Brookwood Church - Love God, Love People

An Extraordinary Meal



An Extraordinary Meal

Joshua J. Masters |

On the final night Jesus was with His disciples, He shared one extraordinary, sacred meal with them that positioned the ancient Jewish celebration of Passover to become a beacon of our faith, a meal we still share today with remembrance and self-examination.






extraORDINARY
An Extraordinary Meal • Message 11
Joshua J. Masters
September 04, 2022


A. INTRODUCTION

Once and for all!

No matter your past, or pain, or failures in this life—Jesus Christ has settled that debt once and for all.

That’s what we remember and celebrate when we share The Lord’s Supper, which we’ll do this morning.

As we close out our extraOrdinary series today, I want you to know how grateful JC and I have been to walk through this Summer Series with you.

For the last eleven weeks, we’ve looked at how the interactions Jesus had with His disciples teach us about ordinary people encountering an extraordinary God.

But all the extraordinary miracles we’ve studied have only been pointing to the MOST extraordinary miracle of all:

Christ’s sacrifice for our sins—and the resurrection that makes encountering a Holy God possible.

On the final night Jesus was with His disciples, Jesus shared one extraordinary, sacred meal with His disciples that brought a renewed promise from God into focus, a meal we still share today with remembrance and self-examination.

We call it Communion or the Lord’s Supper—but the disciples would have called it Passover.

We’ll be in Matthew, Chapter 26. Starting in Verse 17.

So, you can go ahead and turn or swipe there in your Bibles. (pg. 797)

Passover was a cornerstone of hope for the Jewish people—it still is.

It’s a reminder of God’s grace in delivering them out of slavery and points to the coming Messiah.

Let’s look at verse 17:

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare the Passover meal for You?”
Matthew 26:17 (NLT)

Jesus tells them to go find a certain man who’s already prepared a room for them to celebrate Passover.

So, after the disciples follow Christ’s instructions, they all go to the Upper Room of this man’s house.

And as they arrive for Passover, Jesus washes the disciples’ feet in an incredible act of servant leadership.

JC did a great job teaching on that last week (9am- if you were here, you know we had a medical emergency and had to end early, so please go watch online)

But when it’s time to begin the Passover celebration Jesus says this:

… “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before My suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:15–16 (NLT)

I won’t eat this meal again…

Until IT’S MEANING is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.

The Disciples are expecting this to be a regular Passover meal—which is holy in-and-of-itself.

But it’s true meaning is about to be revealed and fulfilled by Jesus.

Everything the Jews had been observing in this ceremony for over 1,500 years had been pointing to the death and resurrection of Christ since the very beginning.

Every aspect of the celebration, points to Christ—and in this passage, Jesus will turn that celebration into a practice for believers to observe today.

Knowing that, we cannot approach Communion with a casual heart.

Look what Paul wrote:

For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes again. So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.
1 Corinthians 11:26–29 (NLT)

Now, when Paul says, “Do not take the Lord’s Supper unworthily,” that doesn’t mean unworthy of God’s grace.

In a very real sense, we’re all unworthy of God’s grace and mercy.

No, in the Greek, this word means “irreverently,” taking the elements without embracing the solemn meaning Christ has placed upon this practice.

The Lord’s Supper is not a ritual of repetition, but a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice and an evaluation of our faith.

A. Communion is a meal of REMEMBRANCE and SELF-EXAMINATION.

We must approach the practice of Communion and its symbolism with a deliberate desire to connect with Christ.

Through Communion, Jesus is inviting us into the same intimacy He shared with the disciples that night.

Just as Baptism is a symbol of our participation in Christ’s death and resurrection, The Lord’s Supper allows us to participate in His suffering.

Look at 1 Corinthians:

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV)

The Greek word for participation in this verse is Koinōnia —it means an intimate fellowship with deep communication and partnership.

Every element of the Passover feast points to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ.

When was the last time you took Communion and felt a deep, intimate connection to Jesus?

My hope this morning, is by exploring the meaning behind these symbols, we’ll learn how draw closer to Jesus as we share the Lord’s Supper together.

