Summary: This is a communion meditation.
A Table Before My Enemies**
Sermon Objective: Communion Meditation
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
19And 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."
20In 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. 21But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.
There are times when believers are like kernels of corn lying on the barnyard floor with hungry chickens scratching the ground in search of food.
Sometimes our portion is a dangerous as that of a lamb caught in the bushes, with a pack of hungry wolves drawing near … UNTIL A STIFF-BACKED, FIRM-NECKED, BRAVE-EYED SHEPHERD, HOLDING A STAFF COMES TO THE RESCUE!
He lifts the lamb on his shoulders, raises the threatening rod high, and the wolves scatter … reminiscent of the Psalm we just read. It reminds us of Jesus who, centuries ago said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, KJV)
If you listen closely you can hear the dull thud of the hammer blows. If you look closely you can see the cross high above the Jerusalem skyline with the God-man pinned thereon.
Just a few hours before that Jesus met with his followers in the upper room of a city filled with people who hated him. Even as he sat at the table he was surrounded by enemies in the night. Somewhere in the city were Annas and Caiaphas, Judas running to collect his 30 pieces of silver. We know Pilate is there with his soldiers and whips, and hammers. We are aware of the demented religious leaders. And the mob; so blood thirsty it will enjoy a crucifixion much like some today enjoy a bull fight.
BUT WE ALSO SEE A TABLE … PREPARED IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS ENEMIES.
And during the moment, with enemies all around, Jesus sits with his disciples and they eat broken bread and drink the juice of grapes. YOU PREPARE A TABLE FOR ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEIMES … DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.
AMAZING! This is the way Jesus wanted to be remembered. He left no library of authoritative books, no sculptured monuments of stone, no shrine at his birthplace or burial, there is no masterful music composition, and no portrait of his face … only this ceremony.
It is God’s way of reminding His people that they can be assured of victory even though the enemies plot around them.
The enemy called sin lurks to steal your virtue and mar God’s image.
The enemy of fear seeks to intimidate you from pursuing God’s plan.
The enemy of pride seeks to distract you from service.
The enemy of self-pity, resentment, anger, lust, laziness, bitterness, self-righteousness, and doubt … they are present and accounted for and they mean you no good end. Jesus says “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves…” (Matthew 10:16)
How can we win?
Does taking communion help? Is the Lord’s Table a promise of victory in the presence of enemies?
The key word is … REMEMBER.
THERE IS MOTIVATION IN REMEMBERING
> It strengthens us when we remember that God went to the utter limits to secure our victory
> It emboldens us to remember that the resurrection means we cannot lose
I have been reading through the New Testament this month and have discovered something VERY significant. The people of God are inherently positive and proactive in the outlook to the future. In spite of persecution, human hardship, and self-sacrifice they have an built-in sense of security and confidence. And it is nestled in the reality of Jesus’ love and victory in the resurrection.
Remembering the cross and its victory proves over and over to be a source of strength, boldness, and joy.