Since we’ve come to the part of Matthew that narrates the last supper Jesus had with his disciples before he was crucified, commonly called the Lord’s Supper, I’d like to spend the next few days examining it. Each day will focus on another aspect.
First, we need to go ahead and determine what it's not. Despite what Roman Catholics and others might claim, the bread and wine do not become the body and blood during the Lord Supper. When Jesus said that “This is my body,” I interpret that the same way I interpret his words when he claimed to be “the gate” or the “true vine.” He used metaphors all the time, so I believe he meant that the elements symbolized his body and blood. His disciples were all Jews, and the thought of eating real flesh and drinking real blood would've been horrifying to them. On a related note, Jesus was sacrificed once and for all, so the Lord’s Supper isn’t a sacrifice, either.
So if it isn’t literally the body and blood, what is it? Well, among others things, it’s a celebration. A solemn one, to be sure, but we're celebrating something. What are we celebrating? Our sins are forgiven! Isn’t that enough? Dealing with the sin problem opens a door to all sorts of wonderful things. Our relationship with God, long severed, is now restored. He’s adopted us as his children and heirs. All of that's possible because of what the Supper pictures for us.
I think we lose something when we see the Supper as only a memorial service. Yes, we need to focus on what it cost our Lord to effect our forgiveness, but it’s been accomplished. He’s been yearning to bring us back into full fellowship since the Fall, and he did it.
According to some Jewish sources I’ve researched, the “hymn” they sang as they left for the Garden was probably a collection of Psalms 113-118, since this was the Jewish tradition of that time. If you read those Psalms, they aren’t funeral dirges, but instead are joyful and filled with thanksgiving and praise for all God has done.
So the next time you partake in the Lord’s Supper, I urge you to not turn it into a guilt-fest. Yes, you need to meditate on what it cost him to redeem you, but also thank and praise him for doing so, and for accomplishing what he set out to do.
Lord Jesus, you are so good to me. I celebrate and worship you. My sins, which were so many, are now covered, never to be brought up again. Thank you.
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