Faithlife
Faithlife

As We Gather

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We come to Holy communion with various needs and attitudes.

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Introduction

Without a doubt, the best-known representation of the Last Supper is Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper.
Without a doubt, the best-known representation of the Last Supper is Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper.
The picture was painted on the wall of a monastery dining room in Milan, Italy. Seated at their meal, the brothers of the monastery could look upon the table of Christ as if he were their guest. It is said to be an exact copy of the table, linen, and dishes used by the monks. The painting took da Vinci 3 years to complete and measures 15 feet by 29 feet.
The original of da Vinci's The Last Supper was nearly lost to us. Its history is a sad one. Being painted in oil, it suffered serious injury from the dampness of the plastered walls. Not many generations had passed before it began to fade. In the seventeenth century a door was cut into it. During Napoleon's invasion the hall was used as a military camp and the soldiers amused themselves by throwing bricks at the painting. At one time the French king Francis I was so impressed with this painting that he bargained for its removal to France. An attempt was made, but the plaster began to crumble and the work of removal was abandoned. Fortunately, Leonardo da Vinci's pupils made many copies of the masterpiece in the earlier years of its history, so there is a complete knowledge of it. It is a well known picture of the gathering at the Last Supper.
The scene is the night of the Passover supper. In a small upper room in Jerusalem, Jesus, surrounded by his disciples, is breaking the bread of their farewell meal. Da Vinci wanted to depict the precise moment that Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.” It shows the effect of that word “betray” upon the twelve men most closely associated with during his life and ministry.
Love, terror, grief, and amazement find expression in the question, “Lord, is it I?” The disciples sit in four groups of three each. In their bewilderment the disciples have drawn away for the moment, so that Christ sits alone. Each disciple is expressing his feeling in his own way.
From left to right we see Bartholomew, James the lesser, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, Jesus, Thomas, James, Philip, Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon.
Gathered around the table with the Savior were twelve men. Each had his particular need, his personal character and his own thoughts.
Gathered around this table are all of us. Each of us has our particular need, our personal character and our own thoughts. The picture of this table would likely reflect some of the same things seen at that first one. With whom would you identify?

Those for whom it means nothing (Judas)

Representative: Judas Iscariot

Without a doubt, the best-known representation of the Last Supper is Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper.
The last supper meant nothing to him
The picture was painted on the wall of a monastery dining room in Milan, Italy. Seated at their meal, the brothers of the monastery could look upon the table of Christ as if he were their guest. It is said to be an exact copy of the table, linen, and dishes used by the monks. The painting took da Vinci 3 years to complete and measures 15 feet by 29 feet.
He had already decided to betray the Lord
The original of da Vinci's The Last Supper was nearly lost to us. Its history is a sad one. Being painted in oil, it suffered serious injury from the dampness of the plastered walls. Not many generations had passed before it began to fade. In the seventeenth century a door was cut into it. During Napoleon's invasion the hall was used as a military camp and the soldiers amused themselves by throwing bricks at the painting. At one time the French king Francis I was so impressed with this painting that he bargained for its removal to France. An attempt was made, but the plaster began to crumble and the work of removal was abandoned. Fortunately, Leonardo da Vinci's pupils made many copies of the masterpiece in the earlier years of its history, so there is a complete knowledge of it. It is a well known picture of the gathering at the Last Supper.
Judas had his own agenda
The scene is the night of the Passover supper. In a small upper room in Jerusalem, Jesus, surrounded by his disciples, is breaking the bread of their farewell meal. Da Vinci wanted to depict the precise moment that Jesus said, “One of you will betray me.” It shows the effect of that word “betray” upon the twelve men most closely associated with during his life and ministry.
Jesus wasn’t doing what a messiah should
b. He hoped he could force Jesus hand
Love, terror, grief, and amazement find expression in the question, “Lord, is it I?” The disciples sit in four groups of three each. In their bewilderment the disciples have drawn away for the moment, so that Christ sits alone. Each disciple is expressing his feeling in his own way.
He hoped he could force Jesus hand
From left to right we see Bartholomew, James the lesser, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, Jesus, Thomas, James, Philip, Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon.
Jesus made appeal after appeal
Gathered around the table with the Savior were twelve men. Each had his particular need, his personal character and his own thoughts.
Washed his feet
Gathered around this table are all of us. Each of us has our particular need, our personal character and our own thoughts. The picture of this table would likely reflect some of the same things seen at that first one. With whom would you identify?
Seated him in the place of honor
b. Seated him in the place of honor
Handed him a piece of bread (act of honor)
c. Handed him a piece of bread (act of honor)
5. Only Jesus knew what was in Judas’ heart
He appeared loyal
a. He appeared loyal
He appeared loyal
No one suspected he might be the one
b. No one suspected he might be the one

Are some like that here?

This table and the sacrifice mean nothing
This table and the sacrifice mean nothing
You go through the motions
2. You go through the motions
C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\Sermon\As We Gather.wpd
You have your own agenda
3. You have your own agenda
You go through the motions
4. You go through the motions
No one knows how your really feel, except you and God
5. No one knows how your really feel, except you and God
Is that they way you want it to stay today?
6. Is that they way you want it to stay today?

