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Date:   12/04/05

Text:   Mark 14:22-26

Title:   Eating On Repeat

Theme: The Lord's Supper continues to nourish the believers by pointing them to Jesus Christ.



  The story in the verses we read inspired artists from Leonard Da Vinci to the next door painter to recreate this event. Not only this, this supper, this eating has been repeated on a weekly, monthly and even yearly basis for the last 2000 years. Wherever Christians come together, be it in big cities or in rural areas, in large or small gatherings, from 15K in the Urbana conference, to the 3 or 5 in a secret house church, this last supper is repeated over and over again. It is an eating on repeat, just going on and on. This meal is also known as the Lord's Supper or the Holy Communion. It is a sacrament in the Christian faith.

  Some of us may be asking, how did it all start, what is the meaning of it? Why has it become an indispensable sacrament in the Christian church?

I. The Passover meal looks forward to Jesus Christ.

  The story we read took place in the midst of a Passover meal. What is the Passover meal?

  Around 900 to 1200 BC, the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 430 years. God heard their cries of suffering and sent Moses to lead them out of the land of slavery. However, King Pharaoh refused to let them go. God in his anger towards Pharaoh, sent 10 plagues upon Egypt . These 10 plagues are also symbols of God's victory over the Egyptian gods. The last plague was to kill all the 1 st born males in Egypt , both human and animals.

  However, to the Israelites, God told them this: Each family was to take a lamb without blemish, to kill it and put some of its blood on the door posts. They would roast the lamb and eat it inside their house with the entire family. On that evening, when the Lord's angel saw the blood on the door post, he would pass over this house and spare the lives of the first born. Therefore this is called the Passover meal. Ever since then, the Israelites would observe this every year on the same month and day. This Passover meal reminds the Israelites of God's love and faithfulness by delivering them out of the land of slavery and suffering. Whenever they killed a lamb for this Passover meal, they are reminded that the death of this lamb saves them from God's wrath.

  During this particular Passover meal Jesus had with his disciples, in vs.22, “ And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, "“Take; this is my body.”" The word blessing means giving thanks. This is my body means; this—my body. it is a figurative speech. Jesus is saying that this bread represents my body. Therefore it is wrong to say that after blessing or prayer, the bread turns into Christ's body. In the parallel passage in Luke, the following words were included, “…..which is broken for you.” This must have come as a shock to the disciples. Here they were, eating the Passover meal. They knew that because of the lamb being broken and died, they were spared of God's wrath and lived. And now, Jesus said, this bread represents his body which is broken for them. By making this statement, Jesus connected the Passover lamb to this bread and to his body. And then literally in a few hours, he would be killed and die on the cross. Jesus was telling them that for the past 1000 years, whenever a lamb was killed for the Passover, it was pointing to him. The death of a lamb symbolized the removal of God's wrath from the Israelites, and now the death of Christ would remove God's wrath from his people. By breaking the bread, Jesus explained to his disciples that the OT Passover was pointing to Him.

II.   The Lord's Supper looks backward to Jesus Christ.

  After eating the bread, v.23, “ 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."” Again, this wine represents his blood. This too is a shocking statement. Yes, the wine is a part of their meal. But now, Jesus is using the wine to symbolize his blood and death. What does it mean by the blood of the covenant?

  A covenant is different from a contract. In a contract, both parties agree to carry out certain responsibilities and then both parties will sign the paper to make it effective. You remember when we buy a house, both the seller and the buyer have to sign page after page of the contract.

  A covenant is a one way declaration. The terms are dictated by one person. It's like the marriage covenant. The groom promises to love, protect his bride. You have never heard a groom say, if you love me, cook for me, help me with my career, then I will love you. NO, it's a one way promise. The bride also promises to love, and care for him. How do they sign the marriage covenant and make it effective? Each person gives the other person a ring.

  When the disciples heard Jesus mentions covenant, they understood its meaning. In the OT, there was God's covenant with Noah, Abraham, and with the Israelites at Mt. Sinai and later king David. There are variations of these covenants but the theme remains the same throughout the centuries. It is God committing Himself to his people. He will bless Abraham and make Abraham into a great nation. It is God's promise to love and care for his people. How is God's covenant with his people signed? Exodus 24:8, “ 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Husbands and wives sign their marriage covenant with the giving and receiving of rings. God signed and sealed his covenant with the blood of animals. God wants his people to respond to his covenant with love and commitment. However, due to the Israelites repeated disobedience, in Jer.31:31 we read, “ 31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah , ……. : I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” God promised the Israelites that he would make a new Covenant with them. He would write his laws in their hearts. He will continue to be their God and them his people.

  And now, several hundred years later, in that upper room, during the Passover meal, Jesus told his disciples that his blood will be used to sign the new covenant God had with his people. Few hours' later, he died on the cross. His death was to make the new covenant effective. The Passover meal has now become the Lord's supper. Previously, the Israelites used a bloody symbol to remember God's deliverance and salvation, now the bread and wine have become the symbol of deliverance and salvation.

  The Passover lamb points forward to Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God. By his death, God's children will no longer have to be afraid of God's wrath. The bread and the wine point backward to Jesus, telling us that by his death, we have entered into a new covenant relationship with God. It is a one way declaration from God to his people that he loves and cares for us. He has unconditionally pardoned our sins and loved and accepted us.

