We'll be looking at the last supper Jesus had with His disciples before His crucifixion in today's episode. We'll also talk about how essential it is to remember and reinforce what's important by repetition like we do whenever we take the bread and drink the cup, marveling once again at what Christ did for us. Join us for an important conversation today.
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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to the Sweet Selah Moments Podcast. Spring is on its way and with it the very special Easter season. We hope this Easter series will refresh you as you stop for a little moment and listen in. This Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to episode 36: We Need to Remember. As we get closer and closer to the most holy holiday of the year for Christians, today we talk about Communion, a special way of eating and remembering. But before we study what Jesus did to institute that practice, let’s talk about why remembering important events matter. Sharon, let’s talk about weddings for a moment. What do you remember about yours and why does that matter?
Well, I had not the wedding I had planned, Nicole. We were supposed to get married in October, which is my favorite month of the year. It was supposed to be on a normal day, a Saturday, and then we were going to have a normal honeymoon, but Ray was at West Point at the time and he broke his ankle right before graduation and so he couldn’t take his final PT test.
So he had to wait till his ankle healed and not graduate with his class in June, then take his PT test and graduate in July and then go to Officer’s Basic. So basically our wedding got shoved to November instead, on a Thursday night because he had to report to work on that Monday in Fort Meade, Maryland. So we had this really short honeymoon and kind of a rushed wedding because we had to do it late enough for all the guests that worked to be able to get there.
But early enough that, you know, people like my grandparents could get home and get to bed. So it was, it was wild. But what I remember most about it and why it’s important that I remember this, is the rehearsal dinner the night before and the rehearsal itself, because Ray had just come in. I hadn’t seen him in three months. He’d driven all the way from Alabama to get there in time for this quick little wedding. And it was so wonderful to see him again after all those months apart. And of course we had four years apart at West Point too. So it was like finally, we’re going to be together. So there was no pressure during the rehearsal. So when the pastor had us practice our vows and we really said them, we meant them. It was so Holy. And I felt like the wedding day itself, I was more performing because I’d already said them. And I had meant them. That I would love him till death do us part. And so I had that very rich, beautiful memory of Ray’s eyes shining into mine and saying vows that we’ve kept. Although there have been times when it was remembering that I said till death do us part, that kept us together. So how about you? What about your memories and why do they matter?
I know they do matter. They keep us going. I think you’re right about remembering those special days. I have two, I have a funny one and a sweet one. So I’ll tell you my funny wedding story. So Josh had four of his best friends for groomsmen, and one of them is just like, he’s just so funny. He’s always cracking a joke. He’s always just keeping the spirit light. Well, he was in charge of pulling my aisle runner down. You know, like the little carpet thing with the rope and I wanted that aisle runner. So he and one of the other groomsmen was in charge of pulling it down. As I started walking down the aisle, his side of the rope caught on the aisle runner and started ripping. Well, he kept walking since he didn’t know what else to do and so the aisle runner got smaller and smaller and smaller, until this little sliver at the end. And I’m rounding the corner with my dad in my dress and I’m fighting back tears and nerves. And I look, and I see the aisle runner and then I look up and I see all the groomsmen’s faces and Josh just looking at him at me in horror, like, Oh no, waiting for my reaction. And I burst out laughing. It was just too funny because their faces looked just like they felt so bad.
They must have been so relieved you laughed. And didn’t turn around.
I know… (like) I’m done. I’m not walking this aisle. So walking down the aisle, I was just laughing and trying not to trip on the ever increasingly smaller little runway.
Oh, that’s cute.
But to this day he still feels bad about it. It’s so funny. Oh, the aisle runner. And I’m like, it’s okay. I shouldn’t have bought it online. It was probably too cheap. That’s my funny one That was good you know, it broke up the nerves for us all. And my favorite memory was our ceremony too. Towards the end of our ceremony, we did this hand ceremony and it went something like, ‘These are the hands that will hold you and care for you. And these are the hands that will have fun with you, but also reach for you when they’re old and wrinkly.” And that always stuck with me. You kind of forget some of the details of your wedding because you’re nervous and you know, but I always remember that. And even now, like we’ll reach for each other’s hand to hold it. And I’m like, Oh, like we’re still holding hands. And that’s really important, you know? Cause we made that promise to each other and to God, and it has been hard. Marriage is very difficult as we all know. And just having that physical reminder that we made that promise when we hold hands is a good reminder for us.
