The day Jesus had the last supper with his disciples was the Jewish national and religious holy day of Passover. John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:19)”. This is significant because as Jesus is eating with his disciples and then later being illegally arrested, tried and sentenced to death by the Jewish leadership, an actual lamb is in the temple, being prepared to be sacrificed for the sins of the nation. Passover is the one day a year that the high priest enters the Holy of Holies with that perfect lamb’s blood and anoints the Mercy Seat. The writer of Hebrews tells us all about Jesus, our eternal High Priest. I’d like to read you selected verses from the book of the book Hebrews as our meditation for communion today. I’m reading out of the International Standard Version of the Bible.
This is the word of God:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he himself also shared the same things, so that by his death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (that is, the devil) and might free those who were slaves all their lives because they were terrified by death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels. No, he came to help Abraham’s descendants, thereby becoming like his brothers in every way, so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and could atone for the people’s sins. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (2:14-18)
Since we have a great high priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us live our lives consistent with our confession of faith. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Instead, we have one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet he never sinned. So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (4:14-16)
As a mortal man, he offered up prayers and appeals with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his devotion to God. Son though he was, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (5:7-10)
…we who have taken refuge in him might be encouraged to seize the hope set before us. That hope, firm and secure like an anchor for our souls, reaches behind the curtain where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone on our behalf, having become a high priest forever… (6:18b-20a)
There have been many priests, since each one of them had to stop serving in office when he died. But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, because he always lives to intercede for them, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him.
the main point in what we are saying is this: we do have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tent set up by the Lord and not by any human. (8:1-2)
when the Messiah came as a high priest of the good things that have come, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle
…. Not with the blood of goats and calves,
but with his own blood he went into
the Most Holy Place once for all and secured our eternal redemption. For if the
blood of goats and bulls … sprinkled on those who are unclean purifies
them physically, how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the
eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from
dead actions so that we may serve the living God! (9:11-14)
the Messiah did not go into a sanctuary made by human hands that is merely a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, to appear now in God’s presence on our behalf. Nor did he go into heaven to sacrifice himself again and again, the way the high priest goes into the Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the creation of the world. But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once for all to remove sin by his sacrifice. Indeed, just as people are destined to die once and after that to be judged, so the Messiah was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. And he will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly wait for him. (9:24-28)
By the Blood of Jesus the Messiah your sins have been forgiven. As you're eating the elements, please consider how much you have been forgiven and worship with me our God, who entered into the world WE destroyed with sin, to suffer alongside us, to lead us down the only path to peace.