Summary: A Lord’s Supper Devotional.
INTRO: Actions speak louder than words. We=ve all heard that old but accurate saying. An old Chinese proverb reflects this idea:
AI hear and I forget;
I see and I remember;
I do and I understand.@
Old Testament leaders and prophets knew this truth. After Joshua led the chil¬dren of Israel across the river Jordan into the Promised Land, he had them build a heap of twelve large stones. This was to serve as a visual reminder of the providence of God on their behalf. When their children would ask, AWhat mean these stones?@ their fathers could tell them what God had done. (See Joshua 4:19-24).
Isaiah received a message from God and proclaimed it, but the people refused to listen. So the prophet found an innovative way of preaching. He went to a festival or fair and sang a song. Because everyone loves a singer, the crowd gathered round to listen. Isaiah sang, Athe Song of the Vineyard@ (5: 1-2), and in the third verse he said, AYou are the vineyard of the Lord@ which proved so disappointing. He went on to pronounce the judgment of God on Judah, unless they repented. (Read this parable in the Good News Bible.)
Jeremiah was perhaps the most vivid Old Testament prophet. He used a number of dramatic actions to illustrate and drive home his message. He accused his disobedient generation of being like a vine with no grapes. He illustrated their hardness of heart with the story of the potter and his clay pot (see chapter 19). He said they would be like sheep scattered by lions (50:17).
Jesus was the Master Teacher who knew the value of an acted parable. His words were memorable and his parables stick in our minds. Yet, his actions speak louder still.
I. AHE TOOK A CHILD@ AND TAUGHT TRUST (Mark 9:33-37).
Jesus illustrated true greatness by taking a child as an example. The point was not the child=s innocence. Which of us could approach that? Such would be a depressing lesson. The point Jesus was making was a child=s wide-eyed wonder.
We are to stand in awe at the mysteries of life, such as birth and love and death. Or consider a child=s utter dependence on its parents. We are to rely on our Father=s providential care and undeserved love in much the same way.
Or again think about a child=s implicit trust, which never doubts and seldom worries. We, too, can commit all our life to God=s care. May we have the child=s simple faith in our heavenly Fa¬ther.
II. AHE TOOK A TOWEL@ AND TAUGHT HUMILITY (John 13: 3-5).
The disciples did not learn very well, it seems. They were filled with contention and selfish ambition. They were anxious for the chief places in Jesus= kingdom. Just at that point their Master, keenly conscious of his own lordship, took a towel and washed their dusty feet. AHe best honors God who stoops and serves.@
What a blow to their pride that must have been! The Suffering Servant=s insignia is not a crown or scepter, but a towel and basin C or worse, a criminals cross. On that cross time and eternity intersect and the God-man brings man and God to¬gether. What a lowly and yet powerful insignia.
What symbolizes your life? Is it your automobile or sports tro¬phies? Is it your beautiful house? What is your insignia? AHe took a towel.@
III. AHE TOOK A CUP@ AND GAVE US A SERMON IN ACTION.
Bread is the staff of life, but this bread on the Lord=s table repre¬sents the Bread of life which satisfies man=s higher hunger. Eat¬ing bread together symbolizes our friendship, and Jesus call¬ed us not slaves but friends. This communion bread is broken to remind us of his body which was broken for us on the tree.
The cup is also a sign of suffering. Recall how he prayed in Gethsemane, ALet this cup pass from me!@ The cup is sym¬bolic of Christ=s life poured out from the cross.
The cup is, further, a symbol of our unity in Christ. The one cup stands for our oneness in him.@Drink ye all of it,@ Jesus said.
Who can forget the way in which Jesus taught trust, humility, and love?
AHe took a child.@
AHe took a towel.@
AHe took a loaf, a cup.@
Let us now take these simple elements, bread and a cup, and remember with gratitude our living, returning Lord.