Summary: sermon on the importance and efficacy of the Real Presence in the Lord’s Supper
The Feast of Victory
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “feast”? I tend to think of a big table of about 10 to 15 people, all seated around a huge turkey, with cranberries and mashed potatoes. There’s nothing like the smell and the taste of freshly cooked meat between your teeth, kicking back and finally saying, “I’m stuffed.” As much as we may enjoy these feasts, something always hampers my enjoyment - and usually it’s guilt. You see, God says that gluttony is a sin. Inevitably, I usually eat TOO MUCH at these meals. Then, instead of spending time with my children, I end up sleeping in a chair during the afternoon because I’m too stuffed to get up and go anywhere.
When Maia was first born, the first thing she did as I was holding her in my hands was dirty her diaper and then urinate on me. It was amazing to me how a little girl like that could produce such stench as that. Yet that’s what we do every day. We take wonderful food, use it, and let it out the other end as disgusting dung. That’s the nature of being human - we are able to take wonderful gifts of God and turn them into curses. We use God’s gifts of food and eat too much of it. We use God’s gift of alcohol and drink too much of it. We use God’s gift of sex and turn it into something dirty and filthy. We are like the filters of a furnace - we catch all the pollution of this world, collect it, and produce visible sin.
This can even be done with the Lord’s Supper. This wonderful gift of God can be abused, misused, and misconstrued. If it is taught wrong, it can be treated like any other meal - like eating a potluck. Something that was given as a blessing can be eaten to one’s destruction. (1 Corinthians 11:27) As we celebrate Maundy Thursday, we want to celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the right way. We don’t want to turn it into some sort of immoral idol sacrifice or potluck dinner. That’s not why Christ gave it. Instead, we want to look at it as -
The Feast of Victory
The Bible has several examples of “feasts of victory.” In Ezekiel 39, birds and scavengers were to feast on the victory spoils of war - like feasting on fattened animals from Bashan. In Psalm 23, we say, “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” God did this very thing for the Israelites at the time of the Exodus. In memory of that deliverance, God instituted the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover feast, which Jesus was celebrating just prior to the Lord’s Supper. God said in Exodus 12, “take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. . . . “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians. Every first month, starting on the evening of the fourteenth day, the Israelites were to eat lambs with unleavened bread in celebration of their deliverance from Egypt.
In Exodus 32 Moses came down from Mt. Sinai to find God’s people worshiping false gods. It says, When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. (Ex 32:19-20) By making them DRINK this calf, he seemed to be trying to give them a physical demonstration as to how weak their idol was or humiliate them for what they had done. Also, in Leviticus, God said to the Israelites after warning them, “‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, 28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. (Le 26:27-30) So when God made the Israelites eat and drink something, sometimes it was meant to be a very strong visual aid - backing up the message that God was sending - either good or bad. In a negative sense, I might compare it to rubbing a dog’s nose in it’s own urine after urinating on the floor.