Lord's Supper Service - 1/6/2019

Series: Special Occasions

January 06, 2019
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

Success magazine published an article called “44 Ways to Kick-Start Your New Year.” They had asked a bunch of experts, their readers, and staff what they would do to get the new year off to a good start.

On the first Sunday of this new year, it wouldn’t hurt to look at a few of those 44 things…

1. Expand your thinking with new experiences.

“Each month for 30 days in a row, commit to doing something new that you have thought about doing, but have not done, and notice how it affects your life. Some possibilities: do aerobic exercise for 30 minutes, listen to only positive music, don’t read the newspaper, stop watching television, eat only vegetarian or raw food, verbally appreciate at least 10 people a day, get eight hours of sleep…” —Jack Canfield, co-founder of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

2. Write letters to three people in your life to let them know what they mean to you.

5. Make a commitment to fitness.

I’ll just leave that one there. I have found that people are just touchy about that.

7. Invest in a bright financial future.

9. Practice the one-a-day principle.

You can’t delight everybody all the time but you can do something extraordinary for someone each day. Find a customer, colleague, relative or a friend each day and do something remarkable. Using the one-a-day principle will make your business and life remarkable.—Mark Sanborn, leadership development speaker and author of the best-selling book The Encore Effect

19. Get a whole new hairstyle or haircut.

29. Do something that scares you.

37. Plan a trip to a place you have always wanted to go.

39. Clean out your closet and donate unwanted clothes to charity.

44. Lower your blood pressure.

I don’t know about those things for the New Year, but I do know what we, as the community of faith, as followers of Christ, can do to start off the New Year right: celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. And that’s what we are gonna do.

Now in all my 25+ years of preaching Lord’s Supper sermons, I’ve stuck to the standard texts:

Paul’s word to the Corinthian Christians in 1 Corinthians chapter 11.

Matthew’s version of Jesus’ last supper in Matthew 26.

Mark’s version in chapter 14.

Or Lukes version in chapter 24.

They all present what has become an ordinance in the church where we symbolically break bread and drink juice representing the body and blood of Jesus, just like they did that evening.

But I’ve never preached John’s account of that night. And I don’t think I’ve heard anyone else do it either. Probably because it’s so different, and in some ways doesn’t seem to fit the occasion. He doesn’t mention the “this is my body, this is my blood” part at all.

All of John’s gospel is different than the others by the way. He wrote it from a different perspective.

Look with me at John 13, where John tells us what happened just prior to their sharing their last meal together before Jesus was crucified…

John 13:1–30 (ESV) — 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 

STOP. John quickly lets us know that a betrayer was present at the Lord’s table that night. Remember that.

This is the part the other gospels don’t tell us about…

2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 

The act of foot-washing is foreign and strange to us, but it was common and very functional in Jesus’ day. As people walked about their feet would get dusty. So when you entered someone’s home it was customary for them to do exactly what Jesus did with a towel and bowl of water.

However, as one Bible scholar writes:

“…touching feet was regarded as menial slave work and as such was primarily an assignment given to Gentile slaves and women. Students were responsible to rabbis or teachers to perform menial tasks of labor, but touching feet was clearly not expected. In a society that was very conscious of status symbols of shame and honor, such as the touching or washing of feet, was an extremely important matter.”

This helps us understand why good old Peter pitched a fit…

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” 8 Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 

Peter’s intentions were always good. He was trying to show Jesus honor. Jesus was of such stature and rank that there was no way he was letting him do such a demeaning thing.

Jesus lets him know that unless he submits, he can’t be a part of what Jesus is doing. Bless his heart, he goes from one extreme to the other…

9 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.” 

John lets us know again a betrayer was at the Lord’s table. Remember that.

12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? 13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. 16 Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 

What Jesus was trying to show Peter and the other disciples was that in God’s kingdom, the last are first, the least are the greatest, and those who want to lead must serve.

Did I mention there was a betrayer at the Lord’s table?

18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” 21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. 

Evil things are done under the cover of darkness. Judas, under the influence of the devil himself, went out and found those looking for a way to take Jesus down. For 30 pieces of silver, he betrayed the perfect, sinless, prince of peace. You know that sad and tragic story.

We are probably tempted to hate Judas. To judge him.

I mean if there were anyone in the history of the world we felt comfortable looking down upon morally, anyone we felt okay comparing ourselves to, it would be Judas, right?

At least we could say, “I’m a better person than he was. I haven’t done anything like that. I haven’t betrayed Jesus.”

It always makes us feel better to compare ourselves to those beneath us but hang on a minute.

Ever wondered why Judas did what he did? He was one of the twelve. He saw all the same miracles and heard all the same sermons as the others who went on to proclaim that God had come to us in the flesh, yet he denied all that.

