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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 53 - Luke 22:19, 20 - The Heavenly Feast Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




The Heavenly Feast.


     "And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you."-Luke 22:19,20.



     This was Passover-night; the anniversary of "the night much to be remembered, "when the Lord God of Israel led Israel out of Egypt. Jesus kept all the passovers; and specially He desired to keep this, the last of the long series of memorable nights in which Israel commemorated the grand deliverance.

     The roasted lamb disappears, and in its place come the bread and wine; the symbols of the new and better covenant. It is with these that we have to do in the ordinance of the supper. And, as of the passover, so of the supper, Jesus is all.

     I. The taking of the bread. It is bread that he takes; one of the passover cakes; made of the produce of this soil,-earth's wheat, sown, watered, springing up and ripening here. For he took not the nature of angels, but He took the seed of Abraham. Himself the incarnate One, the Word made flesh He presents to us. He is very man, of the substance of the virgin, of the flesh of man, true seed of the woman, true Son of Adam; not angelic, but human, thoroughly human in His nature; man all over in everything but sin; for that passover cake was without leaven.

     II. The thanksgiving. The other evangelists call it "blessing." The meaning is the same. He "gave thanks" and He "blessed;" not the bread, but God; for "it" is not in the original. He praised God in connection with this bread. Jesus gave thanks for the bread, and specially for that of which it was the symbol. He gave thanks to the Father for his now almost completed work, and for all that that work was to accomplish.

     III. The breaking of the bread. He broke the thin passover cake in pieces, that thereby He might complete the symbol. For the breaking was a most important part of the feast. The bread was to be first broken before it was eaten. Not a bone of Him was to be broken, and yet his body was to be broken. The "bruising of the heel" and the "breaking of the body" were the two expressions used to denote his suffering work as the substitute or sacrifice for sin. It is not incarnation merely that we have in the supper, but death,-sacrificial death; the body broken by the burden of our guilt laid upon Him. Christ crucified is the alpha and omega of the Lord's supper. It is his cross that is set before us there; his cross as the place where our guilt and our curse were borne.

     IV. The giving. In many ways Christ gave himself to us; but here it is specially as the sin-bearer that He does so. It is his broken body that He presents to us. This is his gift to us. That broken body, with the sin-bearing work which it accomplished, He gives to us. It is the gift of his love; the love that passeth knowledge.

     V. The word of explanation and command. The explanation is, "This is my body, given for you." The command is, "This do in remembrance of me." Thus, we learn these two things (1.) that it is the body of Christ,-Christ on the cross,-that we have so specially to do with here; "my flesh is meat indeed;" (2.) that the Lord's supper is a memorial of Christ himself; not a sacrifice, but the memorial of a sacrifice. That bread is to be received by us in remembrance of Christ. It fixes our eye on Jesus only.

     Such is the first part of the supper; that concerning the bread or body of the Lord. The second is like unto it; concerning the wine or blood of the Lord. The process is repeated. As was done with the bread, so is it done with the wine.

     (1.) He took the cup. It was the cup of blessing. He took to himself not only the flesh but the blood of man.

     (2.) He gave thanks (Matthew 26:27). For the wine as well as for the bread He gives thanks;-double thanksgivings in this ordinance.

     (3.) He gave the cup. The cup He meant for them as specially as the bread. Yes; He gave it; who then can take it away? Can man, or priest, or church take the cup from us? Does not He who takes the cup from us prove himself to be an Antichrist?

     (4.) He bade them drink. "Drink ye all of it" (Matthew 26:27). And "they all drank of it" (Mark 14:23). It is by his command that we drink. He says to us, "Drink"; not, Gaze on it; but, Drink of it.

     (5.) He interprets the cup. "This cup is the new testament in my blood." In Mark (14:24) it is, "This is my blood of the new testament." In 1st Corinthians (10:16) it is called "the cup of blessing," and the "communion of the blood of Christ." Thus the cup connects us, (1.) with the new covenant; (2.) with the blood; (3.) with blessing; (4.) with communion. In that cup we see the covenant, the blood, the blessing, the communion. Let us fully understand it, and realize its contents.

     Of these symbols,-of this whole ordinance,-we may say truly,-(1.) The love of Christ is here. It is the feast of love. The symbols tell of love. The whole scene is love. His banner over us is love. (2.) The joy of Christ is here. It is not the man of sorrows that we hear in this feast. Joy and peace are here. "My peace;" "my joy." (3.) The glory of Christ is here. For though the symbols take us back to the cross, they bid us look forward to the coming and the glory. We shew his death till He come.