2013-03-20 / Religion

Sunday School Lesson

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper
Rev. James Temples

Luke 22:14-30

Many churches recognize three ordinances. These celebrations are marriage, water baptism and taking the Lord’s supper. These acts are not seen as necessary for salvation — the means of taking away our personal sin. However, these ordinances have been designed by God — Jehovah — and are expected to be recognized as God-ordained actions. These ordinances are seen in contrast to the sacraments — the means of one receiving grace.

These three ordinances have been ordained by God, and picture certain aspects of life, and relationships with our heavenly father — the creator of the universe. Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. This group has accepted the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as the only means of personal salvation. Ephesians 5:24, 25. Water baptism is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Romans 6:4. Our partaking of the Lord’s Supper reminds us of the means by which we have salvation. The elements of this ordinance are taken directly from the Jewish Passover feast.

The first Passover was observed on the night before the Israelites left Egyptian bondage. Exodus 12:29- 36. This ceremony was not observed on a regular basis by these people. However, when they entered in the promised land, this ceremony became a part of their worship. This custom continued to be part of their heritage. Yet, the observance lost much of its spiritual significance.

During the years of the dispersion — the nation was scattered throughout the thenknown world, after they were over-run by pagan kings — the feasts were not observed. They returned to their homeland, and were eventually under Roman rule. At the time of the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the observance had been reestablished — in a much-modified form. Until the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, the spiritual life of the nation continued to follow the law of Moses, known as the dispensation of the law. Even though divine grace was already at work, this aspect of the care of God only looked forward to the completion of all of the rituals and ceremonies, by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Matthew 5:17.

Since Jesus and his disciples were “under law,” these laws could not be ignored. “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.” Luke 22:7,8. A specific place was found. Luke 22:10- 12. Luke recorded that “they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.” Luke 22:13.

All of the gospel writers give an account of this event. Matthew 26:19-29; Mark 14:16- 26; Luke 22:13-38; John 13:1. The first three give a detailed account of the actual meal. The Apostle John gave no detail of the event, simply, the fact. Since this meal was wellingrained in the minds of these men, the elements were present. Yet our Lord took these symbols of the past, and gave to them a new meaning. Luke recorded the words of the master — “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” Luke 22:15. These men had heard similar statements before, yet, still, not grasp the significance of this declaration. The master made an unusual statement, which, again, these men were unable to understand — “For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Luke 22:16.

After these declarations our Lord turned his — and the disciples‘ — attention to the parts of this meal. “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” Luke 22:17,18. In the account given by Matthew, our Lord declared, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28.

Our Lord, then, “took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19. Luke mentioned the second cup — “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood which is shed for you.” Luke 22:20.

After the supper, we are told that they sung a hymn before going to the Mount of Olives. Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26. There has been much speculation regarding the psalm that they sang. The significance of worship being associated with this solemn event shows the need for our personal acceptance of the difficulties. Our knowledge of the revealed word of God becomes the basis for personal victory, even in times of testing. Can we sing when we face great difficulties? Does our personal life reflect a song under adverse conditions?

The declaration of the identity of the betrayer brought a sense of selfexamination in the minds of these men. Matthew recorded, “And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?” Matthew 26:22. The divine answer was given — “And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” Matthew 26:23- 25.

At this momentous time, an unusual discussion began regarding “which of them should be accounted the greatest.” Luke 22:24b. Yes, they knew that there was a coming kingdom, and the earthly kingdoms were the only mental picture that they could see. John recorded, “Jesus knowing that the father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” John 13:3- 5. Thus, “The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” John 13:16.

Rev. Temples’ can be contacted at P.O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478-299-2068. Email: jctjet@aol.com.

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