His Food, Our Fill

Pastor Jake Schram

Worship Theme: His Food, Our Fill

First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NIV)
Second Lesson: Hebrews 10:15-25 (NIV)
Gospel : Luke 22:7-20 (NIV)

Music:

  • CW 417It Was a Dark and Dismal Night
  • CW 626: My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness
  • CW 676: Take and Eat
  • CW 429: O sacred head, now wounded

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Message: His Food, Our Fill

Pastor Jake Schram

In our text for this evening, you saw the Lord institute the Lord’s Supper, which we also refer to as Holy Communion. A communion is a joining together. It’s a common union. We don’t often talk in depth about the Lord’s Supper in sermons, but tonight, we’ll look at, and rejoice in, the three common unions that take place in the Lord’s Supper. Through these God will provide spiritual food which fills us.

Common Union #1

If you are at a party and you go to the food table (if there is no food table, then it’s not a real party), there will be plenty of food for you to sample. For a lot of food, you will immediately know what you are tasting. For example, if you grab what looks like a celery stick and as you eat it, it tastes like a celery stick, you are probably eating a celery stick. It’s a little different with something like meatloaf or the mystery meat served at the school cafeteria I went to growing up. You might be able to taste that there is meat in there (maybe), but unless you have amazing taste buds, you may have some difficulty knowing for sure what else is in there. If you wanted to be certain, you’d probably have to ask whoever made it.

The Lord’s Supper is kind of like that. It’s easy to look at and taste the Lord’s Supper and realize there is bread and wine in what you are eating and drinking. That’s pretty obvious and anyone saying otherwise while eating or drinking the Lord’s Supper would be denying their taste buds, and more importantly God’s Word. God’s Word references Jesus taking bread and the fruit of the vine (wine). But that is not all there is. Don’t let your taste buds or eyes fool you here. There’s more. God is adding his own food to fill us. Jesus himself says about the food and drink, “This is my body” and “This is my blood.”

Now maybe you are thinking, “Well, that’s not possible. Maybe he’s speaking figuratively or just saying the bread is similar to his flesh and the redness of wine similar to his blood.” That would be a good argument if someone like you or me were saying it was our body and blood. If I hold up a taco and say, “Oh yes, it’s true, this taco is my body,” there is no way for that to be true because you know I don’t have the supernatural ability to do that. But when Jesus says it, is anything too hard for the Lord? Jesus has made the lame walk, the blind see, and the dead come back to life. Jesus has the ability to do anything. Therefore, if Jesus says, “This is my body,” it really can be his body.

Jesus mentions this as a “new covenant.” A covenant was a big deal. It was a binding contract. And so language had to be used to say exactly what it meant. Jesus could have easily said, “this looks like my body” or “this symbolizes my blood” or “this will remind people of my body and blood.” But he didn’t. If Jesus intended for us to believe that it was truly his body and blood in union with the bread and wine, he would have said…exactly what he did: “This is my body…This is my blood.”

I want to be clear here. This is not some sort of cannibalistic form of eating and drinking. Instead, Scripture teaches a real presence of Christ’s body and blood, but in a supernatural way. We do not taste them, nor can we define it in terms of space, but Jesus’ body and blood are really present.

The common union between bread and body and between wine and blood was very important to acknowledge. It was so important to God that he spoke through the Apostle Paul, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).” God tells us we should recognize what is actually there, the body of Christ. Our text tells us those who don’t recognize it can actually eat and drink spiritual harm on themselves. Side note: This is part why we don’t let people come up to have communion if they haven’t taken classes to become members. We don’t think we’re better than anyone else or more holy or anything like that. We really just don’t want people to drink harm on themselves or sin against the body and blood of Christ.

When we put it all together, Jesus' words are very clear and will stand forever. “This is my body… This is my blood.” In this special common union, we begin to see that Jesus on this Holy Thursday is providing special food that will fill us in a special way.