So, how do we intentionally seek an intimate connection with Him during Communion?

Here’s the first thing:

B. We commune with Christ by reflecting on…

1. A tragic BETRAYAL.

We cannot wholly appreciate the sacrifice of Christ until we fully understand the betrayal of Christ—not just the betrayal by Judas but the betrayal of this broken world and most importantly, how WE have betrayed Him.

Verse 20:

When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, He said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray Me.” Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”
Matthew 26:20–22 (NLT)

Here’s what’s interesting.

Jesus says, “One of you will betray Me…” and their response isn’t “Well, I know it’s not me.”

No, ALL of them ask, “Is it ME?”

Now certainly, they’d learned Jesus has extraordinary, supernatural insight, but I think it goes deeper than that.

I think instinctually, each one of us is aware of our sin---and deep in our hearts, we’re aware of our own betrayal of God.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all.
Isaiah 53:6 (NLT)

That’s a poetic way of saying,

--we left God,

--we abandoned God,

--we betrayed God.

Our sins make us enemies of God.

But look at Romans:

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!
Romans 5:10 (NIV)

Our broken nature is to reject, abandon, and betray God.

That’s a difficult truth, but until we completely grasp our own betrayal of Christ, we will never fully live in the power of His sacrifice for that betrayal.

Deep down, we know our sinful nature.

So, when Christ says, “One of you will betray Me,” I don’t think it’s a big leap for each of them to sincerely ask, ‘Could it could be me?’

But when you come to terms with your own betrayal of God, you can embrace the sacrifice of Christ with a gratitude so deep, you become devoted to Him as Lord instead of a simple ticket to Heaven.

Back to verse 22:

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?” He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with Me will betray Me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays Him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!” Judas, the one who would betray Him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
Matthew 26:22–25 (NLT)

Jesus says the one who ate from this bowl with Me is the one who will betray Me.

And John gives us an added detail:

Jesus responded, “It is the one to whom I give the bread I dip in the bowl.” And when He had dipped it, He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.
John 13:26 (NLT)

The Matzah, or unleavened bread, is dipped in one of two bowls:

--one is bitter herbs representing the bitterness of their slavery in Egypt.

--the other is a paste made from fruit, spices, and wine to represent the mortar they were forced to mix and used to build Egyptian cities.

Both are a reminder of their chains in slavery.

Just as we remember how we were enslaved to sin in the Lord’s Supper.

In this case, Jesus dips the bread for Judas and hands it to him.

That was a sign of great honor reserved for a distinguished guest—it was also an act of intimate connection.

Last week, JC made an incredible point about Jesus humbling Himself to wash Judas’ feet even though He knew the betrayal was coming.

Now again, Jesus humbly honors Judas even as he’s about to leave and betray Him.

That’s hard for us to grasp.

But how did Christ respond to our betrayal?

He did far more humbling than kneeling to wash our feet or hand us some bread.

When Christ saw OUR betrayal, He

--left His thrown of glory

--to be born a human being among animal,

--He live a life of rejection,

--and sacrificed His life.

Are we amazed by that?

As we prepare our hearts for Communion, are you willing to really enter into the humility and suffering Christ endured as a response to our betrayal?

And part of that suffering was the torture of His body.

We commune with Christ by reflecting on…
2. A sacrificed BODY.

In the Passover, each piece of the meal, eaten in a very specific order, is designed to remember and tell the Exodus story to the next generation.

--We already talked about the bitter herbs and the paste.

--The lamb in the meal represents the lamb that was sacrificed before leaving Egypt (we’ll talk more about that in a few minutes).

--And the Matzah (or unleavened bread).

What is unleavened bread?

Leaven is like yeast; it makes dough rise.

But when God led His people out of Egypt, there was no time for making regular bread.

So, they were instructed to make unleavened bread for the journey.

Now, this is important.

In the escape, there was certainly a practical reason for the unleavened bread—but there’s also a spiritual component.

In Scripture, leaven is always a symbol for slavery and sin.

Why do you think that is?

