He Stood Up and Died (Communion)
Luke 22:7-23 1N18Jly09
He Stood Up and Died
INTRO: We human beings REALLY LIKE memorials. We name our Sunday School classes after the saints who have loved us and taught us the way. We build statues to those who do great things. We name buildings after them. We do things to help us remember special events, the good things that have happened to us, and the lessons we have learned.
It was this way in ancient Israel, and it is the same today. When Israel came through the Jordan River on dry land, Joshua commanded them to build a pile of stones on the bank to remind them and their children later what the Lord had done for them. In their songs and festivals, they retold the story of how God had delivered them out of bondage in Egypt and brought them to Himself as on eagles= wings. The fact that they have been so careful to teach their children by means of special customs has been the means by which God has preserved them as a race. I know that you are teaching your children about what Jesus did for us!
The Christian Church has a wonderful set of memorials to the things God has done as well. The Christian Year is full of reminders of what God has done. Probably the most meaningful and moving is Communion. In an unbroken line across the centuries and around the world since that Last Supper, disciples of Jesus have been celebrating and remembering. In this memorial, the One being memorialized is powerfully present! Not only do we remember Jesus and what He did, we can experience Him in a profound way! It can mean as much as we are willing to let it mean!
Psalm 78: 24-25 C 24 he rained down manna for the people to eat, he gave them the grain of heaven. 25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.
Manna sustained them in the wilderness! God provided all they needed to eat.
John 6:35 C 35 Then Jesus declared, AI am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
The blood of the Passover Lamb marked the doorposts and covered the sins of Israel so they were spared on the night of the 10th and final plague in Egypt, the death of the firstborn. Those who were under the blood were saved! Exodus 12:12-13 -- 12 “‘I will go through the land of Egypt on this night and strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, whether human or animal, and bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am God. 13 The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you—no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Represents the blood of Christ. John 6:53-54 C A53 Jesus said to them, AI tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Prohibition against drinking blood: Leviticus 17:10-11 C 10 AAny Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any bloodCI will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one=s life.@ ALL LIFE BELONGS TO GOD!
The LIFE OF JESUS is in His blood! He offers that life to us!
Put on the doorposts at Passover; protected from judgment.
Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.
Several years ago, our nation was able to build the Viet Nam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was a time of great importance for those who served in that war. The names of all those killed and missing were placed on it. Vets came from all over the country to see it. One man sold his stove and refrigerator to get money to come. Children of vets came to see the names of fathers they may never have gotten to know. Parents came to remember their children who had died. Many soldiers came to see the names of friends who had given their lives for them. Many left flowers, teddy bears and pictures at the memorial. In the years since, many thousands have come and looked for the names of friends and loved ones, and they have remembered. That is the purpose of a memorial.
Jan Scruggs, the veteran who launched the campaign to get the Memorial, had a specially moving story to tell. He said that a few months before he was due to leave Viet Nam, he and about a dozen others spent four hours of their lives fifty yards from an enemy machine gun emplacement, pinned down. Finally, one young man exposed himself to the enemy fire so that others could knock out the machine gun. Scruggs and the others watched as he gave his life for them. He stood up, drew the enemy=s fire, and died, so they could go free.
I thought about that, and realized that Jesus did the same thing. We were pinned down, controlled by the power of sin. He stood up, drew the enemy=s fire and died, so that we could go free. So when we take Communion, we remember our older brother Jesus, and give our deepest thanks to God. Through the shed blood of Jesus we are set free from the power of sin and death!
Put yourself back in the time of those early disciples, and see if you can feel with me what they must have felt. They had been with Jesus and seen His power and glory. They had seen how much compassion and love He had even for those who killed Him. They knew in their hearts that He was the perfect man; the greatest human being who had ever lived. He was the strongest and most powerful, but also the most gentle and humble. They knew that He loved them enough to give up His life in their behalf. So when they celebrated the Last Supper, there were vivid images in their minds. No doubt there were many tears. No wonder Christians have wanted to do this through the centuries!
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO REALLY LIVE THIS MORNING? HEALING? FORGIVENESS? PURPOSE? JOY? PEACE? TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT? IT IS YOURS IN THE POWER OF THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
Numbers 6:24-26 C 24 The Lord bless you and keep you: 25 The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: 26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.