Lord’s Supper Portion
The Lord’s Supper is grounded in the Last Supper between Jesus and his disciples. During that final meal, Jesus instituted the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.
Let me read from John 13:26-30.
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
They were eating and as soon as Judas took the bread, he left the fellowship. This was not the bread given as part of the Lord’s Supper ordinance, it was just a bread roll during a normal dinner meal. There is some speculation that Judas did not participate in the first Lord’s Supper. Was Judas there or not? No one can be certain. But either way you look at it, I think you can draw an interesting comparison between Judas and Peter.
Earlier I mentioned Peter denying Jesus and the two of them locking eyes. In the moment of his deepest failure, Peter saw the gaze of Jesus. He went out and wept bitterly. And we know from the tail end of the 4 gospels going into the early chapters of Acts, Peter stuck it out with the rest of the disciples. All 11 of them were weak, they were stumbling, they lacked faith, but they remained together.
Compare that to Judas. He went out. And it was night. Judas hadn’t sinned yet. But Satan was sifting Judas as wheat and Judas was falling through the cracks. This is what Satan does. Sin isolates. Sin darkens. Sin makes us blind to how things are.
And in this darkened state, Judas tries to deal with his sin on his own. To make matters worse, he goes to the wrong people. Instead of remaining with Jesus and the disciples, he goes to the chief priests and the elders. Matt 27:1 reads,
1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor. 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
Compare the gaze of Jesus when Peter looked into HIS eyes, compare that to the gaze from these religious leaders when Judas sought them out in his remorse. What did Judas see? There was no forgiveness, no compassion, no grace, no being heart-broken over the ravages of sin. Instead, the gaze of these religious leaders was a cold stare, what is that to us, that’s your responsibility. It’s your problem, not our problem. Why are you bothering us? Go away. The world knows nothing about forgiveness. It can’t forgive.
Many times, when you are weak, when you are in sin, or you are about to sin, our first instinct is to be draw back from fellowship with other believers. To remain silent. To be alone. To stay in dark places.
That’s why when we come to the Lord’s Table, we acknowledge why we gather in regular fellowship with believers. Because we are all weak. There are days when I am strong and I can pray for you. There are days when I am weak and I need your prayers. We all take turns being on the mat where we have to be lifted up by friends in prayer. We all face days when we have to be carried to Jesus because we are too weak to bring ourselves to Him.
Peter and Judas, there is a paper thin difference between the two, initially. They both sinned. But how they responded to their sin is worlds apart. One wept before Jesus and hung around God’s people and the other was alone and hung around the wrong crowd. One wept bitterly and was forgiven. The other hanged himself in stubborn rebellion.
The Lord’s Supper is a time when we remember individual, personal sins AND we also confess our need for one another. When Jesus prays for Peter because Satan had asked to sift him as wheat, Jesus doesn’t say, after you repent, Peter, you be strong in the Lord. No, that wasn’t the emphasis. Jesus prays for each believer to be sure, He wants each of us to be strong individually. But his prayers and concerns extend to the body of Christ. That’ why Jesus says, when you have turned back, go and strengthen your brothers.
Jesus provided for the ten other disciples by providing for Peter. The strengthened becomes the strengthener. There is a great lesson here for us. Sometimes God will deal with you directly, strengthening your faith alone. But most of the time, God strengthens our faith through another person. God sends us a Simon Peter who brings just the word of grace we need to keep on in the faith. And our weak faith is fortified. When you repent and you’re strong, go to the weaker ones. They need you.
May we be a body of Christ that looks out for one another. Esp. the weaker ones who are prone to falling away, let’s pay special attention to them. Because God our Savior wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
I want to end with words penned by Peter himself in 1 Peter 2:21–
1 Peter 2
21 To this you [you plural, you all] were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
These were not high and lofty words. This was not theology. This was testimony. This was Peter’s own life story. He experienced it and this transformation began on the very first Good Friday. May you experience a similar transformation beginning today in your own life. May we together as a body experience a season of strengthening as we anticipate the joy of Easter Sunday.