Because like sin in our lives, leaven (or yeast) corrupts the nature of the dough from the inside.

How? By puffing it up and making it bigger than it should be.

That’s how sin works.

So, the unleavened bread represents fleeing from slavery and purging ourselves from the slavery of sin.

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As Jesus walked the disciples through Passover, He would be relaying this Exodus story with the same words and the same blessings they had heard their entire lives.

Remember, this is a liturgy, a script they’re all familiar with until this moment happens...

Verse 26:

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is My body.”
Matthew 26:26 (NLT)

And Luke adds that Jesus also said,

… “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me.”

Luke 22:19b (NLT)

That wasn’t in the script.

This is a sacred meal, and the disciples would have been shocked by this departure from the liturgy.

Jesus is saying, this symbol you’ve been partaking of that represents freedom from slavery and a sinless life has been pointing to Me all along.

I am the sinless path out of slavery.

And My body will be broken and given on your behalf to win your freedom.

In Deuteronomy (16:13), the Matzah Bread is also called “The Bread of Suffering” and that’s exactly what Jesus was about to endure on our behalf.

The prophesy of Isaiah says this:

But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

So, we reflect on our betrayal of God and the broken, sinless body of Christ that was offered for that betrayal.

But… (also)

We commune with Christ by reflecting on…
3. A poured out BLOOD.

On the night God prepared His children to flee from slavery, the last of 10 plagues was brought down upon an unrepentant Egypt.

Even though Pharaoh was warned many times, He would not free God’s people and the final plague was the death of every firstborn child in Egypt—both people and animals.

But God said to His people through Moses, each family should sacrifice a perfect, unblemished lamb at sundown and place some of the blood over your doorframe.

Exodus 12:

“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.”
Exodus 12:13 (NIV)

That’s why this feast was called Passover.

Because the spilled blood of a perfect lamb protected God’s people from His wrath against sin—that when judgment and death came those sealed by the blood of the lamb were protected.

…Not because they were any more innocent, but because of God’s mercy and grace.

Verse 27:

And He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. …
Matthew 26:27a (NLT)

The traditional Passover blessing Jesus would have used here to give thanks was this:

“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”

And after Jesus gave this blessing,

(Verse 27:)

… He gave [the wine] to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is My blood, which confirms the [new] covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.”
Matthew 26:27b–28 (NLT)

These words may have been new to the disciples, but the imagery was not.

When Jesus uses the phrase “New Covenant” He was telling the disciples He was fulfilling the prophesy of Jeremiah:

“The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,”
Jeremiah 31:31–32 (NLT)

So, by invoking the “new covenant” Jesus is saying, the covenant this Passover celebrates—the one based on the exodus is over.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. … “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
Jeremiah 31:33a, 34b (NLT)

And how does the Messiah seal this new covenant?

With the sacrifice and pouring out of His own blood.

So, Christ also fulfills the prophesy of Zechariah:

Because of the covenant I made with you, sealed with blood, I will free your prisoners from death in a waterless dungeon.
Zechariah 9:11 (NLT)

I know I’m giving you a lot of Old Testament passages today—but as we prepare to take Communion together, it’s important to understand: Everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ.

Thousands of years of writings, traditions, feasts, prophesies are all coming together to be fulfilled in this meal with the disciples and the next three days as Jesus is arrested, crucified, and raised from the dead.

That’s the revelation Jesus is giving to the disciples and to us.

Jesus proclaims, I am the Passover Lamb whose blood will cover you when death and judgment come for the world.

My wrath against sin will Passover those who belong to me.

Because My blood is My promise and assurance, I will set you free from the slavery of sin and death.

This Passover cup represents My blood.

Drink it to remember Me.

There are four cups of wine in the Passover meal. Each one represents a promise God made in Exodus 6:6-7.

The name of the cups vary slightly, but here are the four cups:

THE FOUR PASSOVER CUPS

1. The Cup of Sanctification
“I will bring you out” (Exodus 6:6)

2. The Cup of Deliverance

“I will deliver you.” (Exodus 6:6)

3. The Cup of Redemption/Blessing

“I will redeem you.” (Exodus 6:6)

4. The Cup of Praise/Salvation/Restoration

“I will take you for My people” (Exodus 6:7)

The cup Jesus used to represent His blood was the Cup of Redemption.

