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The Lord's Supper

Please turn with me to Exodus 12:5-8 where we see God’s instructions concerning the Passover.

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. ‘Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. ‘And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. ‘Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”

Because the Lord Jesus is Emmanuel (or God with us) it would be reasonable to assume that the elements of the Lord’s Supper were decided upon in eternity past.

However, because we are human, and because Jesus is a real man as well as God, I would like to look at this whole situation from a very human perspective.

As Jesus looked at the remnants of the Passover feast, He would have seen a bit of roasted lamb, the remainder of the unleavened bread, and bitter herbs, along with the wine they had been drinking.

He knew it was time to establish a memorial that would bind the church together, and to Himself, down through the ages.

There were four items on the table from which He would choose two.

Yes, as they were eating, Matthew 26:26-28 tells us ---Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.  "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

It’s not hard to imagine why Jesus would choose the wine as an appropriate symbol of His shed blood.

Unlike water, wine is a living substance.

Living grapes had to be pulled from the vine and crushed in the wine press to produce it.

And the very fact that there is life in this beverage is very important.

If we look in the book of Leviticus, we will find that blood had a special significance in God’s eyes, and for the same reason.

Leviticus 17:10-11 “And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. (And then, here is the reason for this prohibition.)  ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

And so, in the remembrance feast, the fruit of the vine, which has been obtained by the crushing of living grapes, is a very fitting symbol of Jesus’ shed blood.

Submitting His body to the wrath of man, He was “wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

But in the crushing winepress of God’s righteous judgment for our sins, His very lifeblood was poured out to make atonement for our souls.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And then, of course, there was the Passover lamb to be considered.

Wouldn’t it be an appropriate symbol to include in the remembrance feast?

After all, at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, John identified Him as---“The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

But for reasons that we cannot question, Jesus did not choose the lamb.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next item that might seem appropriate would be the bitter herbs.

They had been included in the Passover feast to remind Israel of their bitter servitude in Egypt that God had delivered them from.

And hasn’t the Lord Jesus delivered us from the slavery of sin?

And wouldn’t these bitter herbs be a fitting reminder of the bitter anguish the Lord endured in the garden, or His agonizing cry---“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

But passing over this symbol of bitter recollection, Jesus chose another item.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Picking up the unleavened bread from the table, He blessed and broke it, and handing it to His disciples, He said---"Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

And even now, as we partake of the bread, we are reminded of His broken body.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

However, just as the Old Testament priests were to be feeding on a portion of the sacrifices, so we need to be feeding on the Bread of Life on a daily basis.

Physically speaking, God has given our bodies the wondrous ability to assimilate what we eat.

The oatmeal porridge and poached egg we ate for breakfast will be miraculously transformed and become a part of our bodies.

But when we feed upon the Lord Jesus, there is a spiritual process that I can only describe as reverse assimilation.

No, Jesus is not assimilated into us, but we are assimilated into Him.

Under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, as we meditate upon the Lord Jesus, we are molded into His image.

And as Romans 8:29 tells us, that is God’s program for every Christian---“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Certainly, we will never cease to rejoice in our Lord Jesus.

The One in whom the Father is well pleased will surely occupy our hearts throughout eternity.

But in the meantime, the bread will remind us of God’s Son Who---“bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”

And the fruit of the vine will remind us of the precious blood that was poured out for our redemption.



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