Summary: Since today is the first Sunday of the month, we are going to observe Communion...the Lord's Supper. For some this is a very sacred time with great meaning and importance. For others, it is just a ritual we go through that wouldn't be missed if we never d
THE MEANING OF THE LAST SUPPER
LUKE 22:14 20
Knowing that the weather forecast for today was pretty rough, and knowing that many would not make it here this morning, I decided late last night that I would do something different than I had planned.
Since today is the first Sunday of the month, we are going to observe Communion...the Lord's Supper. For some this is a very sacred time with great meaning and importance. For others, it is just a ritual we go through that wouldn't be missed if we never did it.
There have been suggestions that we observe this too often, and that it loses its significance. Others would rebel at the thought of not having it monthly, and some wish it could be held even more often, perhaps weekly.
But why do we even do it in the first place? Does it really have that much significance? In our day and time we seem to want to remove all the trappings of formal religion and do something more in keeping with the times.
So many today want to remove any reference to the blood of Christ... or suffering...and even sin has been reduced to nothing more than low self esteem. So why bother with all this focus on brokenness and shed blood?
This morning I want to take a look at why this ordinance was instituted and just what it really means to us today. And to begin, the main reason we do celebrate Communion is because of the instruction Jesus gave as he observed His last Passover with the disciples.
That was a very special time for Jesus and His closest followers, the twelve who had been with Him since the beginning of His earthly ministry. READ 22:14 20
As we look at the whole idea of communion, I believe we need to ask the same question that came to be the traditional Passover question... "What makes this night different from any other?"
That was a question that was truly appropriate for Jesus and the twelve on that memorable night. And if we read this passage carefully, we get the impression that the Supper was more significant to Jesus than even we can grasp. But why?
We first need to consider the sequence of events that Luke describes in chapter 9. And the first of these is the transfiguration. That was where Jesus took Peter, James, and John His closest friends, up to the mountain to pray.
And while they were there they had a supernatural experience...unlike anything they had ever been a part of before. They had a glimpse into another world.
And in the midst of this experience, we find a very curious event. Moses and Elijah were there with Jesus, and they were speaking of His departure which was about to take place in Jerusalem (9:31).
Now, the 3 disciples didn't know what to say...they didn't know for sure what was going on. That's when Peter, for lack of something worthwhile to say, said "Let us make 3 tents...one for you, Moses and Elijah. They failed to understand the significance of that event.
Well, sometime later, Jesus said to His disciples, "Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men." But just like on the mountain, they didn't have a clue as to what He was talking about. And it was very soon after this that Luke said about Jesus, "He resolutely set out for Jerusalem."
It is clear here that Jesus understood His destiny...He was committed to His Father's will...and He knew all that was involved in the whole process. But the disciples were still unable to understand what Jesus was all about.
We find a similar description of events sometime later in the ministry of Jesus where He takes the twelve aside and speaks to them about the suffering that awaits Him in Jerusalem, according to what the prophets have said.
But Luke tells us again, in 18:34, that the disciples understood none of these things...and the truth of His words were hidden from them and they didn't comprehend the things that were said.
With these things in mind, we look at Jesus' words in verse 15 of our main text, where He said, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you." And in the Greek, those words "eagerly desire" are very emphatic...I wanted so much to eat this Passover with you...."
But why was this night so much different from all the others? It was !now„Ç the appropriate time...the appropriate season for Jesus to explain the meaning of His life to the twelve. This was that teachable moment for them.
You see, all the events of Jesus' life have led up to this occasion, where the most important observance in the Jewish calendar coincides with the most significant events in the life of Jesus.