A Messiah's Memorial
Text: Matt. 26:17-30
1. Illustration: A few years ago, Tina and I visited a memorial that said, "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
2. We all want to have memorials, things that people will cause people to remember us after we're gone.
3. Jesus set up...
a. A memorial of Planning
b. A memorial of Examining
c. A memorial that is Living
4. Let's stand as we read together Matt. 26:17-30
Proposition: The Lord's Supper is a memorial that ought to change our lives.
Transition: First, the Lord's Supper is...
I. A Memorial of Planning (17-19).
A. My Time Has Come
1. As Holy Week progressed Jesus made plans to lead into the fulfillment of His mission, which was to go to the cross.
2. Matthew tells us, "On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
a. By this period “the Feast of Unleavened Bread,” which immediately followed Passover in the Bible, had been extended in popular language to include the Passover itself.
b. Representatives from each family would “prepare the Passover” (i.e., have the priests slaughter a lamb for them in the temple), then return with it for the later meal.
c. Others would prepare the other dishes (Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
3. In response to their question, Jesus said to them, “As you go into the city, you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’”
a. They are still in Bethany, early in the day on Thursday.
b. Jesus directs them to go into Jerusalem where they will find a specific man, whom they will tell, "The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house."
c. Luke gives us a bit more detail.
a. Luke 22:10-11 (NLT)
He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, 11 say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’
d. Finding a man carrying a water jar would not be difficult, since women normally lugged water.
e. Either Jesus has made prearrangements for the room with friends in Jerusalem in order to avoid the Jewish authorities, or else these were divine arrangements.
f. Either way, Jesus' statement, "My time has come," recognizes that he is on a divinely ordained timetable (Wilkins, NIV Application Commentary: Matthew).
g. Jesus speaks with a extreme level of authority, so we can deduce that the man in question was one of Jesus' disciples, not to mention that He used the term "Teacher," and "My time has come."
h. This is all phraseology that only someone who was a follower of Jesus would have understood (Horton, 575).
i. No matter how we look at, Jesus made plans for this memorial; a memorial that we be celebrated until His second coming.
B. What Will You Leave Behind
1. Illustration: I spent the majority of my week in a class to prepare to take the exam to get my insurance license for the State of Ohio. A great deal of what I learned dealt with the plans that people make in their life for what they will leave behind. We learned about things like life insurance, annuities, and IRA's. All of these things are ways of setting aside money for your retirement or for leaving something behind for your family when you die. In some sense they are memorials; things you leave behind that will remind others of you.
2. We want to leave behind a memorial of faith.
a. Hebrews 11:2 (NLT)
Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.
b. The people in Hebrews 11 left behind a memorial of faith.
c. People for all-time will read about their incredible faith.
d. People will read about the faith of Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Sarah, Moses.
e. When people in the future read about you what will it say?
3. We want to leave behind a memorial of love.
a. John 13:34-35 (NLT)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
b. Will people say about you, "They loved the Lord!"?
c. Will people say about you, "They loved their family!"?
d. Will people say about you, "They loved their church!"?
e. Will people say about you, "They loved people in the community!"?
4. We want to leave behind a memorial of believers.
a. Isaiah 52:7 (NLT)
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!
b. Will you leave behind a memorial of believers in Jesus?
c. Will you leave behind a memorial of disciple’s?
d. Will you leave behind a memorial that will be celebrated by all those who are in heaven because you told them about Jesus?
Transition: The Lord's Supper is also...
II. A Memorial of Examining (20-25).
A. Am I the One?
1. As the meal began Jesus drops a bomb shell on the evenings festivities.
2. Matthew tells us, "When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”
a. Jesus has anticipated the betrayal and even warned the disciples on their journey to Jerusalem that he will be betrayed, but his prediction of the treacherous act at the meal apparently comes as a surprise to all.
b. Hence, they "are very sad" or distressed.
c. They do not expect a betrayal to come out of their tight-knit group that has experienced so much together for the last three years.
d. Yet the disciples are now fully aware that Jesus has an understanding of events beyond their comprehension.
e. He knows more about them than even they know themselves.
3. Matthew then tells us the response of the twelve. He says, "Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
a. This surprise no doubt caused a great deal of sadness among the group, but it also brought tremendous fear.
b. So one after another they ask, yet hesitantly declare, "Am I the one, Lord?"
c. This question expects a negative answer, but they do not speak confidently (Wilkins).
