Short Treatise on the Supper

In the Great Commission, Jesus gives instruction based on His authority to call his Kingdom to Himself:

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV, emphasis mine)

What is taught and commanded regarding the Supper?

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:14-20, ESV, emphasis mine)

The Apostle Paul weighs in on the importance:

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, ESV, emphasis mine)

To offer the Supper is a means of preaching the Gospel, and we are exhorted to do so.

Brothers, sisters — let us come to the table today with repentant hearts and childlike faith.

But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God! (Psalm 40:16-17 ESV)

His Great Pleasure

If you follow my Twitter feed (look right), I threw one tweet out there a bit early yesterday morning about Solomon and lilies.  I spent a bit of time writing things down in my journal and wanted to expand on them a bit.

I started in Luke 12:22-34, which is one of my favorite sections in all of Scripture.  It is also a ridiculously hard to apply bunch of verses.  Telling a human being not to be anxious feels like teaching a dog not to puke on the carpet.  When you’re in the room/at home it’s all gravy, but as soon as you walk outside to check the mail you are back to square one.

Working from the end of the passage backwards, verse 32 is a wonderful imperative:
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

When I take good pleasure in something, be a cold pint of San Diego craft or a perfectly constructed sandwich, it is obviously because I enjoy it so much.  It is hard to avoid redundancy here.  Jesus is not talking about a sandwich, He’s talking about the Kingdom and our God who takes great pleasure in letting us share it with Him.

To have a better look at what we need not fear, I paraphrased bullet points of verses 22-31:

  • 22: do not be anxious
  • 23: life is more than food, clothing
  • 24: consider the ravens
  • 25: who can add a single hour to a life?
  • 26: why are we anxious about the rest (if v. 25 is true)?
  • 27: consider the lillies; better dressed than King Solomon
  • 28: Grass alive then burned — “O you of little faith!”
  • 29: don’t dwell on food/drink; don’t worry
  • 30: Father knows we need them
  • 31: seek kingdom, sustenance will be given
Often, what we seek or what we are anxious about doesn’t just stay in the back of our minds.  It moves to the front, blocking out what should be there.  This is the very essence of idol worship.  Jesus knows this, and He gives us the remedy in verses 33 and 34:
Sell your possessions and give to the needy.  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Emphasis mine)

Where our treasure is, there is our heart.  Even good things like family, friends, jobs, or education become idols.  The longer we keep something other than God as our top priority, the more we feed the idol’s power in our lives.  Jesus is not commanding us to sell everything we have and be homeless, but He is teaching us the power of giving-away, disabling the material idols from staying in our lives.

Coming back full circle to verses 27 and 32, Solomon did not seek riches, though he was heir to the throne and son of David.  Instead he first sought wisdom from God, knowing his job and people would demand his mental prowess in ways that were beyond his current ability (2 Chronicles 1:7-13).

God took good pleasure in Solomon’s request and granted it, also giving Solomon wealth and riches and glory beyond any king before of after.  We are not all guaranteed wealth like Solomon.  He was first willing to give up riches for wisdom, because he sought a treasure in the heavens that would not fail him.

This is not a defense of a prosperity gospel, Jesus sees what an idols materials can become and consistently preaches against such things.  God will clothe and feed us, and we must seek Him.  We do this by faith, making disciples, loving our neighbor, and through prayer & The Word.