Before His death, burial, and resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ was sure to initiate, instruct, and illustrate two sacraments for the church: baptism and the Lord’s supper. The Lord’s supper is a regular part of church programs, to the point that it is easy to overlook the significance of this grand event. Many go through the motions proclaiming the finished work of Christ, but unmoved by the magnitude of what took place. A reading of Matthew 26:26-30 and the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper testifies to Christ and does so with such a grand revelation that nothing less than great adoration and love flow out of the believer. Therefore, I urge you to meditate deeply upon the Lord’s presentation in Matthew 26:26-30.
The Suffering Savior (v.26)
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
This is not the first time that Christ has used bread as an illustration for himself. In John 6:35 Jesus Christ is noted to be the bread of life, using physical sustenance to convey a spiritual nourishment. As we look upon the Lord’s Supper, we see specifically the body of Christ broken as an offering for the sins of the world. Dwelling upon the crucifixion that is about to occur, we see Christ’s body placed upon the cross beaten and bruised, crucifixion after all, was an agonizing death. It was:
- agonizingly slow: Christ died after a mere six hours upon the cross, which seems slow enough. Consider that for most, suffering occurred for much longer before death would finally set in.
- agonizingly painful: The force of nails being driven into the wrists and feet combined with the weight of his body on the cross, offer an unimaginable description of pain.
- agonizingly gruesome: The sight of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross after enduring so much, watching the death that envelopes is nothing less than one that is horribly gruesome.
- agonizingly humiliating: We are told of the soldiers who mocked Jesus to the point of even putting a crown of thorns on his head. They sought not just his death, but a death in which he would be humiliated in front of both his followers and those who were simply curious about Him.
- agonizingly public: Finally, the death of Jesus Christ was one that was done in a very public way. Marched through the streets, placed high above those who had gathered in such a way that all could see who He was.
There is no doubt that Christ suffered. Taking upon Himself what was meant for us, there is no doubt that Christ was the suffering Savior.
The Sacrificial Savior (v. 27-28)
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Upon the sin of Adam and Eve, the response of God was the sacrifice of animals to offer coverings for them. Paul asserts in Romans (6:23) that the wages of sin is death; that is to say, life must be given up as a penalty for that sin. As the life of one is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) the author of Hebrews can assert that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). It was the giving of Christ’s blood, sinless and guiltless, that offered the final payment of blood sufficient to cover the sins of all.
The prophet Isaiah offers one of the most descriptive accounts of Christ’s sacrificial act writing:
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
No person could find words more detailed about the sacrificial service of our Lord. Certainly, he is the sacrificial Savior.
The Lord’s supper carries implications that have the potential to penetrate the souls on many levels. It reveals much about the Lord Jesus Christ and in revealing Him, it exposes our soul. When we see who Christ is, we also see who we are. The result is nothing less than a tremendous worship of Jesus Christ. Thus far we’ve seen the suffering Savior and the sacrificial Savior, but there is more of Jesus Christ to expose from these texts, so come back next week to look at the continuing verses.
Photo “Holy Cross at Sunrise” courtesy of user Sean MacEntee and Flickr.