I like that. And you’re never going to lose your hands, God-willing.
Right! Hopefully not.
So they will be always there for you. I think that’s beautiful. Really, really neat. Well, it’s important to remember because it’s easy to walk away from some of the things that seem so poignant and real in the moment.
And I think that the reason we have a ceremony like a wedding is to make that commitment a big enough deal that it sticks in our brains. I really do.
Mm, that’s a good point.
And I think that’s why we have ceremony with communion, why Jesus established something like that because the act of doing something out of the ordinary helps make it significant and helps us remember.
Right. It marks it different than the every day.
So yeah, yeah, I thinks that’s really something. So, well in the same way that we need to remember what we promised on our wedding days. We absolutely need to remember what Jesus did for us because we’re so prone to forget. It’s actually why we need anniversary celebrations too. Ray and I always make a point to at least go out to dinner on our anniversary. And, you know, another way we remember is that weddings, when we watch another couple say their vows, we hold hands. There’s that hand thing and kind of squeeze kind of like, yeah, yeah. For better or for worse. Oh, poor bride up there doesn’t know the, for worse.
Hang on sweet girl.
But here we are, we’ve come through the better and the worse. So it’s really, really sweet.
Oh, I love that.
We’ve always made it a point to celebrate our anniversary too. It’s just, I think some people get like, Oh yeah, you don’t need to do that or do Valentine’s day. But it’s really important to make the effort because I know what you said. Well, we shouldn’t celebrate Valentine’s day cause we show love the other 364, but do we really? Do I really remember to write him a nice card or you know, plan a special dinner, just the two of us? So for me, our, our anniversary and Valentine’s Day, and these special days help me to stop and really focus on showing my husband love, you know, telling him that he matters. So I think it’s important you know?
It is, it is because in day-to-day life, you don’t, you can’t make a special dinner every night. Let’s be real.
You know, and buying a card, they’re expensive. They’re ridiculous. Five dollars for a card! What is that?
They’re so expensive. I know. Do you know my favorite card was a handmade card by Josh? So you don’t have to go spend a lot of money, people. Just get some construction paper.
He made you a card?
He made me a card. He cut out a heart from construction paper. He folded it in half and on the outside he wrote ‘me without you’. And then I opened the heart and it was a full heart and it said, ‘me with you’.
It’s my favorite. I still have it. I mean, it took him five minutes to make that and cost him, you know, 20 cents. But that meant so much to me. So it doesn’t take much to show. It doesn’t.
Yeah. But little things like that matter, they just do.
They really do. Absolutely.
So good, so good! Well. Now it’s time to read our passage of scripture for today and go to remembering Jesus. So let’s set the scene. Jesus had turned his face back towards Jerusalem and his death when he chose to help Mary and Martha, when Lazarus died. He raised Lazarus from the dead and the crowd cheered him into the city, lauding him as Messiah and coming King, even though he rode a donkey, not a warhorse. And now it’s Passover, that precious time each year when the Jews remember that their homes were passed over by the Angel of Death because they slaughtered a pure and innocent lamb and smeared its blood on their doorways. Well, Jesus is about to give a whole new meaning to Passover. Nicole, would you pray for us before we stop and read God’s word and enjoy this Sweet Selah moment?
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you so much that we’re able to just be together and read the word and watch as you walk toward your death in order to save us. Lord, help us to hear what you have for us to learn from this passage, Lord, and help us to live it out too, and show other people the love that you showed for us when you sacrificed your life for us Lord, in your name, we pray. Amen.
Amen. Well, Luke 22:1-20, I’ll start with verse one. “Now the festival of unleavened bread called the Passover was approaching
And the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus for they were afraid of the people.
