those who don’t remember God, spiritually sometimes have a spiritual low IQ.

We need to remember God. Tennessee Williams said, “Life, all of life is memory except for one present moment that goes by so quickly you can hardly catch it going. Everything else is the past.” And that’s why it’s so important that we remember the Lord. I remember hearing a touching story that after; how many of you remember an entertainer named Jack Benny? The ultimate cheapskate. Half this generation here doesn’t know who I’m talk king about. For those of you who remember, Jack Benny was always dressed very nice when he had his shows. He claimed to be a penny pincher, but he wasn’t that way at all. When he died, the day after his death, his wife Mary, his widow, someone knocked at the door and presented her with a single, perfect, long-stemmed, red rose. She didn’t know what it meant. No card. She said, “Thank you,” and he walked away. He said, “I’ve been asked to deliver this.”

It happened again the next day, and then the next day. Finally, she went down to the florist and she said, “What’s all this about?” And she said, “Well, Jack told us one day after coming in to buy you flowers for some occasion. He said, ‘I may not always be around, but I want to tell you that after I’m gone I want you to bring one perfect rose to Mary every day for the rest of her life.’” He actually made a provision in his will that an account was established to give her a perfect rose every day for the rest of her life.

…so that he never forgot about her. Isn’t that nice? Oh boy, some of you girls are going, “Ahhh.” But think about it, Jesus is doing that for us, isn’t He? He’s wanting us to daily remember His sacrifice for us. Now as they began to eat the meal, there are several things there. First of all, there’s a lamb. And I’m going to go through these quickly because I think you understand that. In the Passover meal there’s the lamb. They sacrificed a lamb. Doesn’t often mention it specifically, but it says they’re preparing the Passover; the centerpiece of the Passover meal was a lamb that they shared together as the meal. That lamb was roasted. None of its bones were broken. It was a type of Christ, that lamb that had died to take away the sin of the world. Of course, John 21:9, Jesus is the Lamb. John pointed and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world.” John 13:2, this was after supper, after the preparation was complete, then they ate the supper. In the context of the Passover Supper there was also bread, unleavened bread that they ate during the whole time of the Passover, the week of Unleavened Bread. And so this was done after the foot washing. I Corinthians 5:7, “Purge out, therefore, the old leaven that you might be a new lump as you are unleavened.” Leaven was a symbol for sin.

“For even Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.” So who is our Passover Lamb? Jesus is the Lamb. Then what else did they have there as an emblem at the dinner? They had the bread next. Now there are some churches that celebrate communion every week. I remember when I used to visit the Church of Christ. I’ve actually preached in the Church of Christ before. They would have their communion service every week. And the Catholic Church, when they have a mass, it’s different. The priest; the whole Protestant Reformation actually broke; the Protestant Reformation, the split was largely based on transubstantiation. The understanding of what happens, the bread and the grape juice, are they simply symbols, or does the priest actually have the power to convert these, this matter into the actual body and blood of Jesus? The Catholic Church said “Yes, the priest is converting it into the actual body and blood of Jesus.” And the Protestants said, “Absolutely not.” First of all, man doesn’t have the power to create God. Secondly, we know it’s only a symbol because when the first Passover, first Lord’s Supper took place, Jesus was sitting right there 100% of Him. How could it be that when He said, “This is my body and this is my blood,” His blood was still in His body and His body was still there? It was obviously a symbol.

So understanding the purpose of the Lord's Supper. If you ever think it's just a ceremony and it doesn't matter, you have no idea how many people died because of this service, to defend it. I can't believe it. I heard one of my favorite radio preachers say, it doesn't matter whether its hamburgers and Coca-Cola. It’s just a symbol. I was shocked that people don't understand how important this event was. I think we ought to defend the ceremony of baptism as something sacred, the meaning of it. The way it's done must be protected and defended. Likewise, the Lord's Supper. And then you have the bread. What does that represent? The word of God, the body of Christ. Jesus said Matthew 4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” When Jesus said, “Except you eat my flesh and drink my blood.” He's not telling us about cannibalism, but we need Christ in us. Amen? And furthermore, Jesus said, “I am the bread they came down from heaven. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never hunger. He who believes in me will never thirst.” I always thought it was significant that Jesus was born, Jesus the bread of life, was born in Bethlehem, which means House of bread. Then He was placed in a manger, which is a place that grain was put. I mean, everything about it, is, He is the bread of life, the living man. Luke 24, how did they recognize Jesus after the resurrection? Didn't know Him going down the road to Emmaus until He broke bread. It says He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Christ is that bread. Say amen if this makes sense to you. Then the next symbol, you've got the Lamb, you've got the bread, you've got what's next? The wine or the grape juice. It was new wine, unfermented. Very important.

