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The Passover, the Lord’s Supper and Easter   Leave a comment

 

 

Lord's Supper

The downcast disciples on the road of Damascus had a sad remembrance of Jesus. They said: He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…” Luke 24:19

This is not how Jesus wanted His disciples to remember Him so He explained to them what the scriptures told about the Messiah. It was only after Jesus shared bread with them that they recognised Him.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30

These disciples quickly forgot what Jesus taught.Jesus said “Remember, what I told you” Luke 24:24.What do you remember of Jesus? What can you say about Him?

The angels said to the women who came to Jesus’s tomb:

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24:4

John the Baptist said of Him : Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

When Jesus asked who people said He was, Peter said: But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Mat 16:15

John described Jesus as the Word of God made flesh and each disciples remembered Jesus in a particular way.

The Lord’s Supper was an ordinance that helped the disciples of Damascus to remember Jesus. It remembered them who Jesus was and what He did. Jesus wanted His disciples to remember His death on the cross and return.

Why an ordinance?

In the past, God appointed 3 national festivals among the Jews to make them remember of extraordinary things He accomplished. Man easily forgets so it was important to establish such things as feasts to keep it a practice from generation to generation. When children asked their parents about the raison-d’être of these feasts(Ex. 12:26,13:8), it was the opportunity for parents to pass on to them what the Lord did in the past for their ancestors.

“God, out of his great wisdom,” says Calmet, “appointed several festivals among the Jews for many reasons:

  1. To perpetuate the memory of those great events, and the wonders he had wrought for the people; for example, the Sabbath brought to remembrance the creation of the world; the Passover, the departure out of Egypt; the Pentecost, the giving of the law; the feast of Tabernacles, the sojourning of their fathers in the wilderness, etc.
  2. To keep them faithful to their religion by appropriate ceremonies, and the splendor of Divine service.
  3. To procure them lawful pleasures, and necessary rest.
  4. To give them instruction; for in their religious assemblies the law of God was always read and explained.

No matter their differences or from which tribe of Israel they were, all came together to celebrate in family these feasts. This is still true among different Christian denominations. Despite their differences, most if not all celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The slavery in Egypt reminded of the privation of liberty, suffering in the body and service of a foreign ruler. The freedom from sin brought by Christ is analogous to the deliverance of the miserable life of Egypt.

It is worthy to note that it was the community(including children) which sacrificed the lamb and it was not specifically destined for the priests alone(Ex. 12:6). This remembers us that Christ was killed by the community.  The Passover reminded the Jews of the miracle God did to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. The Lord literately passed over houses without killing the first-born of the Israelites. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the paschal lamb ceased to be offered by the Jews throughout the world even though they kept the remembrance. No more sacrifice was to be made and the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was instituted to keep this true paschal sacrifice in commemoration.

Paul said:”Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.So let us celebrate the festival” 1 Cor. 5:7

The Lord gave one New Command:Love one another as it sums up the laws and the prophets(Mat. 22:40).

He gave one new ordinance: The Lord’s Supper Luke 22.

He also gave one mission: Go and preach to the whole world(Mat. 28)

The Lord’s Supper reminds why Christ has come and what He did. This is an ordinance that shall perpetually continue until Christ’s coming.

Paul said:  “This is my body, which is given for you.Do this in remembrance of me…For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.” 1 Cor 11:23-26

In Luke 22, Jesus said: ““I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:15

On the day of Passover, Jesus wanted the disciples to remember Him in a special way. He was going to be the long foretold Passover Lamb and it was His day. This is what Jesus wanted His disciples to remember:

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you

Easter has nothing to do with Passover, it is a pagan festival which in no way points to Christ as the sacrificial Lamb. Easter remembers of eggs, chocolates or rabbits and takes Christ off the stage. The Lord’s Supper however was a solemn moment where Jesus’s disciples shared in a dinner with their to-be Savior.

I have heard many preachers portray Jesus as a martyr who suffered much. What rendered the sacrifice of Jesus acceptable to God was not as such His suffering but who He was. Jesus said  You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life. ” John 5:39

It was not just anyone who went on that Cross. Jesus’s name is God’s Word(Rev 19:13). He is God with Us(Emmanuel), the Son of God and Son of Man. He is the one foretold who will crush the serpent’s head.He is the promised posterity of Abraham(Gal. 3:16) and the promised descendant of David who will be King forever. He is also the High Priest of the tabernacle in heaven. Theologically, there’re so many things to say and remember about Jesus. However, when we think about what Jesus said in His last supper, we REMEMBER the crux of His Mission and the very essence of His person.

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” Luke 22:19

 

 

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Posted April 15, 2017 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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