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the twelve.
And Judas went to the chief priest and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.
They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
He consented and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Then came the day of unleavened bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
Jesus sent Peter and John saying, go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.
‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ They asked.
He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters.
And say to the owner of the house. The teacher asks, where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples.
He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished, make preparations there.’
They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover
When the hour came Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.
And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
For I tell you I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you.
For I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’.
And he took bread and gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me’.
In the same way after the supper, he took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’.
Nicole, what does this passage reveal about Jesus’ thoughts during that traditional Passover celebration?
I think that he must have thought it was worth doing, to make time before his death, which was coming right up, to make sure they celebrated it. I think it shows that his thoughts were on his disciples and trying to make sure that they understood what he was going to do. And I also think he was thinking of us, Sharon, you know, as future Christians. He seems to have set this up for us to do as well, to remember his sacrifice.
Yeah. And I bet when he broke that bread, because he says, you know, this is my body broken for you, at one point in one of the gospels, he’s thinking about his body about to break. And he’s looking, he’s looking at the ones for whom he will break, you know, and then his blood poured out when he pours the wine in the cup, his blood poured out. The suffering that he went through was incredible. So I think he knew that he, well of course he knew, that he was the Passover Lamb and that all of a sudden, instead of innocent little lambs being killed every year, he was the once and for all pure sacrifice whose blood was shed for us and the remembering would be all new and so permanent. It wouldn’t have to be a ritual every or all the time because he once and for all did it. There would be no more lambs that needed to be killed, which I’m really glad about.
Well, there’s one more passage of scripture we’re going to look at and it’s found in first Corinthians 11. It’s actually where we see how firmly established this remembering of Jesus really was in the early church. They’d already made it a pattern. And of course, we keep that pattern today. So would you read it for us? It’s first Corinthians 11:23- 34.
Sure. “For I received from the Lord, which I also pass on to you, the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me’. In the same way after supper, he took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup, for those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ, eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick. And a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way, by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be fully condemned with the world. So then my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home so that when you meet together, it may not result in judgment. And when I come, I will give further directions’.”
So interesting. They must’ve had a full meal together. You know, when we do communion, we have a little bit of bread; a tiny little grape drink.
Not enough to drink till you’re full. That’s for sure.
Right, right, right. So they must have made it part of a whole meal, which is fascinating.
Yeah, it is interesting.
And then they were treating it more like a feast instead of the remembering part.
Which wasn’t so good. So, okay. Well, there are some standard things that should be a part of every Lord’s supper, every remembering time, every communion. So let’s talk about them together, Nicole.
The first thing I think is the examination of oneself before partaking. The part where we need to look at our own selves and say, ‘Lord, is there anything in me that has displeased you because I know I can confess it and you will cleanse me? And I want to come to this table with no unconfessed sin’. So, I love that you can confess and Jesus wipes, you clean. And that is actually the whole point of remembering that it’s his blood poured out for us. So, but that has to happen. And I know in our church anyways, there’s usually a little bit of space and there’s music playing and there’s time to get our hearts right. And part of that for me too, is making myself focus once again on what Jesus did for me, so that I am literally being brought back to that remembering time. So I think that’s neat.
Oh, I know that’s so good. Yeah, I always like that time. It’s so nice to that cause sometimes, you know, in my prayer time, sometimes I’m praying for others or I’m going through my little prayer list or whatever, but you don’t always have that really, ‘Okay, stop, look, God, what is it? Is there something I’m not confessing? Is there something I’m holding on to?’ So it’s a really important time.
It sure is.
Yeah, no, it’s kind of neat. When we first came to Eliot, there was a message from Pastor Stan about communion and it changed my whole perspective of that at that beginning time. My dad was in the military, so we moved all over, all over the place and we ended up in several different churches and some of them are pretty legalistic.
Oh, they can be. Yeah.
