Tag Archives: sacraments

The Passover Meal

If you know me, you know I love to eat. I always say, “If I’m not eating, I’m thinking about eating.” So it should come as no surprise that I have a particular interest in the Last Supper. It was Thursday night as Jesus and the disciples sat around a table sharing what would be their last meal together. If you’ve been in church any amount of time, you’ve no doubt experienced a service where this meal was celebrated.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 26:26-28 that Jesus broke the unleavened bread and blessed it. He gave it to the disciples and said, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” Then he took the cup of wine and gave thanks for it. He then gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people.”

The traditional meal at Passover has several parts to it, but Jesus called out these two particular parts on purpose. The unleavened bread was to remind the people how quickly they fled Egypt. They made bread, but didn’t have time to add yeast (leaven) to make the dough rise. It was a symbol that they had been released from bondage. Let’s think about that for a second.

Jesus just said that the bread was His body. His body was broken so that you and I could be set free from our bondage. Sin is something that binds each of us and makes us a slave to it. We are born into that bondage. Jesus is telling us that we don’t have to be bound to it any more. Because of His death on the cross we can be released from that bondage and set free. When we accept His death on the cross as payment for our sins, we cease to be slaves and become sons and daughters of the King. Heirs to all that is His.

After eating the unleavened bread, Jesus took a glass of wine, blessed it and passed it around. Again, wine was traditional for this meal. In fact, there were four glasses of wine used at this meal. They represented the four promises (covenants) of God given to Moses regarding His people. The four promises found in Exodus 6:6-7 are: I will bring you out of Egypt (sin), I will free you (from its bondage), I will redeem you (pay for your sins) and I will take you as my own people (make you a child of the King).

What I found interesting was in Luke 20:22. It says, “After supper He took another cup of wine and said, “This cup (fifth) is the new covenant (promise) between God and His people – an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. (NLT)” Jesus fulfilled each of the four promises given to Moses and now He, as God, was making a new covenant with His people. He was sacrificing Himself once and for all for our sins and to tear down the wall that existed between God and man.

God was not content to leave us bound in our sin and separated from Him. He loves us too much to do that. He was willing to sacrifice what was most precious to Him in order that you and I could be made right with Him. He not only wanted to bring us out of sin, free us from its bondage, pay for our sins and make us His children; He wanted to enter into a new relationship where we didn’t need a mediator anymore. He wanted to talk with each one of us without having to go through someone else. He wanted a relationship with you and still does.

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Christmas Eve Communion

One of my favorite traditions at Christmas is going to a candle light communion service. At a time when we are celebrating the birth of Christ, it’s a good reminder of why He was born. At the last supper, Jesus said, “As often as you do this (communion), do this in remembrance of me.” So in celebration if His birth, we take time to remember His death. Yes, His birth was important. I’ll talk about it tomorrow. Today, however, I want to focus on why He came.

It wasn’t just enough that He was born and took on flesh and blood. In order to be the advocate we need Him to be, He had to see what it was like living here confined to a body, time and space. It was something He had never experienced. While God created all three, they existed in Him, not He in them. Knowing what it’s like to have a schedule, a job, deadlines, dealing with customers and being tempted as we are we’re all part of His plan. Don’t forget He was a carpenter which meant He dealt with all the above.

He needed to know how strong temptation is for you and I so He could give us strength to overcome it and to provide a way out of it. He dealt with anger, frustration and needy people. He knew what it was like to have a family. We don’t know what happened to Joseph since he isn’t mentioned beyond Jesus’ 12th year. It’s possible He knows what it’s like to lose a parent and to be raised by a single mom. He understands those struggles.

He knows what it’s like to be falsely accused. He had a close friend stab Him in the back and betray Him. He knows what it is to have people lie about Him and then send Him to jail. He knows what it is like to be in court and to go before a judge. He knows what it’s like to be beaten, whipped, slapped and punched. He knows what it feels like to have the weight of the world on His shoulders. He even knows what it is like to face death.

I love what Hebrews 4:15 says about Jesus. It says, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. (NLT)” In wrapping Himself in flesh and blood, He also wrapped Himself in our pains, our sufferings, our fears, our joys and our temptations so that He could be our advocate to the Father. He understands what you are going through today and was able to make it through each of these situations.

So on Christmas Eve, I choose to remember all of these things in His life as I celebrate His death on the cross. I take time to remember that it wasn’t His birth that saved me. It was His death on the cross and resurrection three days later. Without living a sinless life and dying on the cross, I would still be lost and in sin. Tomorrow I will remember and celebrate His birth, but today, I remember His life, death and resurrection in order to be my advocate.


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