Supper

Unable to speak, walls are mute witnesses to what happens within them.
They merely hold up the ceiling, hold out the weather, and hold on to their secrets.

It was a large room, borrowed, of course, for the occasion of the last supper Jesus and his disciples would have together. Thirteen men, and perhaps the necessary servants for such a large gathering, filled the room, not at all sure of what to expect.

  • After Jesus quelled the selfish thoughts on the part of some about who might be the greatest among His followers by taking a towel and washing every foot they walked on, the mood became a serious one.
  • The air was thick with the smells of food, with the oily scents of burning lamps and candles, and with—significance.

Never Quite Sure…
Those who followed Him were never quite sure what He was doing at the moment or what He might do next. In the last few weeks a sense of sorrow emanated from Him. He told them strange things about being killed and rising again but they had no room in their hearts for such talk. He was the proven master of all things: storms, sickness, demons, and death itself. He never exhibited one bit of fear of the religious leaders or the Roman leaders or even their terrible army. Who would kill Him? It was not easy to ignore the questions such remarks left in their plans.

Chosen
Just as He had called each of them to follow Him, Jesus had called them here to this meal. On this occasion He chose to reveal details of what was to come for them.

  • He established the New Covenant meal ceremony—it would be a New Covenant in His own blood,
  • He predicted His own betrayal, telling them He was going away but would soon return to them in a way so new they could not imagine it.
  • He left them the legacy of His peace, the peace that prevailed in the face of every danger and dilemma.
  • He told in great detail about the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Divine Helper who would soon reside within them.
  • And He prayed for them to be in the world but not of it and above all things, to be ONE, even as He and the Father are ONE.

There was no way those sitting together in this large chamber with its smoke-stained walls standing silent watch could grasp the meaning of His words but they did not forget. Each Gospel writer is faithful to record the details for us.

The Lord’s Supper
So for centuries, believers have received the cup and the bread in honor of Jesus’ sacrifice. We have debated its meaning, its nature, its appropriateness for any or all of us. But we have obeyed His command to do this “in remembrance of me.” Though the ongoing discussion divides us, the meal itself unites us across all the lines we draw and the borders we guard.

Why? Because their Last Supper became our Lord’s Supper. As we enter into the past, our present is blessed with His presence.

Scriptures:
Matt 26:20
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve
Mark 14:16-17
The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve
Luke 22:13-14
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.
John 13:1-5
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
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.” 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.

Prayer:
(from the Book of Common Prayer Adapted SRP)
(Lord Jesus, we) proclaim the mystery of faith: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people … the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen.

Song:
Let Us Break Bread Together
Traditional

1. Let us break bread together on our knees;
let us break bread together on our knees;

Refrain:
When I fall on my knees,
with my face to the Lord of life (rising sun),
O Lord, have mercy on me

2. Let us drink wine together on our knees;
let us drink wine together on our knees.

Refrain

3. Let us praise God together on our knees;
let us praise God together on our knees.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “April 11, 2017 The Last Supper

  1. As as child, I was impressed with the words, “This do in remembrance of me” carved into the front of the communion table. I asked my father what it meant. His answer began a search for me for the meaning of this meal. As a worship leader, I lead countless communion songs over several decades of ministry. Sometimes it seemed we were conducting Jesus’ funeral! Finally (after age 50!) my doctoral studies began to fill in the blanks for me. The word for “remembrance” is “anamnesis.” This is a much more complicated term than “memorial.” Sacramental theologians say it means to bring something out of the past into the present in the fullness of its meaning. While certainly not a re-crucifixion of Jesus, the Medieval Roman Catholic view, anamnesis refers to the power of the victory of Christ coming into our lives in its full effect.

    Pentecostals inherited an “ordinance” view of the Table from the those who reformed the Reformation who threw out so much biblical spirituality. The ordinance view places the emphasis on what the believer does. The sacramental view places the emphasis on what the Holy Spirit does–take the ordinary and make it holy. It seems to me this is where Pentecostals belong. Also, the word for Eucharist (the “Great Thanksgiving”) is used twice in the Bible: 1) when Jesus broke bread at feed the multitude in John 6, and 2) When Paul described prayer in the Spirit in 1 Cor. 14–“He who speaks in tongues, gives thanks well.” The Sacramental view of the Table brings joy to the table–the Great Thanksgiving! Sounds Pentecostal to me!

    The Lord’s Table has had a tremendous role to play in my life. I was called to preach during a communion service at the CA Convention in Hot Springs in November of 1966–under your leadership, Brother Brock!

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