And I felt like they got, um, I got the wrong impression of that beginning time where it was too much condemnation and too much of what I needed to do to make myself good enough to come to the table. So I was terrified that I would forget a sin or that I wasn’t good enough to take communion. And there was a time in my late teens where I didn’t take communion at all because I just thought that I couldn’t get myself clean enough. And then Pastor Stan had said one Sunday, he said that the communion table was for sinners and that we’re supposed to run to that table. And Sharon, it was just the flood gates opened. I was just sitting there in church, crying on God. You want me to come as I am, you clean me. I don’t have to clean myself first because I can’t, clearly I’ve been trying for years. And it was this beautiful moment of removing that condemnation. Just like, okay, God, what are my sins? You will bring them to light and you will help me to lay them before you so that you can cleanse them.
Right. And I don’t have to panic that I’ve forgotten one.
Oh, I can see, isn’t it… Oh, Satan is so evil!
He’s so tricky… something so beautiful.
He twists things. Yes, we’re to self-examine, but, but no condemnation and accusation is straight from him. I love how Stan put that.
I just loved him, that change.
Sinners should run to the table.
Yes. He said, this table is made to run to the table.
Right. We’re no longer stuck.
The fact that his blood shed and his body broken is what has made it okay for us to come.
Isn’t that amazing? So I just… It’s changed communion for me. It’s such a joyful time now. I come excited to give him my sins, like take it away again.
You do that so much better than I do.
Oh, I love it.
So I do love that part of communion.
Yeah. Well the next part after the examination is the bread. Talk to us about the bread.
So yeah, I think back then they must have had more of a feast. One church we had gone to, they did pass out giant rolls. We all kind of ripped off a big piece of a dinner roll and that was unique cause usually at most churches it’s a little wafer or a little cracker.
And I think that does help us not come and think it’s a party or a feast and just eat too much. But yeah, usually there’s a little piece of bread and we take it and remember that this is part of God’s sacrifice to us; his body that was broken for us.
It’s an important part of it.
It’s wonderful. And, and the ceremony itself of remembering that, solidifies it in our mind. And it helps us identify with Christians all over the planet who take bread and say, we remember, we’re not forgetting. So yeah. Well then of course the cup, the next step, and that is to remember blood poured out. Just poured out on our behalf. And I don’t know about you, but I like my blood best when I don’t see it. You know, it needs to stay under the skin, and not show up where I look at it. That’s not where it belongs. And the thought of just all that Jesus went through, from the crown of thorns that pierced his head to the whips that just shredded his back, you know, and then carrying a cross on top of that back. Oh, you know, there’s just so much there. And yet he, he walked toward that willingly from the moment he set his face towards Jerusalem. He knew what he was doing and he chose it for us. So we remember when we drink that cup of blood poured out, poured out for us.
And then the eating together, the unity part, I think that part is so important. We are so prone to forget and to wander, but to have that fellowship of all sitting together to remember Christ, we can keep each other accountable. And there’s just this feeling of connection, like we are the body of Christ. To look over and see everyone, you know, praying and remembering Christ’s sacrifice together. I love that part.
I do too. I think there’s an identity thing that goes on there. There’s a couple of sacraments that Protestants and Catholics share and that’s baptism, although we do it differently, but, and then communion.
Yeah, that’s right.
The breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine all over the world. People that believe in Jesus celebrate what he did for us on that cross that way. So yeah, there’s a beautiful unity in that.
The special part in that.
Yeah, I love it. I love it. So when did you first take communion and when do your girls do it? Because there’s a lot of discussion on that.
When are you able to take communion? It’s a big deal.
When is it okay? My first communion was taken… We grew up in a Baptist church, so it wasn’t as formal, I think, as in Catholicism, like the first communion is a big thing.
For me it was just after I was saved and baptized. I think I was eight or nine and my parents talked to me about it. And then we had it at church and that was really exciting. For my girls, we have a few of them who have asked Jesus into their heart and want to follow him. So the ones that have expressed that desire, I’ve talked to them about it and Josh has, and they’re often downstairs in the children’s ministries. They don’t have the opportunity for communion, but there was a few Sundays they were upstairs during that so I talked to them and asked them if they were ready for it beforehand and explained to them. And I felt like once they understood what they were doing and it wasn’t like a snack time during church, and it was probably safe to let them take communion. And it was you know, something serious and something really special to remember Christ’s sacrifice. So they did. I think all three of them have taken communion so far. And it was really special. So they took it very seriously.
