What does the Seder meal have to do with us tonight? The Seder meal has quite a bit to do with us tonight. On the night He was betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ was sitting at table and eating this same Seder meal with his disciples. It was a night filled with history and remembrance for what the Lord has done and the cost; the terrible cost the Lord was willing to pay to bring freedom from tyranny and oppression to God’s faithful. Jesus ate this meal with His disciples at a time in history when injustice still held sway over the people. The Romans controlled the Promised land. The poor were oppressed. Children starved when their parents could not afford or find food. There was no way for people to dig out of poverty. The various Jewish sects, Pharisee and Saducee alike fought among each other much the same way the Protestant denominations fight among themselves today. There were those so focused on following every aspect of the Law of Moses they forgot the most important laws, to, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,” and to, “love your neightbor as yourself” (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37; Lev 19:18; Matt 22:39). It’s sad.
Even before we celebrate Good Friday the situation is sad. The situation at this time in history is sad because even though the Jewish people have this beautiful Seder Meal to remember who they are and where they came from the same problems they faced in Egypt are staring them in the face in first century Palestine. The only difference is the injustice being visited upon them is not being done by the Egyptians, but by themselves. As I read the news about the Brussels suicide bombing; and hear stories here in Lexington about children who cannot find help or tutoring for school; and see people at Open Hands who are struggling to make ends meat I see things have not changed much in the world, or in our town. There is still plenty of injustice to go around. Jesus was about to change the root cause of all of this injustice. However, the disciples would need help to face what was about to happen.
On the night in which God passed over Egypt God provided a meal for the faithful. This meal was to be eaten in haste, and it was for nourishment and protection. On the night Jesus was betrayed Jesus provided a new meal for the faithful. Through this new meal – the Lord’s supper, Jesus told them, ‘“This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1Cor 11:24-25).
In the early church the Lord’s Supper was a meal held every day at a time when the poor often went hungry. This was not Communism where everybody is on the same level. This was those who have a little making sure those who have nothing do not starve, or freeze to death. As a part of that meal they would celebrate the Lord’s Supper and remember the terrible cost Jesus paid with His own life to bring freedom from the injustice and tyranny caused by the chains of sin. These were the people Paul was taking up a collection for among the churches he planted. The money was to provide basic food and clothing for the poor. However, the situation was not to last.
Years later, in the City of Corinth, the Lord’s Supper had become a time for injustice, drunkenness and revelry. One eats their fill and another goes hungry. Another gets drunk (1Cor 11:21). The divide between the haves and the have nots was huge and again there was injustice among them. This injustice was not visited upon the people by some big scary governmental structure like Egypt. Injustice was something they heaped upon themselves. The people would actually come to the Lord’s table and then turn around and abuse one another by denying food to the poor, and then getting drunk. What did it say about the Corinthians that they could come to the Lord’s Supper and then abuse the poor and the needy? What does it say about us that we live in the Bible Belt; we’ve come to church nearly all our lives and yet we still refuse to serve the least and the lost in our community?
Let us not forget the pain Jesus suffered? Let us not forget there are still trials to face today, and there will be trials to face tomorrow. How will we know how to face those trials? Where will we find the strength to stand up for what is right? (pause)
Have we so quickly forgotten?
‘1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
2My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Sisters, and brothers, let us not forget we were not meant to face the sins and snairs of life alone. Amen? Amen! We were not meant to stand alone against tyranny, injustice and selfishness. Amen? Amen! When we stand against injustice we stand with Jesus Christ. Amen? Amen! When we stand up for the broken hearted, the poor, the neglected, and those struggling to get out of poverty we stand with Jesus Christ. Amen? Amen! When we hit rock bottom, and the fears of life overwhelm us – when we are crushed and buried by the terrible cost of our own sin Jesus Christ is there. Amen? Amen! Jesus Christ is there because He is the Lord of heaven and earth. Jesus Christ took on the crushing weight and paid the terrible cost for all of our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid the price for all our sins. Jesus loves us right where we are, and Jesus died that terrible death on the cross so we do not have to stay where we are. Amen? Amen!
Brothers and sisters God loves you. God loves everyone of you. Because God loves you God has provided a means by which we may receive God’s grace. God doesn’t just love us on the day we are baptized. God loves us everyday. God knows it’s hard because Jesus lived and died as one of us. Jesus faced those temptations and on the night He was betrayed Jesus provided support for His disciples in the form of a simple meal; the Lord’s supper. Let us come together tonight. Let us lay aside our selfishness. Let us lay aside our sins. Let us lay aside every burden, weight or care that would prevent us from coming to God’s table. Set aside your fears tonight. Come together as one body and partake of God’s blessing. Come together to take part in God’s grace.
In The Name Of Jesus Christ – Amen.