Sunday, March 06, 2005

A Supper to Never Forget!

Intro: The church changes over the years.

  1. The design of our facilities, the role and type of preaching, the use of small groups or the lack there of, the use of technology – whethr it be the organ or the use of projected music, the role of the laity in the work of the church. The church changes.

  2. Yet the Lord's Supper continues to be a central part of the church's worship.

Read Mark 14:12-26

T.S. Six months ago we began our march through Mark.

  1. At that point we worked through Mark 1-8

  2. We are spending Lent completing our study of Mark

  3. It seems only appropriate that as we come to our normal Sunday to serve communion, that we take a few minutes to look at the meal Jesus used to establish the service which has been part of the church since its beginning.

  4. As we gather for communion this morning, we are participating in an event that has been part of the church's practice for nearly 2000 years.

  5. Not some new way of worshiping, but an act of worship that was instituted by Jesus himself on the night prior to his death.

  6. As we spend the next few minutes looking at the people in attendance at that first communion service, we might better understand our own presence there this morning.

  1. Judas Iscariot

    1. Jesus was perfect – a given for all of us that believe in Him

    2. And, somehow, we expect Him to keep holy, wonderful, nice people around Him

    3. Yet, here at the table, sits a man that is not so holy, that is not so nice

    4. And in fact in a few short hours he will kiss Jesus on the cheek to begin the events that will lead to Jesus' crucifixion.

    5. Jesus does not handle Judas the way I would – Here Jesus is at his very last dinner and still he invites the one man who will betray Him.

    6. Jesus, even as approaches his death, is capable of offering grace.

(Ill.) A story is told of a man who was released from prison and went looking for a job. He applied for the position of a guard of a jewelry store. He never told his new boss about his background. But he did his job well – at least until one of his old buddies found him. The buddy decided to push the issue asking such questions, “Does your boss know about your background?”, “What would happen if your boss found out about your background?” And then the final question, “How much are you willing to pay for me not to tell?”

The ex-prisoner spent much of his life hiding his past. It was a miserable life.

But what if the jeweler had gone to the prison and asked the prisoner to guard his store. There would be nothing that could be held over the head of the prisoner. That is exactly what Jesus does –

(Appl.) Jesus offers anyone, no matter how broken, his grace. Each of us must decide what we will do with that grace. Judas rejected it and went on to betray Jesus. Each of us must decide whether we will accept or reject the grace that is offered.

  1. The Disciples

    1. But Judas was not the only one that was out of place.

    2. There were twelve other me present that would not expect to find themselves to be in the presence of God.

    3. I mean, here were some rough men –

      1. Matthew was a tax collector who was allowed to set his own rates, I bet he was loved

      2. Six of these men were fisherman – There is no reason to think that there language was any less salty as any sailor today.

      3. Simon was a member of a political group whose main purpose was to stir up trouble – the Zealots.

(Ill.) John MacArthur had a number of words to describe these eleven men. As men whose homes lay around the Sea of Galilee, the 1st century population thought of these men as being low class, uneducated people, commoners, nobodies, peons, rabble.

    1. What right did these eleven men have to spend with the Son of God?

    2. And yet Jesus went looking for these men. He called them - “Follow me” was the common theme. God took eleven ordinary people and used them to transform the world.

(Appl.) God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Jesus did not choose the high and mighty, Jesus did not choose the princes or priests to begin the church. Rather he chose rather ordinary people-fisherman, tax collectors, working class people. And these eleven people began to transform their world. It was people like you and me that were called to spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  1. Jesus

    1. We can probably argue that Judas shouldn't have been there. You can probably understand why I doubt that the apostles were there.

    2. But you many be surprised that I am also surprised that Jesus is there.

    3. After all, here is the one that was present at the creation of the universe. Here is the firstborn of creation. Here is God of God, the Lord of Lord. This is the one over which God proclaimed, “This is my beloved son, listen to Him.” Jesus was God.

    4. And the world had walked away from Him. The had gone their own way, making their own rules – with little regard to what God expected or wanted.

    5. I would not expect expect God to show up under the circumstances. Yet he does.

(Ill.) I think our President got a sense of what I am saying when he said in March of 2001, “To those with Power, [the gospel message] has caused dictators to fear and to fall. His is not the power of armies or technology or wealth. It is the unexpected power of a baby in a stable, of a man on a cross.”

    1. I would not expect Jesus to be there – but he was.

    2. He was very much aware of in a few hours he would allow his life be given as a sacrifice – not just for these eleven men, but for the whole world.

    3. Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.

    4. The sacrifice was yet to come. But as the church for the last 2000 years continues to remember that sacrifice each time it participates in Communion.

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