Good for them!
And they did their little prayer. It was super cute.
I think that’s lovely.
I think as long as it’s discussed and as long as they understand what we do is remember what Jesus did for us. You know, it’s just not a casual thing.
Right. That’s the foundation, I think we’re good. You know, cause I’m trying not to make it too legalistic, but you don’t want it to be like, Oh yeah, here kids, have some crackers.
So find that line.
Yes, cause Paul does say in first Corinthians 11, we need to take it seriously.
Exactly. So there is caution.
There’s a balance there. Right? Exactly. I think for me, I didn’t take it until after I was baptized, which was when I was around 12 years of age, but my parents did the same thing you did. They treated it very solemnly. And I did the same with my girls that just, you know, this is a holy thing.
And this is, this is an identity thing. You only do this if you are Christian, a Christ follower.
This is…, you know, all of us pay the rent. And most of us swim in the summer. Right. You know, human beings do lots of things in common, but you usually don’t break bread and remember Jesus’ death, unless you belong to him. And you shouldn’t, unless you belong to him. So, so it’s an identity thing, I like that. So, I love taking it. I love the act of remembering together with fellow believers, what Jesus did for me. I love that I can confess sin moments before I partake, knowing I’m fully forgiven and covered by his blood, what I’m about to remember. It’s just full of meaning. It really is. And it was instituted by Jesus himself on the night he was betrayed with everything that was going on. He’s, he’s breaking that bread and looking at their faces and knowing that what’s about to happen, and they have no clue.
No, … what’s going to happen. It’s just so beautiful to see. It’s so full of meaning. It really, really is. So, the perfect lamb, the last and only necessary sacrifice for us all. Hallelujah.
So, Oh my goodness. Okay. Well, let me just pray for us and pray for everybody out there that identifies as a Christian because you too, in your church, however your church does it, remember. And I think it’s important that we do that. And right before Easter, especially, we need to remember, and it should never get stale. I accepted Jesus at age four and I am now in my sixties. I don’t ever want it to get stale. I want to always be in awe of what he did. So let me pray for us. Father God, I thank you so much for sending your one and only son to die for us. Lord Jesus, we thank you for your broken body. We thank you for blood poured out on our behalf. We thank you for your willingness to endure sin piled on you and the wrath of God and punishment that was ours, that you took on our behalf. We honor you. We are in awe of you. Lord, every time we break bread and take the cup, help us remember your death until you come again, Lord Jesus, and take us home. In your name I pray with a grateful heart. Amen.
We hope this episode gave you a fresh appreciation for communion. May God bless you next time you eat the bread and drink from the cup with a warm remembering of what it represents. Next week is Easter week itself and we’ll be talking about that last day of Jesus’ life, his death, and then the glory of the resurrection. You won’t want to miss episode 37, The Greatest Grace.
Well, hello podcast friends. I’m actually popping on with a big request. We are forming an inner circle of sorts among all of you wonderful listeners. Would you like join? Podcast Partners are followers who donate monthly to this podcast ministry and the donation does not have to be a big one. We love $5 a month or even $2 a month. You see it costs us over $200 each month to produce these. Would you consider helping us? We’ll be creating a special email just for you and we’ll pray for you as well with great joy as you partner with us. So go to sweetselah.org/donations right now, if God places us on your heart as something he has for you to do. We really need you. We don’t want to go to advertisements and sponsors. We’d rather keep going as we have been. We just really need some help. So go to sweetselah.org/donations and write ‘podcast partner’ in the comments when you donate. Thank you for listening and responding as God leads you.
Speaker 1 (27:39):
We are so glad you stopped for a while with us. Sweet Selah Moments is a co-operative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast, including show notes can be found at sweetselah.org and at wordradio.net. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.