4. At this time Jesus tells them, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me."
a. Jesus prolongs their dismay as he states, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me."
b. Each of those around the room have dipped their bread into bowls that served the group, so this implies no more than one of those at the meal at that time will betray him, but no one knows who.
c. Judas seems to have covered his tracks pretty well (Wilkins).
5. Then Jesus says, "For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”
a. Jesus affirms the divine certainty of his death by alluding to what "is written" about him, a reference to the Suffering Servant prophecies.
b. The Old Testament prophecies of a coming Suffering Servant were not widely held up as a primary expectation, not even among Jesus' own followers.
c. But Jesus drives home the truth that the Scriptures have prophesied the coming of a slain Messiah.
d. The divine judgment anticipated on the one who betrays the suffering Son of Man is staggering.
e. The phrase "how terrible" deals not only with sadness, but also with judgment, for, as Jesus declares, it was better that he not been born.
f. Despite that fact that everything would happen according to God's plan, the betrayer is not excused from his actions. The will of God does not eliminate our responsibility.
g. You will notice that Jesus warned Judas without ever pointing His finger of publicly accusing him.
h. He tried to give Judas every opportunity to repent of the sin in his heart. However, Judas had already made up his mind.
i. What he did was of his own free will without any coercion from God. The Father saw the foreknew the action of Judas and allowed him to do it (Horton, 577).
6. But Judas shows that he is not as slick as he thinks he is. He says, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
a. Matthew accentuates the contrast between the larger group around the table who address Jesus as "Lord" and Judas, who addresses Jesus as "Rabbi" (Teacher).
b. Although "Lord" (kyrios) can be used as a formal address (7:21), when directed to Jesus it came to designate discipleship.
c. Significantly, Judas is never recorded to have addressed Jesus as "Lord." This is perhaps a clue to the fact that Jesus knew all along those who did not truly believe in him as their Lord and who would betray him.
d. Matthew then points to the interaction between Jesus and Judas, which apparently was heard by the rest of the Twelve.
e. Judas, the one who will betray him, says, "Surely not I, Rabbi?"
f. The tone of his reply is fake, deceptively sincere, expecting a negative reply from Jesus.
g. Judas has been carrying out his arrangements for the betrayal in secret, with no thought of anyone knowing about it.
h. But Jesus' knowledge is divinely revealed: "You have said it."
i. The literal Greek expression: "You yourself have said."
j. This phrase is a way of making an affirmation that places the responsibility back on the one making the inquiry.
k. Rather than masking his insincerity, Judas's own question has indicted him (Wilkins).
B. Examine Me
1. Illustration: A woman went to the doctors office, where she was seen by one of the new doctors, but after about 4 minutes in the examination room, she burst out, screaming as she ran down the hall. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story. After listening, he had her sit down and told her to go relax in another room. The older doctor marched down hallway to the back where the first doctor was and demanded, "What’s the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old, she has four grown children and seven grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?" The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said, "Does she still have the hiccups?"
2. We need to ask the Lord to examine us.
a. Psalm 26:2 (NIV)
Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;
b. Each day when need to ask the Lord to examine us.
c. Examine the attitudes of our hearts.
d. Examine the things we think about.
e. Examine the things we do.
f. Examine the things we say.
g. As He does, if any of those things are contrary to His standards we need to repent and ask His forgiveness.
3. We need to examine ourselves.
a. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT)
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
b. As we look in the mirror every morning we need to ask ourselves, "Where did I fall short yesterday?"
c. "In what areas do I need to do better today?"
d. "Am I being a good witness to others?"
e. "How can I do better?"
f. Before we point the finger at someone else, we first need to examine our own lives.
Transition: Most importantly, the Lord's Supper is...
