Luke 22:14-20, 24-27, 31-34 – We need to remember!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
April 1, 2012 AM
We were moved when a little boy was last seen at his school and disappeared. Many vowed to never forget. We were saddened by the loss of innocent lives and destruction of September 11th, 2001 and vowed to never forget. Like Pearl Harbor, the Japanese Tsunami, or the sinking of the Titanic there are those who were so shaken, affected, and moved that they said they would never forget. But time moves on, memories fade, and people die. Hearts and wounds are healed, yet for some of us we try to remember and place these events in perspective. We realize that we need to remember.
In a much greater way, the Lord’s Supper serves as a call to remember. As believers participate in the Lord’s Supper, we recall the sacrifice Jesus made so we could be freed from the guilt of our sins. Every time we share this ritual meal together, we proclaim that His death has changed our lives and behavior forever. Our challenge, as this week’s study demonstrates, is to remember what Jesus did in such a way that it impacts our lives, particularly in promoting a servant spirit in expressing humility.
From the time Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, His disciples had swirled through a whirlwind of activity. Jerusalem bustled with the thousands of visitors flooding the city to celebrate the Passover festival, the Jewish religious highlight of the year. The Master had single-handedly cleared the temple complex of animals and traders. He had converted it into a place of healing and teaching garnering hostility from the religious establishment. Jesus was intent on fulfilling His mission. He knew that crucifixion awaited Him, but His followers were clueless. They could only think about the coming holiday. However, we soon realize that…
I. The Lord’s Supper is more than a ritual! (Luke 22:14-20)
1. Ceremony becomes common place, when it becomes routine! — Leeferism
1) Jesus infused the Passover with new meaning, a meaning His disciples would grasp only after His death and resurrection. The Passover traditionally included roasted lamb and bread made without yeast. Wine was also poured into cups and drunk at several points during the meal. As they reclined at the table Jesus tells them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” It would be the last Passover Jesus would share with His disciples. The next time Jesus would enjoy the Passover, its meaning would be fulfilled “in the kingdom of God.” Rather than giving new meaning to the meat of the lamb, Jesus used the cup and the bread. Jesus included amazing teachings in the few words He spoke about the contents of the cup. Jesus offered thanks to God as the Giver of all good things. The best of all good gifts is salvation, symbolized by the Supper. Because of Jesus’ pattern, Christians always pray and thank God before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. In some denominations the Supper is also known as the Eucharist, the word in the original Greek for giving thanks. Jesus invited all those present to share it among themselves, therefore Christians have called this Communion, a reminder that we share with each other as well as with the Lord Jesus when we partake of the Lord’s Supper. Then Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” Jesus knew His blood was about to be shed or poured out. He also knew His body would be sacrificed for our sins. God’s gift of salvation was given by God’s provision of His Son. This passage helps us remember that the meaning of the Lord’s Supper is not limited to participating in a ritual. Among other things, it points us to Christ’s death in its past value; its present value; and its future value. The Lord’s Supper is more than a ritual!
EXAMPLE: We can do something so much that it becomes second nature to us. Like driving here this morning for some of you; you get behind the wheel, turn on your car, and check out until you are parking here in the parking lot! The same thing can happen with our spiritual lives as well. Prayer, reading the Word, or observing the Lord’s Supper can become routine instead of the spiritual observance it is supposed to be. In the denomination I was raised in, there was a lot of things we did that became so much ritual. You went through the motions so much that the actual meaning became lost in the ceremony. Observing the Lord’s Supper js to be more than a ritual!
