Matthew 26:26 – 30
June 7, 2009
In Matthew Chapter 26 and verses 26 through 30, we read:
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
When Jesus instituted the first communion just read in Matthew 26, He was about to go to His death to culminate what Selwyn Hughes calls the “trail of blood”. This morning I want us to follow that trail of blood from the foot of Adam where it began to the foot of the cross where it ended. The trail of blood, or scarlet thread, began in Genesis 3:21 when Almighty God killed an animal to provide a covering for His naked, sinful children. This was the first sacrifice. It was done by God to provide a covering for Adam and Eve. This shedding of blood for the remission of sin was instituted by God to vividly portray to all mankind the high cost of sin. Blood had to be spilled to cover Adam’s sin and blood had to be spilled to cover our sin. God, our High Priest of Heaven provided a blood-covering for Adam, and it was the first “picture” of the blood-covering He would supply for us. Thus was born the sacrificial system. The perfect animal slain as a substitute for man’s sin. Let’s look at another picture of a sacrificial-substitute found in Scripture.
In Genesis 22 you will find the story of Abraham being told by God to take Isaac, his long-awaited son, and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah. Isaac seeing his father had brought the wood and the fire for the sacrifice, asked his Father, “Where is the lamb?” Abraham replied, “God Himself will supply the lamb…” These words, “God Himself will provide…” remind us of God’s ultimate provision for a perfect lamb, for the greatest sacrifice of all time, not on Mount Moriah, but on Mount Calvary.
In Exodus 12, the children of Israel once again are reminded of the power of the blood. Blood is necessary to save. The blood sprinkled on the door posts in Egypt on that first Passover clearly portrays a way of deliverance from death that only God can provide. Blood! Blood saves. Blood delivers mankind! In order to impress on His people, the Jews, the importance of deliverance, God decreed there should be a yearly celebration of remembrance – the Passover Feast - the most important of all the Jewish festivals.
We, too, celebrate a feast of remembrance this morning, a feast instituted by God: a modest physical feast, no doubt, but a massive spiritual feast - one of great significance. This morning we remember the trail of blood that ended at the cross. In this trail of blood, God made a way for our sin to be paid for. The trail of blood throughout the Old Testament, which I have barely touched on this morning, was a picture – a preview – of the most important sacrifice – the sacrifice of the Lamb of God – Jesus. We celebrate with wine and bread, the shed blood and broken body of our deliverance. Jesus, our Deliverer, cleansed us with His blood. When we ponder the nail-pierced hands and feet of the Lamb of God, we must remember we will be passed over when the angel of death comes. We will never see eternal death - only eternal life. Our eternal life comes by believing and receiving Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, by being washed in the blood of the Lamb. Nothing more could Jesus give; nothing less would God accept. That is His gift to us – a costly gift. The gift of salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
At the cross the trail of blood is the widest and deepest. Let us never forget, we are blood-bought. As we celebrate this morning, listen again to Jesus’ words from Matthew 26:26-30. Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
If you are a believer, born in the Spirit, you are welcome at the LORD’s table. Come, join us in this spiritual feast. But before you do, examine your heart. Let’s remember that we are not to partake unworthily. 1 Corinthians 11:27 – 29 says, “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the LORD in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the LORD. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself…” Eating or drinking in an unworthy manner has to do with divisions in the fellowship (as mentioned in verse 18). If you harbor bitterness or envy or an unkind attitude toward others, Scripture asks that you “mend your fences” before you celebrate communion. This is a holy remembrance.
Let’s pray silently. Ask God to reveal to you if there is a need for repentance before you partake. As you come silently before our LORD and God, ask Him to also reveal to you the deep and wide trail of blood leading to the cross for our sake.
AS we prepared to be served, let’s pray for the consecration of these elements: Father, we are thankful for the bread and cup. We pray that these elements will provide more than physical nourishment. Grant us the peace, unity, and spiritual nourishment this bread symbolizes. May this cup speak again of the blood Christ shed for the forgiveness of sin. Cleanse us and consecrate us again as we partake of this token meal together. We eagerly await the day we shall eat it with you in the Kingdom of Heaven. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Starting on my left, please come forward to be served the elements, please hold on to your serving until all have been served so we may partake together.
(When all are ready to partake) “The Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed, took bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me” Let’s partake.
(When all are ready to partake of the cup) “In the same way, after supper He took the cup saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”