III. A Memorial That Is Living (26-30).
A. This Is My Body
1. Later in the evening Jesus created a living memorial that all of His followers for the rest of time would remember.
2. Matthew tells us, "As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
a. Central to the meal were three foods - unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and the Passover offering (a lamb in temple days) - along with the four (traditional) cups of wine.
b. Jesus uses the bread as a stunning illustration, saying: "Take and eat; this is my body."
c. He sets off the significance of the new observance as he invokes a prayer of blessing from God. God's activity alone makes possible what he is about to illustrate and undertake.
d. During the meal proper the host blessed the unleavened bread, broke it, and shared it with those around the table.
e. But Jesus gives it a wholly new significance - he identifies himself with the Passover sacrifice.
f. Jesus' twofold injunction with the explanation ("Take and eat; this is my body") demonstrates that his body will be the fulfillment of the ceremonies surrounding the Passover lamb, as he becomes the sacrificial atonement for the "passing over" of the sins of the people.
g. It is significant that Jesus uses bread, not the paschal lamb, to initiate the commemoration.
h. Because of his death, the killing of a lamb will no longer be necessary.
i. To emphasize the once-for-all nature of his forthcoming sacrifice, Jesus focuses on the bread, which also had redemptive significance within the Seder and could be eaten as a continuing memorial while upholding the cessation of animal sacrifice (Wilkins).
j. Sacrificing animals would no longer be necessary, because Jesus would be the once for all sacrifice for sins.
3. Then Jesus "took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28 for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many."
a. Jesus takes a cup, gives thanks, and asks all of them to join in drinking from it.
b. Of the four cups of wine consumed at a Passover celebration, this is most likely the third cup, which Jesus takes and says, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
c. This third cup was often called the cup of redemption, corresponding to God's third promise in Exodus 6:6, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment."
d. The death of the Passover lamb and the smearing of its blood opened the way for the redemption of God's people from Egypt, but the shedding of Jesus' blood, which this cup foreshadows, opens the way for the redemption of all humanity to enter into a new covenant relationship with God.
e. With this statement Jesus indicates that he is fulfilling the new covenant promised to the people of Israel.
f. Throughout his ministry Jesus based his invitation to the kingdom of God and the forgiveness of sins and promise of new life upon the initiation of the new covenant.
g. The time has come for its inauguration with the cross and the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost (Wilkins).
4. Jesus concludes this memorial by saying, "Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
a. Jesus' words hold out a heart-rending promise (that his sacrificial death will bring forgiveness of sins) and a sad indication (that he will have to go away), but also an assurance (that he will return).
b. When he comes again and brings the final establishment of the kingdom on earth, he will bring to fulfillment the time of peace and redemption for which his disciples are waiting and the consolation for which the people of Israel await.
c. Until then, the Lord's Supper is a living reminder of the new and greater exodus by which all who embrace its significance and historical accomplishment find release from sin's bondage and deliverance into everlasting life (Wilkins).
B. Living Memorials
1. Illustration: A man came to the Lutheran Church and asked to see the pastor. "Pastor," he said, "My dog died and I would like a Christian burial for him." The Pastor said, "I’m sorry to hear about your dog, but we Lutherans don’t do funerals for dogs. You might try the Baptist church down the street. Baptists will do most anything." The man turned sadly and said, "I’m sorry you won’t do my dog’s funeral, but I understand. I’ll try the Baptist church. But would you tell me how much is appropriate to leave for a memorial for the church? I was thinking of giving a $10,000 memorial in honor of my dog." "Wait a minute," the pastor said. "You didn’t tell me that your dog was Lutheran…"
2. The memorial that Jesus left us is a living memorial because He is a living Messiah.
a. Hebrews 10:20 (NLT)
By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.
b. The memorial that Jesus left is not made of stone.
c. The memorial that Jesus left is not made of bronze.
d. The memorial that Jesus left is not made of wood.
e. The memorial that Jesus left is Himself, because He is alive forever!
3. Like Jesus, we create a living memorial when we die to ourselves and live for Him.
a. Philippians 3:8 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.
b. When we die to our old life and embrace the new life that Christ gives us we create a living memorial.
c. When we choose to live for Him instead of ourselves we create a living memorial.
d. When we put Him first in our lives we create a living memorial.
e. When we say yes to Jesus and no to ourselves we create a living memorial.
f. We must die to ourselves and live for Jesus!
1. We all want to have memorials, things that people will cause people to remember us after we're gone.
2. Jesus set up...
a. A memorial of Planning
b. A memorial of Examining
c. A memorial that is Living
3. What kind of memorial are you setting up?
4. If you examine yourself today what do you find?
5. Is your memorial a living one?