Big Idea: What is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper? It gives us our rhythm and a story.
Purpose: To understand the purpose of the Lord’s Supper.
The Lord’s Supper is something that can appear strange. It can become familiar, and it can lose its meaning.
What is the purpose? To give us our rhythm and our story. It sets the rhythm for our present by awakening our memory.
The power of story: we all have a story. That story isn’t just our past. It tells us who we are and who we are becoming.
What’s our story?
v. 7 – Passover – reminded Israel of its central event: its exodus from Egypt
They ate a meal with roasted lamb, eaten with bitter herbs (to remind them of the bitterness of slavery) and unleavened bread (to remind them of their haste in leaving Egypt). It was originally designed to be eaten with their cloak, sandals, and staff in hand (Exodus 12:11).
At the end of the meal, someone (usually the youngest son) was designated to ask, “Why is this night different from other nights?” The host would recount the Exodus story.
Here’s why this was important: For much of their history, it was easy to forget the Exodus story. This annual ritual, with its story and supper and songs, kept their salvation at the center of their identity.
Here, Jesus gives us our story. 15 – Jesus came to this meal with enthusiasm. 19 – His body, symbolized by bread, is the fulfillment and replacement for the Passover lamb.
It’s easy for us to forget our story. Jesus says, “This unleavened bread you are eating – this is me, my flesh; the wine you are drinking; this is me, this is my blood, from when I died as your Passover Lamb. My death is going to become your life.” It’s a new exodus.
It’s the definitive practice of the Christian community that keeps Jesus before us as the Savior of the world, and our Savior.
Make this story your story.
We usually think of remember as “oh yes, right, Now I remember.” It’s actually more than that. It means to re-enact, participate once again.
It means to recall and represent before God an event in the past, so it becomes here and now and operative in its effects. Luther and Calvin were bold enough to assert the real presence of Christ as we eat this meal.
So it’s more than remembering a fact. It is realizing its effects today.
Two things about it: can’t do anything but receive it. And it is the new covenant (20) promised from Jeremiah 31: forgiveness of sins and enabling power of God’s Spirit.
Illustration: push vs. pull – If a door says “push” and you pull, it won’t open no matter how hard you try. All the effort in the world won’t open that door. Try this way, with the power of the Spirit.
When you plan a wedding, you get to sample some meals. These meals tell you what it’s going to taste like at the real event, at the wedding supper.
16 – In God’s timetable, this is the last Passover meal before the wedding feast. Paul says, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
This meal re-orients us to our past, our present, and our future.
Next year in Jerusalem…