I've seen some services where the pastor or the priest get tipsy because they're drinking this stuff a couple times for a few services during the day. It was unleavened bread. Leavening was a sign of fermentation. It was representing the perfect life of Christ. In the same way, the grape juice was to be new wine, unfermented. Don't forget, Jesus said, “I will not drink of this again until I do it with you new in the Father's kingdom.” “I'm going to drink new wine.” The Gospel’s compared to what? The old wine or new wine? New wine. I personally think that it is blasphemous and sacrilegious to suggest that the grape juice used at the Lord's Supper should be alcoholic. It's the antithesis of what it's supposed to represent. By the way, that's why Welch’s came into business. They were developing a new method for preserving the grape juice. Somebody said one time, “if you cut the Bible anywhere, it will bleed.” The Bible is filled with the subject of blood. From Genesis to Revelation it talks about blood. It's because it represents the blood of Christ that washes away the sin of the world. Over 427 times the Bible talks about blood. Because it is through the blood, the power of the blood, that we are cleansed from our sins. Now there's another point that I don't want to miss when we talk about this.

Many churches, when they participate in the communion service, the Lord's Supper, they read these words in I Corinthians 11. You might turn there. “Wherefore, whoever eats this bread and drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner of the guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself and let him so eat the bread and drink cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason, many are sick among you, and many sleep.” It is so serious. When He says sleep there, He means they're dead. It is so serious to not understand sacredness of this service. That's why I'm giving you a whole two weeks to think about it. That it can be lethal, if nothing else make you sick. Why is that? Can you find a time in the Bible when two priests did not understand sacredness of the altar and fire came down from heaven and burned them up? When they brought common fire into the altar, Hophni and Phinneas were killed by it. Uzzah, good man, Uzzah was a good man, but he forgot the sacredness of the arc. He reached out and touched it. What happened to him? [snap] Died. And for us to participate in the Lord's Supper and be indifferent or lackadaisical, do not respect how important it is, is a very serious matter with God. It can bring illness and death. And conversely, to understand it can invigorate a church. A church that really understands the ceremony can pave the way for the baptism of the Spirit in their lives. To eat or drink in an unworthy manner also means to participate and not be willing to really ask God to cleanse you from your sins. To do it, just as a ritual to satisfy those around you, don't do it. Do it because you really want to experience sacrifice and His cleansing that He offers and be willing to forgive others. Say amen. Thank you very much for at least a couple of amens. Then Jesus said some things that were very disturbing.

Mark 14:27, He talked about being forsaken, and later, betrayed. First let’s talk about the forsaken. This is why there were no other guests there. “All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night. For it is written, I will strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” Of course, verse 29, you jump down, Peter says to Him, “What? Us be offended, forsake you? Never! Even if all are made to stumble I’ll not stumble. Jesus said, Peter, assuredly I say to you, even this night, before the rooster crows twice you’ll deny me three times. But he spoke more vehemently, “I will die with you. I’ll not deny you.” And he meant it, but he didn’t know his own heart. And he did not spend the time in prayer that he should have. He was sleeping. Not just Peter. It says, “Likewise, they all said the same thing.” Jesus said, “You’ll all forsake me tonight.” That broke their hearts. But then it got a little more severe. Luke 22:31, speaking about this forsaking. “Jesus said, Simon Simon, indeed Satan has asked you, has asked for you that he might sift you as wheat.” “Satan asked for you.” Do you know there’s a battle over your soul between Christ and Satan? Have you read the book of Job? God is speaking up for Job and Satan is speaking against him. And they are wrestling over his soul. The devil is trying to make Job one of his agents, to curse God and die. And God is sustaining Job, to bless him no matter what happens. In the same way, Satan wanted to do that with Peter. And Satan and his minions want to do that with each person here. There’s a battle for your soul. The good news is Jesus said, “I prayed for you that your faith should not fail.” How does the Devil get a hold of us? If our faith fails. “And when you’ve returned to me.” You know what that means? Jesus knew that Peter would backslide and deny Him, but he repented. “When you’ve returned to me, strengthen your brethren,” encourage them. He said, “Lord, I’m ready to go with you both to prison and death.”

