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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 9

Do This in Remembrance of Me
 

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Please join us as we pray:

Our Heavenly Father,

According to the Gospels, Jesus, a few hours before His death, shared the Passover with His disciples.

Although He had taken part in the Passover each year, this one was very special: in fact, Jesus transformed it, instituting the Lord’s Supper.

What is the Lord’s Supper, its meaning, and especially, its importance for the Christian?

Our Father in heaven, please enlighten us by Your Holy Spirit, as we seek Your Word. In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Exodus 12:3,5-7,11

In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house. (...)

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. (...)

The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (...)

It is the Lord’s passover.

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The institution of the Passover goes back to the time of Moses, when the people of Israel were held in slavery in Egypt.




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Exodus 12:12,13

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.

And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are.

And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

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To convince Pharaoh to free the people of Israel, God sent nine plagues upon Egypt, but in vain.

During the tenth plague, the land of Egypt would be struck by the death of all its firstborn: only the families taking part in the Passover would be spared.




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Exodus 12:14

And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.

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The people of Israel demonstrated their faith to God by a concrete deed, that is, killing a lamb and putting its blood on the doorposts and the lintel.

The following night, they saw the destroying angel «pass over» the houses thus marked, sparing the firstborn of each family who had obeyed God’s orders.




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Luke 22:7,8

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.

And [Jesus] sent Peter and John, saying, «Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.»

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Faithful to the commandment of His Father, Jesus, during His ministry here on earth, celebrated the Passover.

But as the day of His crucifixion was drawing near, He gave His disciples new emblems, transforming the Passover’s meaning.

Why did He do that?




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John 1:29

John saw Jesus coming to him, and said,

«Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.»

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Jesus knew that the Passover was more than the memorial of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage.

It was announcing and symbolizing the supreme deliverance accomplished by the Lamb of God, sacrificed on the cross, saving believers from their sins.




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Numbers 9:12

They shall leave none of it to the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.

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John 19:33,36

But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they broke not His legs. (...)

For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, «A bone of Him shall not be broken.»

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The Passover perfectly foreshadowed Jesus’ death on the cross, even concerning the lamb’s bones which were not broken during the sacrifice.




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1 Corinthians 5:7

Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.

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1 Peter 1:18,19

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot.

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Passover, then, foreshadowed Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

From that moment on, the Passover feast became useless.




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Luke 22:14-16

When the hour was come, [Jesus] sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. And He said to them,

«With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.»

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Thus, during this last Passover, Jesus established new emblems to replace the Passover.

Those emblems were going to represent more perfectly His sacrifice on the cross. What are they?




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Luke 22:19

[Jesus] took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying,

«This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.»

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John 6:51

[Jesus said,]

«I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.»

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The first element is the unleavened bread which symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ, offered in sacrifice for our sins.




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Luke 22:17,18,20

[Jesus] took the cup, and gave thanks, and said,

«Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. (...)

This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.»

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John 6:53

Truly, truly, I say to you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you.

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The second element is the unfermented wine, symbolizing the blood of Jesus shed for us.

Let us note that each believer must drink of this wine.




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John 6:54,55

Whoever eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.

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Reading these words from Jesus, many people believe that during the Lord’s Supper, the bread and wine are miraculously transformed into the body and blood of Christ: this belief is called «transubstantiation».

Others believe that the body and blood of Jesus are added to the bread and wine, that is, «consubstantiation».

Who is right, then?




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John 10:9

[Jesus said,] «I am the door.»

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John 14:6

Jesus said to him, «I am the way.»

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John 15:1

[Jesus said,] «I am the true vine.»

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When people use Jesus’ words, «This is My flesh, this is My blood», to hold the idea of transubstantiation or consubstantiation, they ignore the fact that Jesus was often using metaphors and images to describe Himself.




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John 6:52,63

The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying,

«How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?» (...)

[Jesus said,]

«It is the Spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.»

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Observing that the Jews themselves were interpreting literally His words concerning His flesh and blood given as food, Jesus made this correction, «The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.»

Thus, the bread and the wine are not literally the body and blood of Christ, but rather a symbol of His body and blood.




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Hebrews 7:27

[Jesus] needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself.

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Transubstantiation and consubstantiation imply that, at each Communion service, the body and blood of Jesus are offered in sacrifice again and again.

However the Word of God clearly states that this sacrifice must not be repeated, having been offered once for all.




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1 Corinthians 11:23-25

The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said,

«Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.»

After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying,

«This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.»

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The teaching of God’s Word is clear: the purpose of the Lord’s Supper is not to offer the sacrifice of Christ again and again, but rather to commemorate this sacrifice offered once for all on Calvary.




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1 Corinthians 11:26,27

For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till He come.

Why whoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

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Taking part in the Lord’s Supper is a solemn act.

