About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
While being raised in a Free
The Lord's Supper is
rooted in the Jewish Passover meal. As
God was about to judge Egyptian families with the death of their firstborn
son, He commanded each Israeli family to kill a sheep or a goat, put its
blood on their doorposts, and eat it in what was called the Passover meal.
It was so named because God would pass over the family who had a
blood stained doorpost, saving their firstborn son from death.
From then on Israeli families were commanded to eat the Passover
meal once a year in remembrance of their salvation from God's judgment on Egypt.
Among other aspects of
Passover seen in Exodus 12 we should know that it was a family meal.
Families ate the Passover. If
there was too much for one family to eat, other families, along with those
without a family, joined in the meal.
No one ate Passover alone.
are familiar with what is called camp meeting or family camp.
Each summer families gather for a week or two in a rural location
for fellowship and Biblical instruction.
It's a family event. It
was in this kind of family atmosphere where Jesus ate His last Passover
while on earth in human physical form.
As instructed in Deuteronomy 16:6, thousands of Jewish families
were visiting Jerusalem
for Passover because God once chose to have his name dwell there.
In an upper room Jesus
reclined at a table with His family, His Twelve apostles (Luke 22:14).
Remember, Jesus considered his true disciples to be His real family
(Luke 8:21). Jesus explained
to His apostles that He fervently desired to eat this particular Passover
with them before He suffered, because, He would not eat it again until it
was fulfilled in the
At one point during Passover Jesus took a cup of wine, gave thanks, and as He passed it to the Twelve He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves (Luke 22:17 HCSB)." Notice that there was only one cup containing real wine that was shared among brothers in God's family in Jesus' presence. This was a family experience.
Jesus also took bread,
gave thanks, and while handing pieces of the bread to the Twelve He said,
"This is my body given for you (Luke 22:19 HCSB)."
Much could be said about this statement, especially the little verb
"is", but I'll stick to my singular point. Jesus
took a piece of bread that was big enough for twelve men to eat. Each
man ate from that one piece of bread that was shared among themselves in
the presence of Jesus. This
was a family experience.
In case you missed my
point, here it is. Like the
Passover meal, the Lord's Supper in its original form was a family meal.
There was one piece of unleavened bread and one cup of real wine.
Both were shared among brothers in God's family in the presence of
It's sad that the first
Lord's Supper ended in betrayal and an argument over who should be the
greatest (Luke 22:23 - 30). My
most vivid imagination cannot begin to picture how the meal Jesus
fervently desired to eat with His family ended in such a manner.
Church history shows that things haven't changed.
No wonder we choose to eat the Lord's Supper alone in our pews.
Except for the way the
first Lord's Supper ended, does your experience with Jesus' Supper look
anything like what the Bible describes?
Is it a family meal? Do you share what you eat and drink with your brothers and sisters
in God's family or do you simply sit in your pew and eat and drink alone?
When Jesus said "do
this in remembrance of me," (Luke 22:19) did He mean "do
this" as I "do this" or did He mean "do this" in
whatever way you want to "do this"?
If you love Jesus, want to follow His example in all things, and
want to imitate His every move, wouldn't you want to eat His Supper in the
way He ate it?
It's been my experience
that when I share the bread and wine with my brothers and sisters in
Christ, it's a blessed communal family experience.
It's what the Body of Christ is all about; brothers and sisters in
God's family joined in relational harmony because of the broken body and
shed blood of Jesus. When we
share the bread and wine with each other we're not only sharing the life
of Jesus, we're sharing our own lives with those to whom we are joined in
the Body of Christ. No one should ever eat and drink from the table of the Lord alone
in his pew. The Lord's Supper
is a family meal.