He meant it; he just didn’t know his own heart. He said, “Peter, the rooster won’t crow this day before you deny me three times that you know me.” And then it got more severe still. Betrayal. John 13:18, Jesus said, “I speak not of all of you, for I know whom I have chosen. But that the scripture might be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.” At that very evening, during the Passover meal, Judas who ate bread with Jesus, as the prophecy said in the Old Testament, was going to betray Him, not just forsake Him. I mean, it's one thing if a husband neglects his wife or abandons his wife. It hurts even more if he commits adultery. What the disciples did hurt. What Judas did hurt more. Matthew 26:21, “And as they ate He said, Verily, I say to you, one of you betray me tonight. And they were exceedingly sorrowful and began every one of them to say, Lord, is it I?” I mean, now you notice that their hearts have been humbled a little bit. And they think, “Maybe I am capable of this. Is this prophecy is never fail.” And so they go around the circle, starting with John, who loves the Lord. He's not only at Jesus’ side because he wants the position, John really loved Jesus. And the Lord knew that. He wanted to be with Him. And John says, “Lord, is it I?” And I don't know how Christ responded, but as they made their way around the circle they said, “Is it I? Is it I? ? Is it I?” And you'll see a lot of the paintings, matter of fact, I think they've got one that's up there right now, where you can see by their posture they're all going, “Is it I? Is it I? ? Is it I?” And they were absolutely amazed, mystified by this statement that they would betray Him to the enemies. They knew that Jesus had enemies that wanted to kill Him in Jerusalem. Matter of fact, that's why Thomas said; after Lazarus was healed is when they went up to the Passover. Thomas said, “Well we may as well go with Him and die.” They knew they were gunning for Him.

They had what you call a contract out for Jesus. And so, He says, one of you is going to turn me over to them. They knew what would happen. And gradually everyone said, “Is it I?” Except Judas. Pretty soon they all start looking at Judas like, “Aren’t you going to ask the question?” And Judas says, “Lord, is it I?” And Jesus said, “Thou hast said.” In our language it would be like, “You said it.” “Out of your own mouth.” And then after this event John leans over and he just wants to know if he understands. And he says to Jesus, perhaps other conversations are taking place. He said, “Who is it Lord?” And Jesus revealed to John, they had a close relationship. He said, “It’s the one to whom I give this piece of bread after I've dipped it in the sauce.” They used to have a sauce with bitter herbs during the Passover. He dips the unleavened bread, and He hands it to Judas. Judas, now realizing he's been exposed, at least to John, he gets up and Jesus says, “What you do, do quickly.” And I think it's significant that the Bible says, “he went out, and it was night.”

Satan entered him, he went out, and it was night. You notice there are two groups here in this story. One goes into outer darkness without the Spirit of God, having betrayed Christ. The others surrender to Christ. They are cleansed and they are with Him in the feast. This describes ultimately, the two groups there will be. There are only two kinds of people when Jesus comes back. Those who will ultimately deny Christ, forsake Christ, and end up in outer darkness. And then there are those who are cleansed by Christ. They take advantage of the Lamb, the blood, and the body. Isn't that right? And after He institutes this covenant with them, I believe they sealed it with prayer and then they sang a hymn together. This is always interesting to me because it's the only time in the Bible where it says Jesus sang. I'd like to have heard His voice. Wouldn’t you? How many of you think that Jesus had a beautiful voice? I do. I think Jesus had a beautiful voice. And I think it was probably Mary's delight to listen to Him sing as a little child as He grew up. I would like to know what Psalm they sang.

