A myHT Fortress

Friday, April 2, 2010

Whose Supper Is It? -- A Homily for Holy Thursday

1 Corinthians 11:23-32

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Whose Supper is it? It began over 1400 years before Christ gathered His apostles in the Upper Room. The Passover Lamb was slain, bread and wine were feasted upon. The Children of Israel gathered, dressed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice. The Lord was about to deliver them from bondage in Egypt. The blood of the innocent lamb had been shed, an innocent life slain that death might pass over, and they would have life.

Whose Supper is it? Jesus gathered the 12 with Him. The Lamb of God would be slain the next morning, and bread and wine were about to change beyond their understanding. Christ would cause His Body and Blood to join that bread and wine to be feasted upon. The Lord was about to deliver them from bondage to sin, death, and the devil. The Blood of the Lamb of God would be shed, His innocent life slain that death might pass over, and we would have life – eternal life!

So whose Supper is it? Is it the Feast of the Children of Israel? Well, they certainly received it. They got to enjoy it and the blessings He gave through it. But it did not belong to them. The Supper was not theirs to change or amend as they wished. They could not direct the angel of death to do anything other than what the Father directed. They could not change the pardon and release that the blood of the lamb was giving.

Whose Supper is it? Is it the Banquet of the disciples? They received it too. In fact, they received it as Jesus fulfilled it. So could they just do their own thing, and change it up, making it more relevant to their day and age? Could they decide on the invitation list for the Lord’s feast?

Whose Supper is it? Do you imagine it to be yours? That you can control it? Delay it or refuse it? Change it? Adjust it? Make it fit your perceived needs? Don’t get carried away, thinking that the Lord’s feast is yours to do with as you please?

There! Did you hear that?! Whose Supper is it? It is the LORD’s! He began it. He fulfilled it. He gives it as an everlasting ordinance. In other words, it keeps going and going, without stop, until we are gathered with Him in heaven. And THEN, it keeps going without end! There, at the wedding feast of the Lamb of God, we join in the never-ending Supper.

Whose Supper is it? “This is My Body…This is My Blood.” The One who began the first Passover thousands of years ago, is the One who completes it. And the One who becomes it! The Host and Master of the Feast, serves Himself as the sustenance! No longer merely earthly gifts of bread and wine, He enters those elements, changing them forever! He gifts us with His Body and Blood, and not in some spiritual, other-worldly sense. His Body and Blood are really there, truly consumed, as He fills your body with His own!

Whose supper is it? “Do this in remembrance of Me,” we often translate Jesus’ words. Perhaps it is closer to say, “Keep on doing this, in My remembering.” Yes, we remember Jesus’ Passion and death in the Sacrament. We are like the children at the Passover table rehearsing the questions as our father teaches us about God delivering His people. But Jesus is speaking of His remembering of us! He speaks of His coming, suffering, and dying to BE the ultimate Passover Lamb. He remembers us, and shields us from the angel of death. Yes, it is His Supper, and His remembering. If it was our Supper, sure, we could be front and center, enjoying the honor and prestige of being the rememberers. But it is the Lord’s, and He comes to us, pouring out His mercy even as He poured out His blood.

If it were our supper, we could decide how often or how rare to celebrate it, and whether to do our own thing, or follow someone else’s patterns. But it is Jesus’! He tells us to do this often! And so from the earliest days and weeks of the Christian Church, along with the preaching of the Lord’s Gospel, the Lord’s Supper has been offered on every Lord’s Day, Sunday, and also at other times, such as festivals to the Lord, as well as when Christians need it and ask their pastors. And from ancient times, we have joined with the Church throughout the world with a common language and expression as we receive His Holy Gifts.

Whose Supper is it? This is the joyous Feast of the Lamb who was slain, the wedding Banquet of the Lamb of God, the Holy Supper of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is glad to gather you to Himself and receive this feast. He loves you and desires that death would pass over you, so He fills you with His Body and Blood, giving you His divine life! This is Jesus’ Supper, and He gives it for you! Amen.

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