BLOOD POURED OUT FOR YOU
"Taking the cup, He blessed it, then said, 'Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I'll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives.'
"Taking bread, He blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them saying, 'This is my body given for you. Eat it in my memory.' He did the same thing with the cup after supper, saying 'This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you." Luke 22:17-20 (The Message).
Is it any wonder that Jesus longed to share this meal with His disciples? He had reached the moment that would become the watershed of all history, a simple meal that symbolised the greatest victory of all time and the event that exposed, disarmed and defeated the arch enemy of all humankind.
Bread and wine, picture of His broken body and poured-out blood, formed the core of the Passover meal. The lamb was sacrificed to provide the blood that protected the people from the angel of death. The bread was baked without yeast as a mute testimony to the sinless nature of God's lamb.
No longer would Passover be the celebration of God's daring rescue from slavery in Egypt. From this moment on it took on a new significance - a meaning Jesus had struggled for three years to communicate to His disciples. He had not come to effect another deliverance from human oppression. As long as we are alive and subject to human authority, there will always be those who exploit people for their own ends. It is part of man's greedy and wicked nature.
Underneath man's inhumanity to man lies a far more sinister power - the unseen dominion of a dark and relentless fallen angel whose desire is to enslave and destroy every unsuspecting soul who is deceived by his enticements and enslaved by their own choices.
Jesus' passion was to expose him by willingly becoming the victim of his hatred without falling into his trap and being ensnared by his lies. Try as he may, the devil could not lure Jesus into submitting to his lying suggestions. All he wanted Jesus to do was to do what he wanted and so disobey and mistrust the Father's love.
Jesus' response was always the same. Whenever Satan set his traps, He was ready with the same answer, 'Daddy didn't tell me to do it. That's not what Daddy said.' Even when He was tested to the limit in the Garden of Gethsemane, His rested His soul in His Father's will.
Jesus' steadfast faith in His Father's love proved once and for all that, in spite of all the pressure to doubt Him and heed the devil, it was possible for a human being to be a true son, to submit to the Father, even to an unjust and shameful death, and to come out unscathed because God promised that He would raise Him from the dead, and God is absolutely trustworthy.
And that's what this simple meal symbolised. It was not a sacrifice to be repeated again and again as some teach. It was simply a reminder of what Jesus did. Deliverance from political oppressors pales into nothing compared with the greater deliverance from enslavement to the father of lies, and all the pain of broken lives that enslavement to him brings.
This meal is a celebration of the eternal truth that Jesus has set us free from the guilt, shame and condemnation of our sin and our failure to trust Him, and from the power of the devil to deceive us any longer. As sons of the living God, we have an elder brother who has gone before us to show us the way to the Father and who has provided us with the same person who enabled Him to persevere - the Holy Spirit who comes to live within us.
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