Sharing a meal together
Text: Luke 23:1-56; 24:1-12
Preached in Quabbin Valley on 11-2-08
I went to my brothers wedding last Saturday. It was a nice ceremony and after we went into a huge tent where the reception was being held. This was about 6:15pm. I know I was hungry and a few others were sharing their thoughts on food as well. It took till about 7-7:30 before the food arrived. We had a nice soup and some bred I believe but then it was about 15 – 20 minutes before the next course and about 20 minutes after that for the next course it ended up taking about 2 hours for us to eat. It was past 9 before we were done. I don’t know if most wedding receptions are like that but I didn’t like it I wanted my food as quick as possible.
But it’s interesting to think of our times of celebration that we enjoy a meal together. Weddings and showers and birthday parties we often have some kind of meal. We even have meals together during times of morning like after a funeral we often have food.
There is a definite connection we share with each other around food. We are more than sharing food when we sit together for a meal we are sharing with one another’s lives. This is seen even when families sit together around the dinner table at night. I work most nights and so I don’t get that time but when I do it’s great. We talk and joke and share about our days or our hopes and dreams.
It’s not a coincident that before his death Jesus gave his disciples a meal to share together with him to remember the events that were about to happen and the victory that was not far off.
It’s no coincidence that Jesus was sitting with his disciples during a meal that God had instituted thousands of years before at a time when God’s people were in bondage to the Egyptians.
You remember that the people of Israel were brought to Egypt by Joseph so that he could care for them but after Joseph died and the Pharaoh that knew Joseph and the generations passed the Egyptians ended up mistreating the Israelites and they enslaved them. The time in Egypt was a bitter time. The Pharaoh ends up at one point killing the male children of the Hebrews. Very dark time for the children of God but after a long period of time had passed God raised up Moses and after the time God needed to work with Moses he send him and his brother Aaron back to Egypt to lead God’s people out of that land and after nine of the plagues God institutes a meal for his people and tells them to prepare in very specific ways and one thing they are told to do is to place blood on the door posts and on top and to stay inside their homes and have this meal together. This is the Passover meal and they were told later on that they were to keep this meal as a reminder of what they had been through and what God was going to do.
It was during this Passover time when Jesus gives the disciple a meal, a meal to remember the events that were about to begin.
1. Power of sin
a. We know that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and that God created all the plants and animals and the very pinnacle of his creative acts during this time was man who was created in God’s image.
i. Genesis 1:26-31 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
b. It’s no news to most of that after a short period of time that Adam and Eve gave into their desires to be gods and to be smart and to their desire for the things of beauty after all the fruit that they were going to eat was lovely to the sight and they knew they would receive knowledge after all the tree they were going to eat of was called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
c. From that point in history on sin was in the world and men and women have continued to sin in fact at one point the sin and wickedness is so bad that God decides he will cleanse the earth with a bath and wash away all the sin and wickedness. Noah is found to be a man of righteous character and he and his family are saved by entering an ark. But even after the flood there is a quick return to the way things were before and sin and wickedness continues.
d. Sin is a problem, we are not good people who do a bad thing here or there we are corrupt people who sin and do a few good things here and there. Why is that? Sin entered the world and we were all taught to sin we saw others sin and we grew up in this sin sick world and we now, masters of sin have taught others to sin.
i. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
e. Remember we were created in the image of God and were intended to reflect that glory. But with sin we have tarnished that glory and have separated ourselves from God by our sin.
f. The only way back into that relationship and the only way that image could be restored was by a sacrifice. The Old law and sacrificial system gave men and women a way to be forgiven and to be brought back into that relationship with God. We know it wasn’t the blood of bulls and goats but it was what those things looked forward to. What God was going to do that took away sin.
2. Power of Satan
a. But our problems were not only with sin but with the father of lies. Satan in the form of a serpent came to Adam and Eve in the garden and lied them about what God had commanded them. Satan told them that if they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil they would not die even though God had said they would. Now we can’t blame all our sin on the devil after all we chose to sin, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and we have all followed after them in listening to Satan at one time or another but we wanted to do it. But the fact is that there is an enemy force out there. Satan and his demons are not happy to leave us alone they come and tempt and attack in different ways.
b. 1 Peter 5:8 …Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
c. Paul tells us that Satan can tempt us, we read in the gospels how Satan tempted Jesus but Jesus did not yield to the temptation. We have an enemy who would love nothing more than to have us join him in being separated from God for all eternity.
3. Power of death
a. We are also plagued by death. When man was created there was no death, man was to live eternally with God in a perfect world in harmony with nature and his fellow man but as a consequence for sin death entered into this world and has spread to every human and animal. Death has affected the universe; I should say that sin has affected the universe. Paul makes this clear when he says:
i. Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning…
b. We grow up and we grow old and we break down and we die. The funeral business is a great business to be in because you will never run out of clients. The news papers have a section dedicated to this fact called the “obituary” section. We are reminded of death every day in many ways and that should remind us of sin. When we hear that someone we love has Cancer we shouldn’t say “Oh why God?” we should think back to our sin. Cancer is not something God delights in giving people it’s a consequence of sin, your sin, my sin, the sin of Adam and Eve and of every human. Death is the result of the fall, the result of sin. It was not supposed to be this way. Death is an enemy just like Satan. Death is not a person or being like Satan but it is an enemy none the less.
a. But we are here today not because we are still under the curse of sin and death and the power of Satan but because Jesus our savior conquered them all and restored our relationship with God by doing what we could never do, living a sinless life, and by giving that life to the Father as a sacrifice for us.
i. Colossians 1:11-23 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 ¶ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 ¶ And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, …
God brought Israel out of bondage to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, out of bondage to the bitter slavery they were under and he instituted a meal for them to remember the state they were in, in Egypt how painful and wicked it was how they were treated but how God rescued them and by his mighty hand brought them out of that and was leading them into a land of promise a land of plenty a land of their own and they would be his people. They were to remember this every year as they took time to share a God given meal together with their fellow Israelite and with their God.
We have been rescued from the power of sin. Sin was brought into this world and we have continued to play in it and make careers of sinning and were in bondage to sin. But Jesus institutes a meal with his disciples that they are to continue to share with others that celebrated the power of Christ over sin. Sin is dealt with in the cross and the meal we eat continues to remind us of that truth. Jesus instituted this meal to remind them and us that he was going to face Satan and would beat him on the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Jesus instituted this meal which tells us that he beat death. The death of Christ on the cross and the resurrection are seen in this meal because if he didn’t beat death on the cross and rise on the third day we wouldn’t have a meal. We wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have any hope of peace with God and each other and no hope of living with God eternally, and no hope of resurrection which transforms our bodies into uncorrupted perfect bodies to live in a universe with God free from the power of Sin, Satan, and death.
This meal is a celebration of the victory of our king who has rescued us from ourselves and delivered us into the Kingdom of God.
It is wonderful that we are able to gather this morning with each other to share in what Christ has done and to give serious thought to the God who justifies, the God who saves. And we do this as we involve ourselves in this meal.