We must celebrate this ordinance with due reverence for our Savior, distinguishing between ordinary food and the consecrated emblems which symbolize Christ’s death.




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1 Corinthians 11:28,29

But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

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The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of what it cost to save us from our sins: the life of God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Our participation in this Communion service therefore requires from us an adequate preparation.

It is a time for examination of conscience, confession of our sins to God, and sincere repentance.




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Luke 22:24

There was also a strife among [the apostles], which of them should be accounted the greatest.

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Sadly, a few hours before the death of their Master, the apostles did not seem concerned about anything but knowing which one of them was the greatest...

However, Jesus was about to institute a service to be held before the Lord’s Supper.

This service would invite them to renounce their pride and their ambitions, preparing them for the Communion.




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John 13:1

Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end.

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This is how John introduces the service that Jesus was going to institute to prepare His disciples for the Lord’s Supper.




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John 13:4,5

[Jesus] rose from supper, and laid aside His garments, and took a towel, and girded Himself.

After that, He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

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According to the custom, before a meal, a servant had to wash the dusty feet of the travelers.

In the absence of this servant, none of the disciples wanted to humiliate himself by washing the others’ feet.

So Jesus Himself washed their feet, teaching them a real lesson of humility.




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John 13:12-14

So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said to them,

«Know you what I have done to you?

You call Me Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am.

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.»

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Foot washing is a service that teaches us to humble ourselves and to serve others, whatever the social rank.

It is also the opportunity for an examination of conscience, to properly complete our preparation for the Lord’s Supper.




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John 13:14,15

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

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Many Christians are no longer practicing the service of foot washing before the Lord’s Supper.

Nevertheless, Jesus clearly indicates that we must observe it, knowing that this service is ideal to prepare our hearts to take part in the Lord’s Supper.




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John 13:14-17

You also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

Truly, truly, I say to you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.

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Jesus insisted three times that we practice the service of foot washing:

  1. «You also ought to wash one another’s feet.»
     
  2. «For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.»
     
  3. «If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.»

So this service has its importance.




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John 13:10

Jesus said to [Peter],

«He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.»

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In the lesson «Born of Water and the Spirit», we have seen that baptism, which is a complete immersion, symbolizes the justification of the believer, the forgiveness of his sins, and his complete regeneration in Jesus Christ.

But as we walk the Christian life, our feet become dusty: we then come to Jesus for cleansing.

Foot washing, a kind of little baptism, symbolizes this cleansing, reminding us that we always need Jesus’ blood.




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John 13:10

Jesus said to [Peter],

«He that is washed needs not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit.»

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We now better understand the words of Jesus: he who is washed (through baptism) does not need to be rebaptized when he makes an error, since he has not lost his faith in Christ.

Foot washing is a continuous guarantee of the cleansing grace of Christ.

Let us remember though that baptism and foot washing have no cleansing virtue in themselves: Christ is the One who, through these services, cleanses us.




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John 6:56,57

He that eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in him.

As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats Me, even he shall live by Me.

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Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.

If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

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When we take part in the services of foot washing and the Lord’s Supper, it strengthens our communion with our Savior Jesus Christ.




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Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

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Ephesians 3:17

(...) that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.

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By taking part in the services of foot washing and the Lord’s Supper, we renew our covenant with Jesus Christ, once again inviting Him to dwell in our hearts, thus solidifying the bonds that unite us to our Savior and Lord.




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1 Corinthians 10:16,17

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?

The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

For we, being many, are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.

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And, of course, our participation in the services of foot washing and the Lord’s Supper strengthens our communion with our brethren in Jesus.

These services unite us together and make us aware that we all belong to the same great family: God’s Church.




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Matthew 26:29

But I say to you, I will not drink from now on of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

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Let us not forget: there is no magic in the service of the Lord’s Supper.

However, this service is a grace imparting us the effects of Christ’s death, His resurrection, and His life within us.

It also transmits us the hope of His soon coming in glory, a hope which is so dear to each Christian’s heart.




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1 Corinthians 11:26

For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till He come.

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Revelation 19:7,9

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to [God]: for the marriage of the Lamb is come. (...)

Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!

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Every time we take part in the Lord’s Supper, we anticipate the day when, in the kingdom of God, we sit at the same table as Jesus!




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Let us thank God for His kindness towards us:

Our Lord,

We know that we must never forget the great price You consented to pay for our salvation: the life of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

To remind us of this sacrifice, You have given us the wonderful service of the Lord’s Supper, preceded by the service of foot washing to prepare our hearts to take part in Your Communion.

Please give us the opportunity to take part in these two services, so that, through them, we may strengthen the bonds uniting us to You, as well as to our fellow believers.

This is our prayer, in Jesus Christ.

Amen.


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