Some say it was because Jesus wasn’t radical enough in his movement. Judas wanted the Jesus who was to come the second time around and not the first, the Jesus who came with a flaming sword on a white horse and not the Jesus who hung on a cross.

Others say it was because he eventually found Jesus’ claims dangerous to the cause of Jewish independence from Rome. Jesus was going to get himself killed and possibly crush the rebellion.

One well-known pastor, though, I think nails the true underlying reason:

 “[Judas] was offended by Jesus’ personal claims of lordship over his individual life… Jesus doesn’t just say, ‘I’m your Teacher.’ He says, ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and you’re right, for that is what I am.’ Judas was wrestling with that and saying, ‘Well, it’s one thing to be my teacher, but it’s another thing to say you’re my teacher and my king. Nobody has the right to tell me what to do.’”

We see sin as the breaking of God’s law, and it most certainly is, but sin is so much more than just that.

Don’t believe me? The Pharisees kept God’s laws down to the details but Jesus called them children of the devil.

Sin at its core, in its essence, is saying to God, “Show me how to live a better life, how to get a good start on the new year, but don’t tell me what to do. Be my teacher but DO NOT be my Lord.

“No one tells me what to do with my body. No one tells me who I can marry. No one tells me what truth is; my truth is my own. No one forces me to see that person as my neighbor and love him. No one’s going to tell me what I’m doing is wrong.”

Sin is me saying “hands off” to God in any area of my life. If that’s true (and it is) then just as there was a betrayer at the Lord’s table that night, there’s a betrayer at the Lord’s table today. In fact, there are lots of betrayers here today.

Every one of us here today is all about Jesus being our teacher, our example, our comfort, our joy, but if we really understand the implications of him being Lord, master, the sovereign king of our lives, we back off. 

May I be the first to admit this morning that I’m a betrayer at the Lord’s table? Paul made it clear in his letter to the Romans: We all have sinned and missed God’s mark.

Conclusion: If we just left it there we’d have to leave right now. Thankfully, though, there’s more to all this.

I’ll let Tim Keller explain:

[If you come to the Table here, what can you expect from him? What do you expect? What does he do to Judas? There’s a betrayer at the table. What does he do? Does Jesus Christ get up and say … Especially, for example, when John asks him, “Who is it?” does Jesus Christ get up and say, “Men, there’s a traitor at the table. There’s a scum, there’s a disease, there’s a louse here, and that’s the man?” Is that what he does?

…Jesus… continually brings the subject up, and even at the end, personally serves Judas some bread… [but] nobody at the table knew who the… the traitor was. Why is Jesus so discreet? Why is he so careful? Why won’t he tell anybody else? 

Because he’s not trying to shatter Judas; he’s trying to melt his heart. He’s not trying to condemn Judas; he’s trying to convert Judas. He’s not trying to keep Judas from partaking; he’s trying to get Judas to understand what the meal means and what he’s doing…

What is Jesus saying to the betrayers at his Table? He doesn’t say, “Get out, you King of the Jews.” He doesn’t say, “Get out of my life.” He would never treat us the way we treat him. Never. What is he saying? He says, “I see you,” and he does it in the most discreet way. He doesn’t tell your friends.

Some of you are at this Table with some pretty bad things in your life. Some of you wouldn’t want anyone else to know just how consumed with anger you are today. Some of you wouldn’t want anyone to know how consumed with envy you are today. Some of you wouldn’t want anyone to know how consumed with fantasies you are today, which is basically envy. Some of you wouldn’t want anyone to know just how racked with guilt you are about something.

Get this: He won’t tell anybody. This is the loving Savior. He’s here, though, to melt you. He’s saying, “I see you and I love you and I want you to get rid of these things.” He is not saying, “Don’t partake.” He’s saying, “Understand what it means to partake. Drop the things in your life that are keeping you from full submission to my authority. I am your life.” Do you hear him? Don’t you dare stay hard under the love of the Savior who burns bright and hot for you. Don’t you dare.

You say, “I’m scared. I’m scared to really obey him, to really step out and obey him and trust him today. I’m scared of it. I don’t have the courage for it.” Dear friends, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the determination to do what you fear. He is saying, “I’ll take you by the hand and I’ll lead you right there.” What should you say to him today? You should say, “Your patience has melted my heart. I deed to you the entire house.”]

Want to get a great start to this new year? Come to the Lord’s table today and let Jesus melt your heart with his love and grace and mercy.

It’s hard to give ourselves over to him as Lord, but how can we not knowing how much he loves us.

Right after that last supper, Jesus was betrayed into the hands of his enemies and took our place on that cross.

Content Copyright Belongs to Pleasant View First Baptist Church