Why We Eat and Drink the Lord’s Supper

Things happen to make you totter. But there are things to keep you from tottering over. And this is why Luke wrote Luke’s gospel. The things which happen to make you totter can be anything, anything that brings you to your knees, lowers your face into your hands and squeezes out of your voice a why to God. The things which happen to make you totter can be anything, anything that brings you to stand on your two feet, lifts your face to the sky, raises clinched fists high and squeezes out of your voice a why to God. But there are things which are to keep you from tottering over, things described as “things accomplished” (Luke 1:1). These things accomplished are things God has accomplished and is accomplishing in and through the work and person of Jesus Christ. And this is why Luke wrote Luke’s gospel.

Something I keep holding, pondering, is that Luke wrote regarding all these things out of his heart, out of his affection for his friend most excellent Theophilus (Luke 1:3).

We have spent the Christmas season listening to the four songs of Christmas – Mary’s song; Zechariah’s song; the song of all the angels of heaven; and Simeon’s song. And it just so happens that those four songs are all found in Luke 1 and Luke 2. So we spent all of December in Luke 1 and Luke 2. And now we have a new month and a new year, and I am thinking, why stop? I think it will take just the next several months, maybe all of the months of 2019, but starting next week I would like us to pick up with Luke 2:36 that we might keep listening, week after week, to Luke’s gospel. And the reason is that there are things which happen to make us totter. But there are things which are to keep us from tottering over.

Why We Eat and Drink the Lord’s Supper

And so on this Sunday, the first Sunday of the year, but also the first Sunday of the month, in a few moments we will come to the Lord’s table together to eat and to drink the Lord’s Supper. And to prepare together to eat and to drink the Lord’s Supper we will listen to Luke 22:1-23. As we get ready to do this together, I want us to think about why we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper.

Immediately coming to mind may be something Jesus himself said about eating the bread and drinking the cup. It is something, too, that Luke recorded Jesus saying in Luke 22:19. “Do this in remembrance of me.” And so it is helpful to then ask, what is there to remember?

This command is something Paul emphasized twice when he taught about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25. “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.” 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.”” How important is this remembering? Listen to the connection Paul makes for us. This is the next immediate verse, 1 Corinthians 11:26. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” So this remembering is remembering Jesus and this remembering proclaims the Lord’s death, the cross and the resurrection and all that Jesus accomplished at the cross and in his resurrection – and I love these next few words – until he comes.

We are to eat and drink the Lord’s Supper until he comes! He is coming and so we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper! A pastor commenting on these verses said that remembering is so that we proclaim and the proclaiming helps us to remember. And so this helps us understand why we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper. But I think there is more and there is more because the Lord’s Supper is so vitally important to the life of a local church.

And we keep in mind why Luke wrote Luke 22. It is the same reason he wrote Luke 1 and Luke 2 and Luke 23, all of Luke’s gospel. Luke wrote Luke 22 because there are things which happen to make us totter. But there are things which are to keep us from tottering over. And when Luke writes about the Lord’s Supper and we hear Jesus demand that we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper remembering him we ask, what is there to remember? We are to remember what Jesus did and what Jesus said. And what Jesus did and what Jesus said are things which are to keep us from tottering over. This is why eat and drink the Lord’s Supper.

So What Did Jesus Do?

Notice Luke 22:14. “And when the hour came.” I thought it really interesting how this whole chapter develops. Listen to Luke 22:1. “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.” The chapter begins looking forward to the start of a feast, a feast that would last for days. It was a feast about remembering what God had done to rescue Israel out of slavery and bondage and oppression in Egypt. It was a feast about remembering that God heard their cries for salvation. Then listen to Luke 22:7. “Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” And so begins the high point of this celebration – eating a meal together. And listen again further to Luke 22:14. “And when the hour came, he [Jesus] reclined at table, and the apostles with him.”  Now get ready for verse fifteen. “And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” The sense in this verse is that Jesus was eager with so much eagerness to eat this meal with the disciples.

But I really want to focus on those first words of verse fourteen – “And when the hour came.” Why is Jesus so eager to eat this meal with these disciples before he suffered? I think this is it: This was the hour – a critical moment in salvation history when Jesus would reveal his heart. How so?

Highlight those words – “And when the hour came.” The Gospel of John calls this hour “his hour” (John 13:1). John 13 and John 14 and John 15 and John 16 and John 17 all take place in the same hour, the same critical moment as Luke 22:14-23. And in this hour or his hour, how did Jesus reveal his heart? Listen to John 13:1. “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” How did Jesus reveal his heart? He loved them to the end. Who did Jesus love to the end? And we need to ask this too – how did Jesus love to the end?

Listen to John 13:2. “During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him…” This is very similar language to Luke 22:3. Now listen to John 13:4-5. “[Jesus] rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” What did Jesus do? How did he reveal his heart? How did he love to the very end? He washed the feet of Judas Iscariot. He washed the feet of the one who would betray him. He washed the feet of the one he knew would betray him! Why did Jesus do that? He did it so that we would eat and drink the Lord’s Supper with the very same heart! And I think that this meal, too, reveals our hearts.

Listen to John 13:15. “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” Look at John 13:21, just to get a better glimpse of the heart of Jesus in view of the Lord’s Supper. “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”” And listen to this: Jesus was demonstrating a remarkable truth. On the eve of the cross, just a few hours before the nails would go into his body, Jesus’ soul was troubled, not for himself, but for another. And not just anyone, but for the one who was going to deliver him to death!

So, notice what Jesus does next. The disciples are really curious. Who is it? Who will betray you? And Jesus answered. ““It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot” (John 13:26). This action was “a rich, symbolic custom and a powerful appeal. It was a gesture of honor and friendship” (cf. Ruth 2:14). It was like Jesus was saying to Judas Iscariot, “Judas, here is my friendship. It’s not too late.”

Jesus loved an enemy, a sinner, an ungodly man. Judas, although he took the morsel, rejected the grace of Jesus and went to do what his heart was set on doing. After he leaves, Jesus gives this directive: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). And so I am facing this question in why I eat and drink the Lord’s Supper – is there anyone whose feet I need to wash? Is this the extent to which I go to love others? It is all a part of this meal.

And What Did Jesus Say?

Listen to Luke 22:16. “For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Notice that word fulfilled. Jesus will talk about the cup in the same manner. He will not drink of it until the kingdom of God comes. But I have never noticed, maybe never appreciated, Luke 22:16. Jesus will eat and drink this Supper, but not until this Supper is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. We eat and drink the Lord’s Supper looking forward to this Supper being fulfilled. But what is there to be fulfilled?

Listen to this song. It is Revelation 5:9-10. “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”” I think this it, the fulfilling of this meal is a ransomed people, a rescued people from the slavery and bondage and oppression of all kinds of sin, people from every language and people and nation becoming this kingdom, a holy nation, a royal priesthood.

Looking to the fulfilling of this kingdom sets our hearts then to love people from every tribe and language and people and nation. It sets our hearts to spread the name of Jesus Christ and his work and who he is, the fragrance of who he is everywhere we go. And how do we do that? We proclaim the good news, the gospel and live it! And I would say living the gospel is even extended to loving people like Judas.

I mentioned several weeks ago from 1 Corinthians 11, that how we value one another shows how we value the Lord’s Supper. And I hope you and I see together how deep this really goes.

Why we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper matters to the vitality of Calvary Community Church.

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