Summary: The beginning of the Lord’s Supper
THE LORD’S SUPPER Mark 14:12-28
Many of us can look back months or even years to that moment in our lives when recognizing ourselves to be guilty sinners in the sight of God; we trusted what Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary for us.
In that moment we recognized that Jesus vicariously, as a substitute, bore our sins in His own body on the tree (2 Corinthians 5:21), and we accepted His payment for our sins as full and forever.
Well, in a few minutes we are going to observe the Lord’s supper that commemorates what Jesus did for us on the cross, and in preparation to partake of the Lord’s supper I want us to look at the establishment of the Lord’ Supper many years ago.
I. A TRUTH COMMEMORATED (22-23)
Until the death of Jesus, the feast of the Passover was the greatest event in the disciples’ year. With great anticipation they prepared for the occasion, and there is reason to believe they enjoyed every moment of it.
Yet after the death and resurrection of their Lord, the Passover feast had neither attraction nor importance for the followers of Christ.
Apart from Hebrews and I Corinthians, where the true Passover is expounded and identified, there is no mention to the feast in the New Testament after the death of Christ of the disciples observing it.
As far as they were concerned, the Passover had fulfilled its purpose in pointing the true Lamb of God, and there remained no obligation even to remember it.
The Passover was the commemoration of the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. At some special point in their observance of final Passover observance, the Lord took certain parts of the ritual and imparted to them a new meaning.
As the Passover feast commemorated their deliverance from Egyptian bondage, Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper to commemorate their deliverance from sin.
Unleavened bread and wine (pure grape juice) were two common items that were used at practically every meal, but Jesus gave them a wonderful new meaning. Jesus gave the bread and the wine new meaning so that from that hour, they would serve as memorials of His death.
II. A THRILLING COVENANT (24)
On the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant and established a New Covenant. The Old Covenant was ratified with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the new covenant was ratified with the blood of God’s Son.
The New Covenant in His blood would do what the Old Covenant sacrifices could not do. The Old Covenant could cover sins, but it could not cleanse sins and take them away forever as the blood of Jesus Christ could.
See Hebrews 10:1-4; 9-12; 14.
Under the Old Covenant, the priests were busy all day long, from dawn to sunset, slaughtering and sacrificing animals. It is estimated that at Passover as many as three hundred thousand lambs would be slain within a week. The slaughter would be so massive that blood would run out of the Temple ground through specially prepared channels into the Brook Kidron, which seemed to be running with blood.
But no matter how many sacrifices were made, or how often, they were ineffective. They simply could not remove sin.
A. Under the Old Covenant, there was a CONTINUAL SACRIFICE TO AFFIRM SIN.
The context of Hebrews 10 deals with the various sacrifices of the Old Testament priests. And, one thing stands out in those sacrifices: they were a continual matter. They were continually being offered on behalf of the people to affirm their sin.
Notice verse 1.
Notice verse 3.
Notice verse 11.
Every day, as long as the Temple stood, these sacrifices were to be carried out. Every morning, and every evening a male lamb of one-year old, without spot and blemish, was offered as a BURNT OFFERING. Along with it there was offered a MEAT OFFERING. Then, there was also the SIN OFFERING, the TRESPASS OFFERING, and the PEACE OFFERING.
However, instead of removing their sins, these were a constant reminder of the fact that their sins were still there. Another lamb, another sacrifice, but the sins were still there. It was a constant reminder that they were sinful, and that they were at the mercy of a holy God.
The Old Testament sacrifices provided a passing relief, but they gave nothing of a permanent remedy. It was just constant and continual sacrifice that reminded and affirmed the sin of the people.
B. Under the New Covenant there was a COMPLETED SACRIFICE TO ATONE SIN
What the Levitical priests could not do, our Great High Priest did. Under the Old Covenant sins were only covered, under the New Covenant sins were cleansed.
Notice verse 11, 12.
The Levitical system had twenty-four orders and in each were hundreds of priest who took turns serving at the altar. This system did not lack for priest, but it did lack for effectiveness. All the priest together could not make an effective sacrifice for sin. However, Christ was but one priest and yet His work was perfectly and permanently effective.