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The Lord’s Supper September 29, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 26:17-30.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus commands Peter and John to:

  • enter Jerusalem, where they will find a certain man carrying water
  • follow this man to a house
  • inform the owner of this house that the time of the Rabbi’s death has arrived and that the Rabbi has been divinely ordained to celebrate the Passover at his house.

They respond accordingly.

Later, while eating the Passover meal with His disciples, He asserts that one of them (i.e. Judas) will deliver Him up – thereby fulfilling God’s divine plan. That disciple is cursed and will experience the severest damnation in hell.

The disciples are exceedingly sorrowful and doubt themselves, as they are unsure as to the identity of the traitor in their midst. After some time, they are able to resume eating the Passover meal.

Later, He takes bread, gives thanks to God for His provision, and distributes it, telling them:

  • to eat it
  • that it is emblematic of His body, which He gives to die in death for man.

He then takes a cup, gives thanks to God for His provision, and gives it to them, telling them:

  • to drink it
  • that it is emblematic of His blood, which seals a new covenant between God and man.

Indeed, His blood will bring about forgiveness for all who believe.

Thoughts: In verse 24, Jesus asserts that it would be better for Judas if he had never been born. Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

There are always people who deny the reality and eternity of hell. We live in a time when a morbid charity induces many to exaggerate God’s mercy at the expense of his justice, and when false teachers are daring to talk of a “love of God lower even than hell.” Let us resist such teaching with a holy jealousy, and abide by the doctrine of Holy Scripture…

I still struggle to grasp the connection between hell and eternal suffering. While I believe that this is a genuine connection – as it is established by Scripture – it does not resonate with me. It is difficult to picture those who have not accepted God’s offer of eternal salvation being compelled to endure eternal suffering. Indeed, I wonder: what does eternal suffering look like? My struggles are at least partially fueled by the knowledge that I also deserve that punishment – and it is only by God’s grace that I will not have to pay that penalty. Perhaps this connection will resonate with me as I grow in my understanding of God’s holiness.

In verses 26-29, Jesus institutes the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

Our Lord knew well the things that were before him, and graciously chose the last quiet evening that he could have before his crucifixion as an occasion for bestowing a parting gift on his church.

Even though I have taught several Sunday School lessons on this particular topic, I was able to glean a new insight on this particular stroll through this passage. In particular, I was struck by the fact that Jesus instituted this sacrament less than 24 hours before His death. He knew that He was about to endure an unfathomable degree of physical and emotional pain – yet He still calmly instituted this sacrament. How did He remain focused on the task at hand? Did He experience any turmoil in His heart as He distributed the bread and the wine? If I had been in His position, I would have succumbed to my fears. Thus, as we continue to observe the Lord’s Supper, we should be mindful of the courage and strength that He displayed as He instituted it.