We don't know. There was a variety they could choose from during the Passover, but one of the Psalms of David that they sang together. And then they went out towards the Garden of Gethsemane. Which will be our study next week. But I'd like to ask you before we sing our closing song, which is by the way, Tell Me the Story of Jesus. The Passover is really a microcosm of the whole story of Jesus, why He came. It's the culmination of what His life's all about. What number is that, Tell Me the Story of Jesus? 152, go ahead and find that in your hymnals, 152. I want you to stand please and I want to ask you as you sing about the life of Jesus, and what the meaning was at this supper. I want you to think about that He wants you to be at that marriage feast with Him. He said, “I won't eat it again until I eat it with you in the Father's kingdom.” Every time we celebrate the Lord's Supper He's telling us about that day. And be praying as we prepare for our communion that is approaching. I have another appeal for you, but let's sing first verse one.

[verse]

If I was asked to summarize what happened at the Last Supper there, the burden on the heart of Jesus was for their surrender and cleansing, that they would humble themselves to each other and to Him and be willing to be cleansed. Eleven of them did this, one did not. Everybody needs to make that choice. Will we surrender our lives to the Lord, will we embrace Jesus is our Lamb? Will we embrace His word, to guide our lives? Will we partake of His blood for our cleansing? Will we allow Him to continually cleanse our walk, as the foot washing implies? Is that your prayer, friends, your desire, that you might really embrace the Gospel and ask for His Spirit? Let's sing verse two.

[verse]

Before we sing the last verse, we would like to close our service today something like we did last week. To begin with, I'd like to invite any elders here that might be available to come forward and be here to pray with those who may have special needs. We're going to close our service with prayer. We want this to be a house of prayer. Even those of you who are in the balcony, after the service you may have some special need or prayer. Sometimes the logistics of going down, you may think it's awkward to come in, but don't hesitate. If something’s on your heart, there's power in corporate prayer. Jesus, I think does more when two or three agree together in prayer. Amen? That's what His words says. You have a burden on your heart, it may be a prayer that God’ll help you to remember Him; you've been forgetting the Lord. That you might renew the covenant that He made.

We'll have opportunity to seal that with our communion service in about 10 days. And come to the front. Elders, come. Some of you may want to come with your spouses. It'd be nice if there were also some ladies here that are available to pray with those who have needs. If you have special needs, you'd like to come to the front, then we'll have prayer together. If you don't, we'd like you to, after our closing benediction, take conversations out into the foyer or courtyard. I think I see pleasant weather outside. And this is going to be a house of prayer. Amen? I'll be there to greet you after the service, but those who have needs; our elders are here to pray with you. Let’s sing our last verse together, 152.

[verse]

There is a legend, the David when he had Hiram build his palace, asked him to build a chamber called a chamber of memories. And nobody was ever allowed to go into his chamber of memories, but David went there every day. Finally, after his death some of the servants of David has the courage to unlock the door and go into David's chamber of memories. And in there was nothing but a shepherd's coat and a staff. And he used to go in, every day and remember what God had saved him from. And God wants us to remember what He has saved us from. Amen? Let's not forget. Let's pray together and then those of you who would like to abide, if you have special requests, I'll ask our elders to simply raise their hands. You can gather about them and they'll be your advocates. Let's pray.

Father in heaven, thank you. It seems so insignificant just to say thank you. The human language is not adequate for us to express their gratitude that we feel and that which we should feel for what you've been willing to do for us, what you‘ve done already, Lord. Your incredible patience is incomprehensible. How you bear with us so long. We ask Lord, for forgiveness. Again, we would like to take advantage of the sacrifice. You yearn to have us exploit your sacrifice. And Lord, help us to do that today, to apply Jesus as our Lamb, to eat His flesh and drink His blood, to accept His forgiveness. Help this to be a church that will be willing to, in a worthy manner, embrace salvation, to recognize how sacred it is. Lord, we’re asking for the baptism of your spirit in our lives, and on this church. This is a month where we are, we're taking you at your word.

We're wanting to see miracles in our midst as a result of prayer. And even now, at the conclusion of this service, we're going to linger, many of us with special requests for prayer. Answer these prayers, Lord. You promise, if we humble ourselves and seek your face, and turn from our wicked ways that you will hear in heaven. Do it again, Lord. I pray that you'll pour out your Spirit and this church might be a light in this community and around the world of what you want to do in your people as individuals. Make us holy through Christ. Empower us to work for Him. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

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The Second Coming: Are You Ready? by Jim Pinkoski

The Second Coming: Are You Ready? by Jim Pinkoski
God's Promises




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