Gracefully Truthful

Beloved,Redemption,Restored,Thankfulness,Together,Worship

Read His Words Before Ours!

Mark 14:12-26
Luke 22:1-23
Exodus 12:1-13
1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Who gathered at the Table?
It should have been a time of celebration.

As Jesus and His twelve disciples gathered to mark the Passover, the disciples would have been anticipating a joyous occasion. Every year, they remembered God’s rescue of His people from Egypt and celebrated freedom. (Exodus 12:1-13) Eating lamb, they remembered the lambs sacrificed on the first Passover and considered how the blood of the lambs painted around the doorframes of the Israelite homes protected them and gave them life.

However, from the start something was different. Although the other disciples were unaware, Judas Iscariot came with deceit in his heart. Satan had entered him, and he had already made a deal with Jesus’ enemies to receive payment in exchange for leading them to arrest Jesus when He was not surrounded by a crowd. (Luke 22:1-6)

Jesus came to the table knowing what lay ahead. He knew suffering and death awaited Him, and He understood the significance of this meal with His friends. They had eaten together many times as they worked and travelled together, but He knew this would be their final meal together before everything changed. (Luke 22:16)

Who was invited?
Jesus’ love for His disciples is made manifest in how He chose to spend His final evening before going to the cross. Even more striking was His selfless, humble mindset as He chose to wash His disciples’ feet,  even the feet of he who would betray Him.

I imagine proceedings took a more sombre turn with Jesus’ invitation to His disciples to eat bread and drink wine as He declared they now represented His body and His blood sacrificed for them. I wonder how much the disciples understood of Jesus’ words. The meal had moved from merely remembering the past to foreshadowing what was about to happen. Jesus’ body would be taken and nailed to the cross, and His blood would be shed, just like that of the Passover lamb, a sacrifice with similar life-saving results.

The atmosphere must have become even more solemn and unsettled with Jesus’ next words as He announced that one of the twelve around the table had already plotted to betray Him. The disciples looked around with suspicion, wondering who it would be.

Whatever their understanding of the situation, it must have been clear this was no ordinary meal. Something much deeper was happening, and everything was about to change.

What will we remember and proclaim?
A few months ago, as I sat eating lunch with work colleagues, I felt a similar sense of the ordinary and the extraordinary intertwined. On one level, our conversation was casual, as we chatted about everyday life, sharing stories of events from the week. We had shared many lunch times like this over the years.

On another level, we were painfully aware everything was changing. For one of my colleagues round the table, this would be the final lunchtime chat before he left for a new job. Another team member was also moving to a new role within the organisation, and while she would still be around, our relationship would change. We had been a team for eight years, and this was our final lunch together.

There was a deep sadness, but also the sense of God leading people in new directions and, despite our sorrow and the unsettled feeling it brought those of us who would remain, it was clear this was His plan.

I suspect the disciples around the table that night would have preferred for Jesus to remain with them as He was, and for their familiar pattern of life to continue but, in this situation too, God had a greater plan.

Through Jesus’ sacrifice, His body broken and His blood shed, many would receive forgiveness and salvation.

This is something the first disciples were commanded to remember with intentionality through the sharing of a meal. Stretching from that first Passover table to our own Communion gatherings, every believer is called to remember Jesus’ sacrifice as we eat bread and drink wine. By sharing this simple meal, we celebrate the restoration and new life His sacrificial death enables for all who trust in Him.

As early Church apostle and preacher Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11, when we share this sacred supper, we proclaim Jesus’ death until He comes again. We proclaim this truth to ourselves and one another so we might live lives of gratitude for all Jesus has done and so we, together, might hold tightly to the Hope He offers.

Christ’s table is open to all regardless of country, nationality, race, gender, or your self-made barometer of your sin. None are too bad and none are too good to come. Accept His welcome by believing in His Name, repenting of your sin, and surrendering in full to the God who surrendered Himself for you.

All who say yes to Christ, will one day be seated at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. (Luke 13:29, Revelation 19:9) One day we will sit together as One Body, purchased in full redemption by the blood of Christ, and oh the feast we will share! (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Proclaim this welcome to those across the street from you, those you meet as you go about your day, to the ones making your coffee, and the ones who run about your house. Proclaim this mercy to yourself, your spouse, your friends, your coworkers, and the stranger on the street corner, for all are welcome to come Home.

Come.
Join the family of God at the table of eternal feasting!

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Anonymous
Anonymous
3 months ago

Thank you Barrie

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bride,church,Easter,eternity,Feasting,Heaven
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