Sermon Title: This is my body . . . my blood
Text: Matthew 26:26-29
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:26-29, ESV).
Millions of Christians around the globe come together each Sunday to engage in a very simple yet powerful act: they sit down and eat a meal with one another and with Jesus. They do it in huts and shacks and in open fields and secret caves. They do it in small groups of two or three or in crowds of two or three thousand. The words are spoken in thousands of different languages and dialects, but the message is the same: “We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he gave himself as the sinless offering for the sins of the world. We remember his sacrifice as we eat this bread and drink this cup, and in doing so we recommit ourselves to living lives that are fully informed by the One whose name we confess today.” The church—God’s people—are united as we sit down and eat with Jesus and with one another.
Sunday we studied what is often called the “Last Supper”—the Thursday night when Jesus gathered with his little band of nervous disciples and gave new meaning to a meal that they’d been celebrating their entire lives. Though they didn’t understand it at that moment, the disciples would forever be changed by the event that this celebration foreshadowed. Actually, the world itself would be forever changed.
As Christians we celebrate Communion every Sunday, and it’s an act of subversive defiance where we say to the world, “Your priorities and values are not ours. We live according to a set of principles established by the One who gave us this meal, and as we eat and drink we recommit ourselves to living counter-culturally—according to love, not hate; unity, not division; and service, not power.”
- How can our class pray for you, a friend, or loved one tonight?
Start Reading (read Matthew 26:26-29)
- What questions come to mind as you read this text? What’s one thing that you remember about the sermon?
- Why are memorials important to people? What memorials are important to the country we live in? What memorials do you and your family honor? Why?
- Briefly discuss what the Passover celebration meant to the Jewish people.
- Read 1 Corinthians 5:7. How did Passover foreshadow Jesus? What parallels do you see?
- The sermon talked about four cups that would traditionally be drunk during Passover. When each cup was passed around, the presider would read the lines below from Exodus 6:6-7a. Which cup was it that Jesus was probably passing around when he reinterpreted it for the apostles?
“I am the Lord, and . . .”
- 1st cup: “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, . . .”
- 2nd cup: “I will deliver you from slavery to them, . . .”
- 3rd cup: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. . . .”
- 4th cup: “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, . . .”
- Read Luke 24:13-35 and notice verses 30-31 and 35. When did this meal take place? What verbal similarities do you see between this meal and the Last Supper? What is the significance?
- Discuss how important it is for Christians to take communion regularly? What are the spiritual consequences when we neglect the Table? What are the spiritual benefits of regular observance?
- How should Communion influence the lives of Christians throughout every week?