The Lord's Supper. What does it mean to us today? Is it just a routine we have developed into tradition, or is it something we were commanded to do? Is it simply another part of our service, or does it mean anything to us today?
What is the Lord's Supper to us today? Let's begin with a little context. We begin with his death. A crucifixion was reserved for the worst offenders of Hebrew law, but Jesus wasn't simply crucified. He was scourged first, a scourging involved ripping the shirt off of the person and getting a heavy whip with bits of rock or bone attached at the ends meant to tear skin. It was customary to give 39 lashes as oftentimes, 40 was enough to kill the person.
Afterwards, Jesus's crucifixion began. Before the execution actually begins, the person had to make the journey to the execution site while holding the cross which weighed roughly 110 pounds. Once the journey is completed, his hands and nailed to the sides of the cross and his feet are pressed together and nailed to the lower portion of the cross. This caused your knees to bend slightly and twisted your body a bit.
There was a small beam on the cross that you could sit on, but it caused more pain as you had to contort your body to sit there. While you were moving, the nails were digging deeper and deeper into your skin causing more and more pain as you sat down to rest for a brief second, then lifted your body up to breathe. This sequence of events lasted throughout the entire ordeal.
The form of crucifixion Jesus suffered was known as a crucifracture where in order to speed up the process, your legs are broken preventing you from getting air and resting as easily. This was done because the sabbath day was approaching.
Crucifixions were also psychological. As it was saved for only the worst of the worst, it was written in Galatians 3:13.
Jesus who was without sin, became sin for us. But the worst had to be when God himself turned his eye from his son leading to Jesus's second to last saying on the cross "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Because Jesus took on all of the sins of the world, he essentially became sin and was then sacrificed with the sins of the world.
During the crucifixion lots were taken for Jesus's belongings, people gave him a scepter and mocked him, saying "Hail, king of the Jews!" while slapping his face, and other people bowed their knee to him sarcastically. Jesus wasn't crucified alone, he had 2 thieves next to him.
Now that we have the physical context, let's go back a bit to the mount of Olives. Matthew 26 starting with verse 31 to verse 35.
Before the crucifixion even began he knew two of his own would betray him. One 3 times, another leads to his capture. That had to weigh heavily on his heart as he spent a good deal of his ministry with these men. The emotion and sorrow in his prayers to God in the garden must have been overwhelming during his prayers.
Judas then comes with the multitude and attempts to capture Jesus, and Peter draws his sword and cuts the ear off one of the servants of the high priest.
Now I would like to read verses 52 to 56.
Indeed Jesus could have prevented this, but knowing that his time has come and this needed to be done, he gave himself up to his oppressors. The amount of love Jesus has for us is very clear. He could have called 12 legions of angels to escape, but he willingly heeded so he could be the ultimate sin sacrifice. And as verse 56 states, his own apostles fled him. Save for God, he was all alone.
When Jesus was lead off to Caiaphas, Peter followed afar off, and while watching the proceedings we have what is recorded in verses 69-75.
This had to weigh on his mind while he was being tried. That Judas denied him, giving him to the mob, his own apostles left him, and Peter following from a distance was to deny him 3 times.
With all this in mind, I'd like to now speak of the Lord's Supper. Before they arrive in the upper room, Jesus tells his apostles to find a donkey tied with a colt, and to bring them to him. He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey sitting on the coats of his apostles, while the crowd laid their coats on the road as he passed [Matthew 21 1-11.]
So everything up to this point has shown Jesus' humility. Riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus willingly giving himself up to the mob, him being sacrificed beside 2 thieves, and eventually him being sacrificed with God not able to see his own son!
Matthew 26: 26-30
During this event, everything up to this point had to be weighing on Jesus's mind. He knew he had to be sacrificed, that his own followers would leave him, 2 would even betray him, and that his death would be a cursed one.
This sets the theme for the Lord's Supper and are things we should consider while partaking of the Lord's Supper. Jesus's life was one of servitude and his death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice necessary to give us the chance of forgiveness of sins.