Summary: the blessings of communion
August 11, 2001 The Blessings of Communion
Have you ever heard of the legend of the Holy Grail? Legend has it that the cup which Christ used at the Last Supper was saved by Joseph of Arimathea. Later on that night, Joseph supposedly used that same cup to collect the blood of Jesus after his crucifixion. He then proceeded to sail to France with his sister and then go on to England by himself. People are now saying that the Grail is buried under a hill called The Tor. There’s also a well located at this hill from which water flows. Wherever the water flows the rocks have turned red. Some even say the lottery leaves an aftertaste in your mouth that tastes a lot like blood. This is just one legend. Whenever legend you read, you will usually hear that the Holy Grail has certain powers. Some of these are - Healing and restorative ability. Communication with God or knowledge of God. Invisibility to evil or unworthy eyes. Ability to feed those present. Immortality.
That’s quite a Cup! Could you imagine if such a cup existed? People would be –like the Indiana Jones movie portrayed, willing to kill for such a cup. It would be more priceless than any gold in the world –more popular than any rock star – it would be worshiped like God himself.
My friends, today we are going to look at the blessings of a different cup - the one used in the Lord’s Supper. When we really examine the blessings, I hope and pray that it opens your eyes to much greater blessings God has given us in His Supper.
The Blessings of Holy Communion
I have a light in my basement. It’s an ugly light – kind of a mustard color with the big light bulb on top of it. One day, Tristan happened to accidentally knock down that light. You’d think it was no big deal, but my wife was surprised when I became pretty upset about it. Why? Because years ago that old light would shine in my grandfather’s bedroom every night that I stayed at his house. It wasn’t just some stupid light to me. It was a memory of days gone by.
Today we aren’t here to talk about lights. We’re here to talk about the body and blood of Christ. In order for us to understand this significance of this body and blood, it would be good for us to look at the history behind the way God used blood and bodies in the Old Testament. Take for instance one special time in Exodus 24:3-8When Moses went and told the people all the LORD’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the LORD has said we will do.”. . . . Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
In this case, God used blood to ratify the covenant he had made with the Israelites by throwing it on them. Imagine standing out in the Israelite crowd that day, having blood possibly thrown on your head or your garments. God was trying to impress upon them that they were intimately connected to this agreement. It’s like when the Jews said to Pontius Pilate in Matthew 27:25, “let his blood be on us”. They were claiming responsibility for what was happening.
In a similar way, whenever Aaron and his sons would make a sacrifice they would burn the body on the altar as a total dedication to the Lord. They would take the blood and sprinkle it before the altar and on the altar as a ratification that the sacrifice had been made. God considered the life of the animal to be in the blood - so when the blood was sprinkled before the altar and on the altar was to show that the Lord accepted the death of the animal for the atonement of their sins.
Now let’s look at the background of the Lord’s Supper. It was the night to celebrate the Passover. Remember what significance blood had with this festival. Exodus 12 says,
Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.