“I will redeem you.”

Christ had shared the Cup of Sanctification, the Cup of Deliverance, and the Cup of Redemption with His Disciples.

But before they get to the fourth cup, Jesus says this:

“Mark My words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in My Father’s Kingdom.”
Matthew 26:29 (NLT)

Jesus didn’t drink the final cup because the full day of restoration has not yet come.

But a new beginning is promised.

So…

We commune with Christ by reflecting on…
4. A new BEGINNING.


The final Cup of Praise and Restoration is coming, but we celebrate a new beginning in our salvation and the coming of Christ’s reign.

Jesus said one day He will drink the fourth cup anew with us.

He’s referring to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Many people know the passage from Revelation, but Isaiah also spoke about that feast:

… the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat. There He will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against His land and people. The LORD has spoken!
Isaiah 25:6–8 (NLT)

The greatest Passover Feast is still coming.

And as we take Communion, we should reflect on that final victory.

But there’s also a new beginning to celebrate now.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

We are not called to live in the shame of our betrayal, but as ambassadors of the new beginning He paid for with His body and sealed with the covenant of His blood.

THE LORD’ SUPPER

Jesus said, “Do this to remember Me.”

And so that is what we’ll do today.

The Lord’s Supper is a way for us to have community with one another, but more importantly to participate with Christ in His suffering and draw closer to Him.

This is a practice shared by believers.

So, if you don’t feel comfortable sharing in the elements today, that’s okay. There’s no pressure.

>>If you didn’t get the elements when you came in, just raise your hand and someone will bring you some.

As they do that, I wanted to say this:

It’s very rare for a church this size to partake in this celebration using real, fresh bread.

But we have an incredible team that bakes fresh bread for thousands of people before every Lord’s Supper.

Then it’s cut up by hand and packaged for you in these satchels, which volunteers handstamp with Scripture.

Why do we do all that?

Because Communion and its symbolism are central to our faith.

So, just as our team took time to prepare this for you, I’m going to ask us to take time to prepare.

In a moment, the worship team is going to offer a song to the Lord, but rather than sing, I would encourage you to sit quietly and reflect on these four points and prepare your heart for Communion.

Evaluate your relationship with God.

Is there anything you need to make right with Him before you take the elements?

--Reflect on our betrayal of Christ and our need for salvation.

--Reflect on the sinless Bread of Life.

--Reflect on the Blood of the New Covenant.

--And praise God for the hope of our new beginning.

Listen to these lyrics as you reflect and then we’ll share in the Lord’s Supper together.

Jesus positioned the ancient celebration of Passover to become a beacon of our faith.

And we observe that today.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, He took the Matzah Bread and blessed it with the Passover Blessing:

“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.”

Jesus took the bread and broke it saying, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me.”

Thank you, Lord, for being the Bread of Life.

>>Let’s share together.

Then Jesus took the Cup of Redemption and blessed it with the Passover Blessing:

>>“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.”

Then He took the cup and said, “This is the cup of My new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood. Do this to remember Me as often as you drink it.”

Thank you, Lord, for being the true vine.

>>Let’s share together.

And after Jesus prayed, they left for the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus would be arrested and the breaking of the Bread of Life would begin.

But as they left, the last verse in our passage says this:

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Matthew 26:30 (NLT)

Even as He went to pay for our betrayal, Jesus led the disciples in a Hymn.

Most scholars agree it was likely the Hallel.

Jesus would have sung the lines of a Psalm and the disciples would have responded to each line with, “Hallelujah.”

So, as we prepare to go out into a broken world, Let’s also go out singing a Hymn, and offer a hallelujah to our Messiah.

If you need someone to pray with you or encourage you, we’ll have pastors and care volunteers down front and in the Care Connection Room after we close.

Remember, Christ has paid for us to have a new beginning.

Let’s use it well.

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