4 Things to remember about God
- God is alive
- God is good
- God is great all the time
- There is nothing impossible without God
The Holy Communion
Matthew 26:17-30 (Pastor Heo)
17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”
19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. 20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out from many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Today we will take communion. I’m just following the series of Matthew.
In this chapter, we are moving toward a crisis – Jesus is preparing and getting ready to suffer and die – willingly and of his own accord to save all believers.
- Last week: worship vs. waste (anointing by Mary)
- Today: faithfulness vs. betrayal (upper room)
This story is told in all the other 3 gospels.
3 section today:
1. v17-19 (preparation for Passover)
It was necessary to purchase materials for the feast, and necessary to find a good place to hold the feast.
(According to Luke 22 – Jesus sent Peter and John to take care of this – “a man carrying a jar? will be there and follow him to the place – he will show you a large upper room fully furnished” – they went and found exactly these things. At that time, it was very unusual for a man to carry a jug of water – usually women did that.)
Also the men would need to get bread, bitter herbs, lamb, wine and prepare everything for the feast to be ready.
2. v20-25 (announcement of betrayal)
“Surely not I, Lord?”
They lived at least 3 years together with Jesus Christ – but even up to the end the disciples didn’t know that one of them was a betrayer. They didn’t feel any difference in the method that Jesus treated Judas. This is an outstanding testimony to Jesus patience and love.
They were eating and suddenly shocked – looking amongst themselves – wondering who the betrayer might be. They asked Jesus, “not me, right?”
Jesus gave the bread to Judas – Judas received it, knowing full well that he would betray him.
Psalm 41:9 “My close, intimate friend, whom I trusted, with whom I shared my bread, has lifted up his heal against him.”
Jesus holding the bread was a gracious act of kindness, for Judas to receive it was a wicked act of betrayal.
“Woe to that man – it would be better for him if he had not been born…” the worst of curses.
This shows human and divine points of view.
- God’s point of view: this treachery was predicted and prophesied in the OT and part of God’s plan
- Human’s point of view: Judas was fully responsible for his actions the whole time.
God’s design + human action = not in conflict.
God is 100% in control at the same time that we are fully 100% responsible for our own choices. Paradox.
Then Judas went out, and the others thought he went to buy something, help the poor, etc. For Judas, all the time, night – no day for Judas.
3. v. 26-30 (institution of Communion)
“Do this in remembrance of me”
Because of that word, we are doing this continually (Korean: “나를 기념하라”)
It was after Judas ate the food with Christ – but AFTER he left the room, Jesus established something NEW – the Lord’s Supper.
This is one of the TWO sacraments established by Christ himself.
- Lord’s Supper, Lord’s Table = commemorates the Passover meal Jesus ate with his disciples at the end
- Last Supper, Breaking of the Bread = symbol of Jesus broken body and blood (as a symbol)
- Communion = through this we have fellowship with Jesus and with others
- Eucharist = we give thanks to God for what Jesus has done on the cross (comes from eucharisteo = thanksgiving in Greek)
What is the meaning/purpose of the Lord’s Supper? We do it at least once per month. Today even the Korean church already did it five times in the morning services.
There are 7 points (why):
- It is in obedience to the commands of the Lord – whatever blessing are derived from the keeping of his ordinances are kept out of obedience by the church ( “Do this in remembrance of me” – to obey him)
- It is in memorial of his atoning death and shed blood on the cross for us – why did he die on the cross for us? Substitutionary death for us – only by his death do we receive redemption, salvation, and reconciliation with God. – All were made possible by Christ’s death on the cross.
- It is a proclamation, declaration of Jesus’ atoning work – 1 Cor 11:26 “Whenever you eat this and drink this, you proclaim the Lord’s death until his Second Coming”
- It is a statement of the anticipation of the return of Christ to FINISH his redeeming work (1 Cor 11:26 – this must be done until his Second Coming – we are anticipating, looking for his coming again. Are you yearning for it? Are you looking forward to it?)
- Communion = fellowship, relationship, sharing with our Lord Jesus Christ – we receive faith, blessing, strength in fellowship with our Lord (1 Cor 10:16 “Is not the cup, the bread, participation in the body of Christ?”) We receive his blessing, strength, encouragement by faith
- This communion = also a communion of the body of Christ – it shows the unity of the body of Christ – we are all saved by the same faith, serving the same Lord, sharing the same vision (Gal 3:23 “There is neither male nor female, slave nor free, for all are one, so make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”)
- We must also have two different minds when participating in communion:
- Humility = admit you are unworthy of this. No one sits in pride at this table – it is only of God’s grace that we have been born into the family of God
- Boldness = if we are true children of God, we can come to him BOLDLY – not because of what WE have done, but because of what HE has done for us
- Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since you have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus – we have gained access to God through Christ.”
- Heb 4:15 “Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may find help in our time of need.”
Who can participate in the communion?
Only those who have been “born again” into the family of God have the right to sit at this table in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ. The time is short, but we have MUCH to do:
We must do TWO things:
1. Pray, meditate, examine yourselves
1 Cor 11:28-29 “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of this bread and drinks of this cup. Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”
What should we examine of ourselves?
- Do I really, truly, believe in Christ as my Savior and Lord? This is simple, but serious (fundamental) question
- Am I truly, really born again into the family of God as a son/daughter of God?
- Do I really, heartily REPENT (not only confess) of my sins (confession without repentance = a mockery)
- See around you – is there anyone around me whom I hate? Whom I did not forgive? “If you give your offering at the altar and remember your brother has something against you, leave you offering at the altar and first go and be reconciled to your brother. Then come back and continue your worship.” – “If you forgive your brothers and sisters when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you (and vice versa).”
2. “Do this in remembrance of me”
During Communion, meditate and ponder over
- Who Jesus is
- What Jesus has done
- What he is continually doing for me – His miracles, teachings, sufferings, trials, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, Second Coming, glorification.
Time is short, but please:
- Examine yourselves
- Meditate on Jesus (all he is, does, has done, will do, will be)