************ Sermon on Luke 22:19b ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on March 12, 2000
"Do This in Remembrance of Me"
Memories. They are one of the nicest gifts God has given us. How wonderful it is that in our mind's eye we can recreate persons, events, sights, sounds, smells, and even feelings of long ago. It is even more wonderful that God's grace allows normal people to forget the memories of hurt and pain and remember only the good and the joyful.
Memories are important. For instance, what happens when a family is together? Perhaps it is Christmas or Thanksgiving or a birthday. They are sitting around talking. Almost always someone says, "Remember when ..." and the family takes a trip down memory lane. Or, someone digs out the photo-albums and everyone laughs and remembers together as the pictures are passed around.
The people of God are like one big family. And they too have memories, something to recall. This morning, as we celebrate the Lord's Supper, we are asked to remember. As we eat and drink, Jesus says, "Remember." "Do this in remembrance of me." Jesus wants us to remember two things: His sacrifice upon the cross and the coming of the eternal banquet.
I Remember the Atoning Sacrifice
A In our Scripture passage we see Jesus and His disciples eating and celebrating the Passover feast. In the Passover feast, God's children remember and relive the Exodus from the slavery and bondage of Egypt. They remembered how the Angel of the Lord killed the firstborn son and cattle and sheep and oxen. They remembered how the Angel passed over every Israelite home with the blood of the Passover lamb sprinkled on the door frame. They remembered how the Egyptians begged the Israelites to leave.
Each element of the Passover meal has special meaning: the unleavened bread represents the haste with which Israel left Egypt, the bitter herbs represent the slavery, the fruit-purée paste (which resembles clay) recalls the forced labor, the Passover lamb brings to mind God's merciful "passing over" Israel, the red wine symbolizes the blood of the Passover lamb sprinkled upon the doorpost.
B During this last supper with His disciples, Jesus reinterprets the traditional elements of the Passover feast and gives them new meaning. With the bread He says, "This is my body given for you." With the wine He says, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."
Jesus speaks of His body that has been given and His blood which has been poured out. The same language is used to designate the flesh and blood of the Passover lamb. In other words, Jesus is speaking of Himself as the Passover Lamb. As Paul puts it, "Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed" (1 Cor 5:7; cf 1 Pt 1:19; Rev 5:6,9,12; 12:11; John 1:29,36).
Now, in instituting the Lord's Supper, Jesus says, "Do this in remembrance of me." In other words, we are to remember and believe that Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
C Why did the Angel of the Lord pass over the Israelite homes when he visited death and destruction upon Egypt? You need to remember that the Israelites were as sinful and as stubborn as the Egyptians. They worshiped other gods and refused to accept Moses as God's servant. So why did the Angel of the Lord pass over them? Because of the blood of the lamb. The lamb was sacrificed in their place and for their sin.
Jesus is the Passover Lamb. Because of His blood upon the cross God passes over our sin. He is the Lamb sacrificed in our place and for our sin. We are to remember, as John the Baptist puts it, that Jesus is "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29).
Topic: AtonementLikewise, neither should we ever forget the day that Christ took our place.
Title: Let Me Take His Whipp'n
In a certain one-room mountain school severe discipline was used to keep students in line. The noon recess was ended and the teacher was grilling the class on the disappearance of Sally Jane's lunch. After a few minutes of verbal threats and demands, a sob was heard. It was little Billy--a thin, undernourished child. His family was the poorest of the poor.
"Did you take Sally Jane's lunch?" demanded the teacher.
"Yes, sir," mumbled Billy through his tears. "I was hungry."
"Nevertheless, you did wrong to steal and you must be punished," declared the teacher.
As the teacher removed the leather strap from its place on the wall, Billy was ordered to the front of the room and told to remove his shirt. The arm of the teacher was raised over the bent and trembling form of little Billy.
"HOLD IT, TEACHER!" shouted a husky voice from the rear of the room. It was Big Jim striding down the aisle removing his shirt as he came. "Let me take his whipp'n," he begged.
The teacher was aghast, but knowing that justice must be demonstrated, he consented and laid the belt to the back of Big Jim with such force that even the stronger boy winced and his eyes watered. But Billy never forgot the day that Big Jim took his place.
"Do this in remembrance of me," says Jesus. In other words, remember and believe that Jesus is the Passover Lamb whose body was given and whose blood was shed for you and in your place.
II Remember the Eternal Banquet
A In the Passover, God's people looked in two directions. First, they looked to the past; they remembered how the Angel of the Lord passed over the Israelite houses marked with the blood of the Passover lamb; they remembered the great deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Second, they also looked to the future, to the final deliverance and the eternal Passover.
In instituting the Lord's Supper it is clear from our Scripture reading that Christ also would have us look both to the past and to the future. As I already said, He wants us to remember the past – that He is the Passover Lamb whose body was given and whose blood was shed for us and in our place. It is equally clear that Christ also would have us remember a future banquet:
(Lk 22:15-18) And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. (16) For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." (17) After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. (18) For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."Christ talks here of a future meal, what we know as the Messianic wedding banquet.
"Do this in remembrance of me," says Christ. In other words, even as we eat and drink at the Lord's Table we are to remember that this is but a foreshadowing of the perfect meal and perfect fellowship of the heavenly banquet.
B More than once, the Bible depicts the future life as a Messianic wedding banquet:
(Is 25:6) On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine--the best of meats and the finest of wines (cf Rev 19:7).As we eat the bread and drink the wine of the Lord's Supper we are to remember, we are to look forward to, that future banquet. In other words, we are to remember Christ's return in glory. The Apostle Paul speaks of this when he says,
(Rev 19:9) Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." (cf Mt 22:2f; 25:10f; Lk 14:16f)
(1Cor 11:26) For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. By eating and drinking, we are proclaiming the return of Christ as the host of the heavenly wedding banquet.
"Do this in remembrance of me," says Christ. In other words, we are to remember His return in glory as the host of that future banquet reserved for the redeemed. At that time, there will be perfect communion, a perfect table fellowship, between God and believer. Christ Himself will feed us and give us the bread and wine of life everlasting.
C "Do this in remembrance of me," says Christ. What we also need to remember is that not everyone gains entrance into the heavenly banquet hall. Jesus told us two parables about this. The first is the Parable of the Wedding Banquet (Mt 22:1-14; cf Lk 14:15-24). Jesus says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son ..." In this parable we see that the first invited guests refused to attend, so they were destroyed. This parable ends with an improperly dressed guest being thrown out of the wedding hall. There is also another parable – the Parable of the Ten Virgins. When the five foolish virgins arrive at the banquet hall the door was shut and they were denied entrance.
Not everyone gains entrance into the eternal wedding banquet. Those who refuse the Gospel call are denied entrance. Those who are not clothed in faith, hope, and love are denied entrance. Those who are unprepared, who can't bother to make themselves ready for the Lord, are denied entrance. What we have to remember, congregation, is that the hour of the Messianic banquet is also the hour of the final judgment.
"Do this in remembrance of me." In other words, as you come to the Lord's Table, as you foreshadow the eternal wedding banquet, make sure that you have answered the Gospel call; make sure you are clothed with faith, hope, and love; make sure you have made yourself ready for the Lord. "Do this in remembrance of me." In other words, make sure that yours is a place in the eternal banquet hall.
In a few minutes we will be eating the bread and drinking the wine of the Lord's Supper. "Do this in remembrance of me," says Jesus. Remember and believe that He is the Passover Lamb whose body was given and whose blood was shed for us and in our place. Remember and believe that there awaits God's believing children an eternal wedding banquet.
"Do this in remembrance of me."
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