Summary: How should we approach the Lord
Partaking the Lord’s Supper
* The Last Supper (or the “Lord’s Supper”) has been portrayed in a myriad of artistic paintings. Some artists have rendered this occasion as a festive time while others give the feel of a more solemn time. When we combine the gospel accounts, it would seem that both are correct.
* It was Passover week and this group of close friends were coming together to eat the Passover meal so obviously it was a time of enjoying a meal together. However, the ‘elephant in the room’ was the uncertainty of their future. Even though the disciples didn’t GET it and understand all that was to happen, it is obvious that they knew something was about to happen. As the events began to unfold, I would venture a guess that they understood this Passover meal would be one they would never forget.
* Today, we come to the Lord’s Table & my prayer is that this will be a time which will shape our lives. Certainly, the Upper Room experiences had a profound impact on the disciples—let’s turn to Matthew 26 and allow the word of God & its message to have an impact on us. (READ)
* Few things we do within the church have the potential to renew & restore our hearts like partaking of the Lord’s Supper. It is on this occasion that we come face to face with the sacrifice of our Lord & the sin of us, His people. Jesus raised the bar of this event as Luke recorded His words, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Paul emphasized the importance of this occasion when He wrote to the Corinthians, “Don’t eat or drink unworthily because to do so will bring severe consequences.” Let us allow the truth of the Lord’s Supper found in the words & heart of Jesus and Paul permeate our souls this morning as we come to the Lord’s Table.
* From our text, I submit that we need to know and do two things which the disciples did in the Upper Room on that first night.
1. Get Ready – I heard it the first time many years ago; “You will get out of a public worship service in direct proportion to what you put in.” That means this; if the only time you read your Bible and pray is on Sunday morning then, quite likely, the service will be dull, boring, with bad music, and horrific preaching. However if during the week, you spend quality time with God, walk in His spirit, & live in a way to honor Him, then the service will take on new meaning and life. Additionally, God will speak in ways which you haven’t heard in years. This is why I can feel like a failure in the pulpit and step off the platform only to have a person on the verge of tears saying, “This was meant for me today.” As Jesus faced Calvary He readied the disciples for what lay ahead. See these 3 thoughts;
Partaking the Lord’s Supper – Pg 2
a. Preparation – The interesting truth we discover is that both the Lord & His disciples were concerned about the preparations for the night. They were observing (or celebrating) the Passover & they wanted to be prepared. Every Sunday we gather, we are celebrating the Lord’s life & His gift of life. Do we come prepared? Last week, we mentioned that we would be celebrating the Lord’s Supper but the question is: What have I done to prepare for this special time? The apostle Paul writes to the church at Corinth that we better be properly prepared to partake of this Holy Meal or there could be dire consequences. Certainly, we have made ONE preparation in that we are “present.” Being present is only the first step in being prepared.
b. Examination – Now get this picture; the disciples had set everything up and now had come into the prepared room with Jesus to eat the Passover meal. Jesus then interjects a surprising thought (verse 21). HE says, “I assure you (I guarantee this, truly, verily, etc), one of you will betray me.” ‘Without a doubt’ one is us is not really ‘one of us.’ Can you imagine the dagger which penetrated the heart of each man there? There were ‘deeply distressed’ (grieved, sad, upset, hurt, deeply sorrowful) at these words, but look what they did. The entire group began a process of self-examination saying, “Is It I?” At this point, I wonder if Judas knew he had been discovered. This ‘self-examination’ is required for us every time we come to the Lord’s Table. Let this thought permeate our souls, “Which disciple represents me today?” Am I part of the nine who disappeared when trouble came? Am I like Peter who followed Jesus at a distance? Will my actions be lowered to the level of Judas who turned Jesus over to the enemy? Or will I be like John who stayed the course all the way to the cross? Let us never forget that ‘if’ we honestly judge ourselves then we can avoid being judged by God. However, if we refuse to examine ourselves, then the judgment of God falls on in the manner which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians. He writes we could become ‘sick, ill, and even die.’