Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, April 4. Read Exodus 12:1-13. 1) For what were the Israelites preparing in this text? 2) What preparations were they to make? 3) What is the significance of blood?
Tuesday, April 5. Read Joshua 4:1-7. 1) What did God tell Joshua to do in this text? 2) What purpose would this serve? 3) What do you think we can learn from this for today?
Wednesday, April 6. Read Hebrews 9:6-10. 1) What does the High Priest do once a year? 2) What does the Priest take with him into the second tent?
Thursday, April 7. Read Hebrews 9:11-14. 1) In what role did Christ come, and what was his responsibility? 2) What confidence does the writer place in the blood of Christ?
Friday, April 8. Read Hebrews 10:1-7. 1) What did the writer call the Law? What do you think he meant by that? 2) What is the big flaw in the sacrifices under the Old Law? 3) What did the writer say about animal sacrifices?
Saturday, April 9. Read Luke 22:7-27. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Jesus, crucified Lord, we give thanks that you have left us this meal. What a wonderful and graphic way to remember the cross and your obedient sacrifice. We pray that this memorial will never grow usual or unremarkable. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
By Christ Redeemed, in Christ Restored
by George Rawson, 1857
By Christ redeemed, in Christ restored,
We keep the memory adored,
And show the death of our dear Lord
Until He come.
His body broken in our stead
Is seen in this memorial bread,
And so our feeble love is fed
Until He come.
The drops of His dread agony,
His life-blood shed for us, we see;
The wine shall tell the mystery
Until He come.
And thus that dark betrayal-night
With the last advent we unite,
By one blest chain of loving rite,
Until He come.
Devotional Article of the Week:
More than a Memorial
Is there something more to The Supper than just remembering?
by Phil Ware
The Lord’s Supper — whether you call it The Supper, The Eucharist, or Holy Communion — is a holy disruption for our lives. In the early church, the first disciples appear to have shared with the Lord in The Supper at least on the first day of the week, They also likely enriched some meals at home to include The Supper with awareness to Jesus’ sacrifice and presence in breaking bread.
However, too often we’ve made The Supper into something like those roadside memorials to fallen heroes or famous battlefields. It’s visible, but not vital. It’s provided, but not purposeful. It’s a commitment, but not connected to living Jesus.
When we eat the Lord’s Supper it should have a disruptive effect on us. It should shatter our neat, tidy, and regimented ways of taking his meal together. This disruptive power of The Supper must shine through two dimensions of our sharing: remembering and restoring.
For I received from the Lord what I also passed 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 (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The Supper calls us to remember the betrayal and abandonment of Jesus by his disciples, the unfair trial, the humiliating and sadistic nature of Jesus’ crucifixion, the Lord’s words on the cross, the mocking and ridicule the Messiah endured while he hung there cursed and humiliated, and how alone and abandoned Jesus felt as he hung naked before the mob of gawkers and gave up his spirit.
There is no sterile place to hide from our world in The Supper. Not when it connects us to YAHWEH’s Suffering Servant and our Savior, Jesus of Nazareth (Isaiah 53). We enter The Supper with our broken lives. We take The Supper by breaking bread to remind us of our broken world that murdered its Savior. As we do, we find Jesus as God with us. We know this Jesus was part of our broken world in his incarnation, and he joins us once again in our world in The Supper.
Jesus entered our brokenness, shared our brokenness, and suffered our brokenness for us. In The Supper, we are reminded why the Father sent Jesus to our broken world (John 3:16). We also are reminded that Jesus has sent us into this same broken world to continue his mission (John 20:21-24).
Remembering is very good. Yet we are called to do far more than just remember. Paul also reminded us of another important principle: as we come to the table we are to restore Jesus’ presence to our world as his people, the church:
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf(1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
Think of it. As we share the bread, those of us who share it together are formed into the living Body of Jesus. Through sharing the bread together, we are the Lord’s ongoing bodily presence in the world. As we share in that bread, a miracle happens. Yet the miracle is not in the bread, but in the participants — in us, Jesus’ people. We become him for our world today. We covenant that just as Jesus was God fully incarnate in the world in real flesh and blood, we commit to being Jesus to our world. When we take the cup, we have the blood of Jesus transfused into our bodies to renew our life that is to be given for the sake of the world this coming week. We are Jesus’ presence — his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his heart.
When we take The Supper with a commitment to restore Jesus to the world through our lives, it becomes an explosive device to church as normal. This explosive device detonates in our climate-controlled rooms, crisply performed songs, smoothly orchestrated flow, and carefully time-mapped services. This committing to restore Jesus to the world as we gather at The Table reminds us that our lives are not about church.
At The Table, we realize that the church is here to help us live our lives for the sake of the world as Jesus did. The Supper is a reminder that if lost, rebellious, struggling, broken people aren’t at our table on Sunday, then we haven’t been living out the implications of The Supper we took the week before. That’s because when we come to The Table each week, the Lord tries to speak to the lost, rebellious, struggling, broken people of our world and say:
This is my body given for you! This is my blood shed for you! These people are my body. My blood flows through them to show my concern and to share my mission in your broken world. They will enter your brokenness as I did. They will search to find you, love you, and bring you back to my Table so that you, too, can receive the Father’s grace.
The Lord’s Supper — whether you call it The Supper, The Eucharist, or Holy Communion — is to be powerful, holy, and precious. It must be disruptive to our tidy status quo and business as usual approach to our neatly packaged church services. If it is not disruptive, there is no grace to offer the broken people on the pew near you or the person on the pew inside you.
Let the Lord’s Table be disruptive so that we can truly remember and restore Jesus to our broken world!