Common Union #2

There are many different levels of social closeness. You have your closest friends, maybe a spouse, that you might tell the intimate details of your life to. You have the friends that are great for hanging out, but you probably wouldn’t tell them your deepest, darkest secrets. Then you have the acquaintances who you get along with, but maybe don’t know all too well. You might send Christmas cards or even call every so often. But when they say something like, “Let’s get together and do something soon” you wonder if they really mean it. Or perhaps you don’t want them to as you aren’t ready to have them come visit and stay in your house for a whole weekend. Then there is another level down the social closeness scale. Maybe your neighbors are quite friendly when you’re both out getting your mail at the same time. They spend a few minutes talking with you, and over the years you’ve gotten to know them reasonably well. Never once have they invited you inside, and they probably never will. It’s just too intimate a thing. Your friendship isn’t at that level, and you both know it. And, of course, there are some people you would never consider inviting for dinner, because, well, you don’t like them. Or perhaps they don’t deserve it. They’ve never treated you right. They’ve borrowed plenty of things without asking and never returned them. You’ve heard them ruin your reputation. That person shouldn’t be sitting down at your dinner table anytime soon.

That last example on the social closeness scale was God’s relationship with us. After everything we have done to him, there is no way he should invite any of us to join him at his table. He prepared the fulfilling, delicious food. Why would we get to share it with him? Instead, God had every right to build up the fence surrounding his yard, call the cops to keep an eye on us, and stood ready with the yard’s garden hose blasting all us hooligans off of his holy lawn.

And none of it would be God’s fault. He’s not easily angered. He’s not constantly grumpy. No, God is like that neighbor who has been repeatedly forced to deal with loud, obnoxious neighbors who continually take advantage of him and steal his stuff. When we see how we’ve treated the possessions he entrusted us with, how we have refused to keep his commands, how we have often been rude every time he dared to come near us, we understand we have no real reason to expect God to invite us. The surprising thing in all this is God isn’t the one building a fence to keep us out. We are. Colossians 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.”

Yet God’s mercy shines through once again. He invites us to dinner in his house. “Take and eat…Take and drink.” Not only does he fill us with his spiritual food from his Word, but he fills us with food in the Lord’s Supper. It’s a visible form of the forgiveness he gives to us. In communion we see that God has brought together himself and us. “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— (Colossians 1:22).” Jesus even said this supper “is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” These words assure us. They show us God is not just being nice or polite. He is in fact eager to have us come to his table.

This supper is the Lord’s. The house is his. It’s his food. It’s all his doing and you and I have been privileged to be placed on the guest list. He fills us. We have been assured that through Jesus’ forgiveness we have been made worthy of dining with God—now at his table here on earth and forever at the banquet in heaven.

Common Union #3

Do remember how earlier we talked about different levels of social closeness? The thing about being invited to dinner parties, is sometimes you aren’t quite sure who else will be there. Being invited isn’t a guarantee you will like everyone at the party. Perhaps, you’ll be seated next to someone that shares no interests with you. What if the person who sits next to you is a Packers fan? What if they are a Vikings fan? Or what if they don’t like football at all? At the Lord’s table these things are insignificant and irrelevant because we have a bond that cuts through it all.

The disciples were extremely different from one another. They had fishermen, yet also a tax collector. They had some who were bold, and others laid back. Some who trusted easily, others who doubted everything. Yet, despite their differences they formed one group. Their bond was simple: Jesus.

That’s who binds us together too. We have different opinions on worship music. We have different genders. We have different skin colors. We even have different political preferences. And the devil will try his best to get us to tear each other apart on things like that. But those things fall away as we approach God’s table. We have unity in faith, united as sinners who are now saints through the blood of Jesus.

Tonight, you may stand next to someone who has a different opinion on just about everything except God’s Word. That will not matter, because Jesus unites us. At the Lord’s Supper you will be standing next to a Christian, someone united in faith. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:17, “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.”

In a few moments we will receive Holy Communion. As we do so, may we recognize the common union of bread and wine with Jesus’ body and blood. May we rejoice in the common union between ourselves and God. May we be strengthened and encouraged by the common union we have with one another! And finally, may we be reminded it is God who is providing the food and filling us beyond satisfaction. Amen.

*Many parts of this sermon were borrowed from a sermon from “The Crucial Hours” series by Paul Rutschow