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Lessons From The Farm – "The Last Supper"

by Bob Yarbrough

The title of this lesson from the farm anticipates the subject of this article. It does sound Biblical and I will develop that topic later; but first I want to tell you of another last supper at the farm – one that will surprise you. In a previous lesson I explained my theory about skunks that appear around our house. The theory is simple and straightforward: the only good skunk is a dead skunk! To me that means to shoot them on sight with my 12 gauge shotgun. Now, I realize that the result of that theory sometimes has dire consequences, but the redeeming value of it is that that particular skunk will never spray again.

I have what is called a “have-a-heart” trap which can be used to catch animals to release elsewhere. In the matter of skunks, however, I do not have a heart. Besides, who in their right mind would want to be close enough to release a live skunk from this trap? I usually will set this wire cage trap in an area beside the house known to be a route traveled by skunks at night since they are nocturnal creatures. Since they must be enticed into the trap, I will put a slice of bread with a little peanut butter on it, and place it at the back of the trap. When the skunk enters the trap, it will step on a pressure plate which in turn will close the door behind him. And Presto! The deed is done; he’s caught. I will check the trap the next morning (from a distance of course), and if one is caught, I will “shoot first and ask questions later.” The interesting thing I have discovered is that the bait is always eaten in its entirety – hence the last supper – a slice of bread and peanut butter. Later, I will discard the dead skunk in the far pasture for the buzzards to feast upon. I have conducted three such ceremonies this week alone as skunks are in great abundance during the spring of the year.

On a much higher plane the Last Supper has great significance to those who believe in Jesus Christ. The origin of this supper has its roots in the “Seder,” the feast celebrating the Jewish Passover, the most sacred of all Jewish feasts. Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples on the evening before he was crucified. It was the Last Supper with his followers. During the meal Jesus established a new covenant with his disciples telling them that the bread and the cup represented his body and blood which would soon be delivered up for them. The apostle Paul gives a summary account of the event, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is 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.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:23-26). A lengthy scripture but full of meaning! This event is recorded in each of the Gospels (Matt. 26:20-35; Mk.14:12-31; Lk. 22:14-38; Jn. 13:1-17:26). The prophet Isaiah also described its significance (Isa.52:13-53:12). While literally volumes have been written about this memorial supper, I will make only a few observations.

First, the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship which Jesus wanted his followers to do on a perpetual basis. Since the earliest days of the church Christians have eaten the bread and drunk the cup to symbolize the body and blood of Christ. It is a memorial to be observed by believers in every generation, and it creates a sense of oneness in Christ with all those who have so participated. The supper is to be celebrated until the symbolism will give way to the full reality it anticipates. Jesus wanted his followers to do this to remember Him. The bread and the cup symbolize the body and blood of Christ given as a sacrifice to secure eternal salvation for all who trust Him as Lord and Savior. Jesus gave no option to do or not to do. He said “do this,” and then he explained the reason for the command – the continual reminder of His love and sacrifice for us is beneficial. Paul said, “God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

Second, I have come to the conviction that the participation of the Lord’s Supper is be done corporately by the church. A careful study of 1 Corinthians reveals that the Apostle Paul is giving a number of instructions to the entire church, one of which was the taking of the Lord’s Supper. He does not address partaking this supper from an individual point of view, but rather from the church as a whole (see 1 Cor. 10:16-17). The idea of communion is corporate in nature. Similarly, Jesus collectively instructed those who were gathered with him in the upper room concerning the partaking of the bread and cup, then they all partook. The significance is in the oneness it demonstrates when believers of the local church partake corporately. When the Lord’s Supper is planned and offered, my opinion is that it should be done corporately. This important worship activity should not be portrayed in a segregated manner because its very nature and purpose is to suggest a oneness of the body of Christ, both universal and local.

Finally, one day the Last Supper will be taken for the last time. Certainly when it is our time to be called home we understand. But one day the symbol we take now will become reality. Paul reminded us that “as often” as we take the Lord’s Supper, we “proclaims the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). When we take the bread and take the cup together, we are telling each other that Jesus is coming back. Jesus told his disciples that he would drink the cup again with them when he comes back (Matt. 26:29; Rev. 19:9). He wants us to look forward to His coming. This promise helps me formulate my thoughts on the frequency of participation. While there is no specific command in scripture regarding frequency, I prefer the weekly participation of the Lord’s Supper when the church meets corporately for worship for the following reasons:

It may seem somewhat inappropriate to make any kind of an analogy between the last supper of a skunk and the Last Supper for believers. While I realize believers are not skunks, I am not far off the mark when I remember at the partaking of the Lord’s Supper that we are all sinners saved by grace. If not a skunk – then how about a worm?

Alas! and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die?

Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

-Bob Yarbrough is a  retired  educator who lives in Terrell, TX

 

 




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4