Friday, October 4, 2013

How much Jesus loves you - a Lord's supper meditation

Luke 22:15 "And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."

John 13:1-5 "Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper,the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus,knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4  got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded."

I am always struck by how Jesus demonstrated His love on the eve of His crucifixion.  The main event of that night was the final Passover meal he had with them. That meal was transformed by Jesus into one of the prescribed ordinances for His church - the Lord's Supper.  In today's post I want us to consider how Jesus expressed His love in that meal.  Jesus Christ is ever present by His Spirit with His people when the church gathers together to celebrate His covenant meal. The Holy Spirit's ministry in the celebration of the Lord's supper is two fold: to bring to us the Person and presence of Jesus Christ and to aid the people of God in reflecting, remembering and rejoicing in Jesus' achievement of salvation and His soon return.  

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 states: "Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ? 17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread."  The symbols of the bread and fruit of the vine are signs conveying the invisible presence of Christ who is, by His Spirit, in and with His people. The love He expresses in a concentrated way to the believer's heart in the Lord's supper is the love He ministers always by His word.   Being that Christ is pleased to still minister by His Spirit to His people, the love we see expressed in this final scene with his disciples has meaning for us. Note how Jesus loved his disciples and how He loves you as a Christian living in this present day:

1. Personal love of Jesus for you. Lk 22:14-15
Luke 22:14-15 states: "When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer". The underlined phrase "earnestly desired" is the strongest way one can express one's personal desire for something in the original language. Jesus was expressing not only His intense desire to be with His disciples, but also His willingness to go to the cross on their behalf. Quite literally in the original text of Luke Jesus would had said: "I have desired, desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer!" The love Jesus has for His people is intensely personal.  Unrelenting and unyielding is the Savior's love for those whom He purchased and redeemed with His blood. (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:22-25) 

Those words he spoke to his disciples on that night still ring true every time we gather as Christians to celebrate the ordinance of the Lord's table.  Jesus by His Spirit meets with His church as the Word is preached, and in our hearts, by His Spirit, every time we celebrate the Lord's supper in conjunction with the preaching of the Word. Hebrews 2:13b-14 communicates the reality of Christ's personal love as pictured in the Lord's supper and in those times when God's people gather to hear His voice, by the Spirit in the scriptures. So the Lord's supper points to the fact of Jesus' Personal love, but notice what else is communicated about Jesus love for you as a Christian....

2. Prevailing love of Jesus for you. Jn 13:1
John 13:1 states - "Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end." The NASB renders the fact that Jesus loved His disciples to the very end.  Jesus communicates this love, by His Spirit, to the heart of every Christian by His Word. Jesus' promise in Matthew 28:20 is true for us: "teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Hebrews 13:5 promises that Jesus will never leave nor forsake the Christian.  Truly in the Lord's supper, the Spirit reminds you and me of Jesus' personal and prevailing love, but notice thirdly...

3. Proven love of Jesus for you. Jn 13:2-5
Jesus demonstrated His love for his disciples by doing what He did in light of the knowledge He had about what was about to take place. Jesus knew that the hour had come (John 13:1); knew that He would depart and go to the Father forty days after His resurrection (John 13:1; Acts 1:11); had knowledge of Judas' plot and Satan's possession of him (John 13:1,21) and knew that the hours following this first Lord's supper were in the Father's hands (John 13:4).  

Let me ask you a question dear reader: if you knew that someone was going to betray you and that you were going to die for people who otherwise did not love you, how would that impact your love? Jesus' love not only was stated to his disciples, but demonstrated.  His act of washing their feet was a profound expression of proving his undying commitment to them. Such undying commitment of love would lead to His dying in commitment to love.  

Whenever we partake of the bread and fruit of the vine, the Spirit brings to our hearts and minds the proven love of Jesus.  His cross, His empty tomb and the reality of His present reign are all ministered to our memories by the Spirit of God.  There have been times in celebrating the Lord's supper where the Spirit of God, by the scriptures being read, has affirmed to me that Jesus is with me, no matter what.   Again in keeping with 1 Corinthians 10:17 "Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread." 

Today we considered how much Jesus loves you as a true believer in Him as communicated by the bread and fruit of the vine in the Lord's supper.  By that wonderful ordinance the Spirit points us to the fact that Jesus ever loves us with personal, prevailing and proven love. 

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