Immediately after participating in the Lord’s Supper, the disciples began to argue and dispute with each other. Their concern was the all-so-human pride as to who would have the most prestige and power. In all likelihood they were thinking about Jesus in terms royalty. After all, He had been welcomed into the city a few days earlier as King (19:37-38). Unfortunately, such disputes are not as rare among believers in churches today as they should be. Like Jesus’ first disciples, we can find it easy to forget the significance of the Lord’s Supper. However we realize that…
II. Greatness comes through serving! (Luke 22:24-27)
1. The Christian motto should be: “Ask not what you can do for me, but what can I do for you?” — Leeferism
1) “A dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” We know that this was not the first time they had wanted recognition. James’ and John’s mother had come to ask special privileges for her two sons in Jesus’ coming kingdom. (Matthew 20:20-21) And they had argued about who would be the greatest (Mark 9:34) and for Him to do whatever they asked (Mark 10:35-37)! Jesus immediately challenged such thinking as contrary to the values of His kingdom. In a secular mind-set those with military or political power love to dominate, to swing their weight around. Jesus reminds them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.” Jesus warned, “But you are not to be like that.” One antidote for those who dispute over greatness is intentionally to serve with all humility. Instead of acting like the greatest, act like the youngest. Rulers in such places as Egypt and Rome assumed the title Benefactors, a display (often empty) that they were admired by their subjects. Even in church and religious life, a dangerous tendency exists to enjoy being flattered, to crave attention and fame. Instead of exerting the authority of one who leads, try serving instead. Jesus was urging what is best called “servant leadership.” It is as rare today as it was in Jesus’ time. Jesus demonstrated servant leadership, leaving the greatest example imaginable. He lived and ministered among the Twelve as the One who serves. He was about to die as the Suffering Servant. Earlier that very evening He had reversed the normal expectations of the guest of honor at a dinner. Although Jesus was at the table as an honored guest, He had taken up a towel and had served the disciples by humbly washing their feet (John 13:1-17). Consider how God might be calling you actively to bring Jesus’ teaching into the situation. How can you be a servant leader? Remember that greatness comes through serving!
EXAMPLE: We all love to be recognized. My child is an “honored student” or a slap on the back or pat on the head we all enjoy. It borders on the height of arrogance however for someone in power to demand recognition that is not deserved. How awful is it then when those who have been redeemed not by anything they have done but by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, seek recognition for service that is to be sacrificial as well. We are reminded by Jesus’ own words to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” and in fact Jesus reminds us that “pagans run after all these things.” (Matthew 6:32-33) And that “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” If we as Jesus’ disciples want to be great in His kingdom we must learn to be the servants of all. We are to remember that greatness comes through serving!
In that upstairs room with Jesus and His disciples, unseen spiritual forces of darkness hovered. The struggle between good and evil, between the holy and the profane, is never just a matter of flesh and blood. Satan lurks to entrap the unsuspecting heart and twist it to his profane ways. Jesus offered Peter a lesson that night that all believers need to take to heart and apply. We need to remember that…
III. Satan wants you to fail! (Luke 22:31-34)
1. Satan’s fishes with the lures of the world! — Leeferism
1) Good old Simon Peter. He must have been feeling self-confident and mature at that moment. After all, Jesus had given him the honor of getting the Passover meal ready. Further, Peter had just participated in the first Lord’s Supper. At just this time Satan attacked. Jesus surely got Peter’s attention by the double address, “Simon, Simon.” Jesus had used the same device earlier to get Martha’s attention (Luke 10:41). Was Simon alarmed to learn that a supernatural tug of war centered on him? On one hand prowled the enemy, Satan. He would soon attack Peter and the other disciples (the Greek word translated you in verse 31 is plural). Satan wanted to ruin their faith and their testimony. He wanted them to stumble and fail. On the other hand was the Lord Jesus. He had already prayed for Peter. He knew that the enemy’s main strategy is to destroy faith. Jesus is more powerful than Satan. His prayers would prevail, and after a time of backsliding and sin, Peter would return to fellowship and usefulness. After he had turned back, he would know how to strengthen other believers. One of the ways Peter later did this was to write inspired epistles. In one of them he wrote, “Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But this lay years ahead. Jesus had to burst Peter’s bubble of boasting. He knew that before daylight, which the rooster signals with his crow, Peter would fail bitterly. He would deny his Lord three times. Have you faced failures because you underestimated Satan’s strategies against you? If so, you are not alone. Other believers by the multiplied thousands have been through similar experiences. Always remember that Satan wants you to fail in your faith, but Christ is more powerful than the enemy of our souls!
EXAMPLE: Satan is so slick. He desires to destroy your relationship with the Lord and sadly it is often easier than we realize. Satan never attacks where we are spiritually, emotionally, or psychologically strong. Like the roaring lion he is described as, he looks for our weakness, lays in wait, and grabs us by the throat when we least expect it. He always attacks from the bushes, from a hiding place. He often camouflages himself as something wonderful, delightful, or that which we desire the most. Always remember that Satan wants you to fail in your faith, but Christ is more powerful than the enemy of our souls!
More than a ritual, the Lord’s Supper calls believers to remember Christ’s death for their sins. When believers argue among themselves or compete for greatness, they contradict the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. When believers are overconfident of their spiritual maturity, they open themselves up to satanic influences.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 27 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2012 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.