III.   The Lord's Supper enriches our lives.

  Therefore, what does it mean to us when we take this bread and grape juice? Yes, it is a remembrance of God's covenant, love and faithfulness towards us. but there is more to this. You see, there is nothing mystical about the bread and wine. But there is a mysterious element about it. The bread and wine nourish the body, likewise, when we take the bread and wine as representing Jesus'' body and blood, it nourishes our soul. How so?

1.   Freedom from the bondage of legalism.

  Through the death of Jesus Christ, he unconditionally loves and accepts us. God has already loved me completely. Sometimes I hear Christian say, if we read the Bible more, pray more, or be more diligent in sharing the gospel with others, serve a little more in church, then we can earn more of God's love. How terrible such a thought is. It only leads to legalism and bondage. Because none of us can by our own merit gain an ounce of God's love. God has already completely loved me. What happened when we experience being loved? We want to love back.   

  I think of an18 year old youth. Several months ago in a drug dealing gone wrong, he killed someone. This crime had certainly broken his mother's heart to pieces. But in the conversations we had with the mother in recent months, we saw an unconditional love she had for her son. And reading a recent letter from the young man to his mother, you see the same love he has for her. He loved not because he had to, but because he was first loved. When I experience how God has first loved me, my only response is to love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Because I love Him, I want to read his word, talk to him in prayers, serve him more and share His love with others. This truth brings freedom to us.

2.   Freedom from the bondage of perfectionism.

  When I know and believe that God has already unconditionally and totally loved me, then I know that even when I made mistakes it will not affect his love for me. My self worth will no longer be dependent on how well I perform or how those important people think of me. For the creator of heaven and earth thinks very highly of me, so much so that he loves and accepts me unconditionally.

  Do we know someone that throughout his life, everything has to be perfect? Our house, our rooms have to be perfect. We have to have that perfect ipod or the latest gadget. We have to have that perfect house, that perfect clean room. We have to have the perfect test score or SAT score. Our spouse and children have to be perfect. Everything has to be perfect; we can't stand any blemish and imperfections. If things are not done just the right way, we become frustrated and angry. And this is often the major cause of depression and relationship breakups.

  To know that God has unconditionally loved and accepted us, then we too can learn to accept ourselves, with our strength and weaknesses. This will free us from the bondage of perfectionism.

3.   Freedom to live in a community.

  We also note in this passage that Jesus took the bread and cup, gave to his disciples and they ate and drank it. This tells us that this remembrance of Jesus' love and death is to be carried out in the community of the redeemed. When we read the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that in that first century, whenever the believers come together, they ate the bread and drank the wine together.

  For this reason, we observe this communion monthly as part of our worship. It is a community function. When we eat and drink together, we recognize that Christ has brought each one of us into this community. This is the place where we learn to love each other.

4.   Freedom to hope.

  In vs.25, “ Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God .” Jesus is the one that hosted the Passover meal. And now, he has turned it into a meal that would focus on him. The Passover pointed forward to him. The bread and the wine would point backwards to him. What he has done is to change the Passover into the Lord's Supper. He is now the host of this new supper. But in vs.25 Jesus tells us that this is also the last time he would host this meal. The next time when he eats the bread and drinks the wine with his disciples would be in that heavenly kingdom.

  Therefore, every time we take part in this communion, we look forward to the day when we'll join him in the new heavens and earth. On that day, all the redeemed, from all tribes, languages and nations will come to the feast hosted by our Lord Jesus Christ. This is our hope, what we look forward to.


  All the kings of Judah host feasts. Jesus hosted the Passover meal in that first century. And in that particular Passover meal, he changed it into his supper, the Lord's Supper. Since that first century's first Lord's Supper, the community of God's redeemed has never stopped observing it. It is an eating on repeat.

  When we eat the bread and drink the juice, we remember God's unconditional love for us. Because of this, we understand that our value, our self worth does not depend upon our accomplishment or how others see us. We are very precious in God's sight. God has already completely accepted and loved us. This truth nourishes, encourages and motivates us to live.

  In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the boy Edmund had betrayed Aslan and was captured by the Witch. The witch had the right to kill any of her captives. Aslan said, ‘his offence was not against you.” “Have you forgotten the Deep Magic?' asked the Witch. The Deep Magic is that there must be blood in order to spare Edmund's life. To honor this Deep Magic, Aslan was sacrificed on the Stone Table where Edmund would have been killed.

  You see, whenever we eat the bread and drink the juice, we remember the Deep Magic, or God's covenant with us. He died so that we can live.

  Years later the apostle Paul instructed us on how we are to observe this Lord's Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:27-28, “ 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” Since the Lord's Supper is about Christ's love for us, how he broke his body, shed his blood to remove our sins and God's wrath from us. It is this love that binds God to his people, therefore we are to first examine ourselves, see if there are still sins in lives that we refuse to acknowledge. We are to confess and ask for his forgiveness as we come to take this bread and cup.

English Service:

Mandarin Service:

Cantonese Service:

2014 |2013 |2012 |2011 |2010 |2009 |2008 |2007
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999

2014|2013|2012|2011|2010|2009|2008 |2007
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999
Cantonese audio translation available up to 2011

2014 |2013 |2012 |2011


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