< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Jesus turns the Passover dinner into our Communion

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jesus turns the Passover dinner into our Communion

Pastor Kurt Gebhards continued preaching on the Gospel of Mark today. Here are my notes:

Mark 14:22-26 22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Jesus was hosting a Passover dinner for His closest friends. This is a dinner of Thanksgiving to God for getting them out of Egypt back in Exodus 12 and had been celebrated by the Jews for the 1400 years since then.

At this dinner Jesus transforms it into our Communion.

We remember the story of Jacob and his 12 sons. How Joseph was his favorite and some of his brothers were so jealous they sold him into slavery and he ended up in Egypt. But because of his faith in God he rose to become the second highest official in Egypt. Later because of a huge famine his family and people join him there and the Israelites are together and safe. Eventually though when that Pharaoh died and was replaced they became slaves and called out to God to free them.

Then Moses steps in and there are 10 plagues, each worse then the last, until finally the first born of every family in Egypt would be killed if they didn’t put blood from an unblemished lamb on their doorframe so the angel of death would see the blood and pass over that house and they would be saved. The Passover. God told the Israelites ahead of time what to do to be saved. The blood on the door was a sign that you believed in God’s plan for your deliverance.  And because they believed Him and did it, they were spared. But the Egyptian first borns were all killed and that finally convinced Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.

Every year since they would celebrate God’s deliverance with this meal. In fact God commanded them to do this

Exodus 12:3,5,13-14 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.  13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.

Judgment was deserved. But God wanted to save His people and He had a plan to do that.

Today God wants to save His children. And He has a plan to do that too. Jesus’ blood, of course, is what God sees when He looks at His believers. We are covered in His blood when we believe in His work on the cross. Jesus is what keeps us from judgment.

The feast of unleavened bread is why our communion uses unleavened bread. Leaven is a sign of sin. This is a call to remove the sin from your life. When God delivers us we are to become sanctified. To show a life that has been altered by His work. The Passover didn’t leave them in Egypt. He delivered them out of it. God delivers us to change us!

Why did the lamb have to die? It was unblemished and spotless. But something had to die because the wages of sin is death. So the lamb, a perfect lamb, was their substitute. God established a provision for someone to die in their place and also in ours.

John 1:29 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! and again in John 1:35 35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

The Jews were aware of the lamb that would serve as their substitute and John the Baptist said quite plainly “There he is!” Jesus Christ is our substitute. Only Jesus was perfect enough to take our place. In this Mark passage Jesus says while breaking the bread, “This is my body.” (In other words I am the substitute, not the lamb anymore, Me!”) And “This is my blood poured out” (His blood will cover us now, not the lamb’s). Christ is not just with us, He is for us! He came on our behalf. He died in our place!

Hebrews 9:22 answers the question of the need for the blood, for the substitute. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

All of the goodness in the world couldn’t make up for 1 sin against God. Because sinning is against God and it’s like declaring war against Him. But He is willing to be at peace with us. And look at the lengths He went to, to do it! So Jesus here tells us that His flesh would be broken and His blood would be poured out.

Isaiah 50:6-7 I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.

Isaiah was prophesying about the Messiah. And this happened to Jesus exactly as written. But notice it says “I offered” and “I did not hide my face”. Jesus gave Himself to the people who beat Him for us! His flesh WAS broken. He was pierced by a spear in His side. His blood DID pour out. When Jesus broke the bread He wasn’t saying the bread was His body, but breaking it was showing He was going to die and that His body would be broken. We do this in communion to remember that He died for us.

Matthew 26:28 says the reason His blood is poured out is “for the remission of sins.” Romans 8:32 says He was delivered over for us. And Paul says in Galatians 2:20 “He “gave Himself for me!”

God loved us in our sin so much that He sacrificed His beloved Son to save us.

In verse 25 it says He isn’t going to drink of the cup again until He’s in the kingdom. He’s going to have another dinner someday. He let the disciples know that when He died on Friday it wasn’t the end!

The question for each of us is “Have I been covered by His blood? Have I accepted His provision?”

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