Those for whom it means examination (Peter)

The disciples were unsure of their commitment

“Lord is it I?”
2. Peter tried to find out who it was
Peter tried to find out who it was
- Maybe he was examining his own loyalty
Maybe he was examining his own loyalty
Later in the chapter Jesus predicts his denial
- Later in the chapter Jesus predicts his denial

Maybe it is time for us all to examine our loyalty to Christ

1. Paul reminded us that this should always happen as we prepare for Holy Communion

Paul reminded us that this should always happen as we prepare for Holy Communion

( NRSV) Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. {28} Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. {29} For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. {30} For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. {31} But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. {32} But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
• Unconfessed sin
• Broken relationships
• Neglected commitments
• Secret bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness
• Slothfulness
• Lack of true devotion, etc.
How does our commitment measure up with that of Jesus?

How does our commitment measure up with that of Jesus?

• Single minded devotion to God
• Single minded devotion to God
• Radical obedience
• Refusal to compromise

“We could never be like Jesus!” we say.

• We are called to do just that
( NRSV) Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children…
( NRSV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
( NRSV) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit,

This is a time of examination

Those to whom it means love (John)

The disciple whom Jesus loved - John

His love for Jesus was so strong that he did not need to ask, “Is it I?” — he was sure of his loyalty
2. John was the only disciple that followed Jesus to the trials and to the cross
John was the only disciple that followed Jesus to the trials and to the cross
3. There was no question of his love
There was no question of his love

Is this your testimony today?

1. Can you stand today and say that you love Jesus with all your heart?
2. This table, then is a way to express that love
In the Napoleonic wars a certain Russian officer was branded with an "N" on his hand after capture. When told this meant that he belonged to Napoleon, he grabbed a hatchet, cut off his hand, and said, "Take what belongs to Napoleon. I belong to the Czar."
3. Maybe this morning your testimony is that you are completely committed to Christ and you love him with all that is within you— if so tell him at this table

Those to whom it means loyalty (The Disciples)

Those to whom it means loyalty (The Disciples)

The rest of the disciples

1. Only mentioned by name
They served is silent obedience
They served is silent obedience
They heard what Jesus taught
- They heard what Jesus taught
- They saw the miracles
They saw the miracles
They preached and performed miracles
- They preached and performed miracles
Aside from a few instances in they are hardly ever mentioned

We have loyal servants in our midst

B. We have loyal servants in our midst
Dependable, loyal, steadfast, reliable
People who things like:
clean the church
- clean the church
- prepare meals
prepare meals
teach classes
- teach classes
- cut grass
cut grass
- call
call
visit
- visit
- invite people
invite people
- pray
pray
give sacrificially
- give sacrificially
In football people know the names of the quarterback, the running back and the receivers, but what about the linemen who enable the rest to do their job?
4. Parable of the two sons ()
Parable of the two sons ()
“I will!” but did not
- “I will!” but did not
“I will not!” but did
- “I will not!” but did
5. The church must have people like this and thank God we have some!
The church must have people like this and thank God we have some!
Let this table become for you another expression of your loyalty to Christ
6. Let this table become for you another expression of your loyalty to Christ
And let the Lord tell you, “Well done!”
7. And let the Lord tell you, “Well done!”

Those to whom it means forgiveness

That is what we remember most

The death of Jesus purchased our forgiveness
The elements tell the story
2. The elements tell the story
- Bread - broken, beaten, crushed and baked
Bread - broken, beaten, crushed and baked
Wine - blood of the grape
- Wine - blood of the grape

We come with a desperate need for forgiveness

We come weighed down with sin and guilt
We need someone who knows us and can forgive us
2. We need someone who knows us and can forgive us
( NLT) "God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial. {33} If only there were a mediator who could bring us together, but there is none.
The story is told in Spain of a father and his teenage son who had a relationship that had become strained. So the son ran away from home. His father, however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in the newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father.”
however, began a journey in search of his rebellious son. Finally, in Madrid, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in the newspaper. The ad read: “Dear Paco, meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your father.”
The next day at noon in front of the newspaper office 800 “Pacos” showed up. They were all seeking forgiveness and love from their fathers.
( NRSV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
God offers this forgiveness to us to day

Conclusion

So we have before us a picture of the table, the grouping of the people who shared that table with Jesus on that day. And to this day we share this table Jesus Christ. with which people can you identify: those to who it means nothing, those to whom it means examination, those to whom it means love, those to whom it means loyalty or those to whom it means forgiveness.
Let us prepare…
Christ our Lord invites to his table all who love him,
Who earnestly repent of their sin
And seek to live in peace with one another.
Therefore, let us confess our sin before God and one another.
Most merciful God,
We confess that we have sinned against you
In thought, word, and deed,
By what we have done,
And by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
Have mercy on us and forgive us;
That we may delight in your will,
And walk in your ways,
To the glory of your name. Amen.
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