Throughout the 4 Gospels, Jesus constantly makes shocking and awesome statements. When we hear Jesus’ words repeatedly, we can easily grow numb to just how scandalous some of His statements are. His words can begin to sound almost normal to us. But His Words are anything but normal, and we'll look at an example in this message that takes place during the Last Supper, the night before Jesus is crucified.
It happened almost 20 years ago, but I can still remember seeing the footage of it on CNN. Giant explosions everywhere and a lot of them all at once. It was it was surreal.
It was back in 2003 when the United States led a coalition that invaded Iraq and overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein.
The Iraq war began with what is known as the shock and awe campaign. It was called the shock and awe campaign.
Because of the force that was used, the military force was shocking and it left you in awe if you saw it.
It was extraordinary, it was abnormal, it was not something that you saw every day, it took your breath away if you saw it, it took mine away, to be sure. Part of the reason it was so shocking to me personally was the fact that war has never been a part of my life as a Canadian citizen. I haven't seen or heard gunshot fire first hand. I haven't been present when a bomb has gone off anywhere. I wasn't used to what I saw happen in Iraq.
So when I saw it, it really left an imprint on my mind. But there are so many people in our world today who have had upbringings that are totally different from what mine was like.
There are people who have grown up in war torn countries and all they've ever known is gunfire, explosions and war on a daily basis. Some people have experienced war so much that it's not even shocking or awesome to them anymore. It's become almost normal to them.
They've become numb to it all because they've seen the sights too many times and they've heard the sounds one too many times.
They've become numb to the shock and awe of war. Now, I think the same thing can happen to us on a spiritual level when it comes to Jesus. See, almost every time Jesus opens his mouth and speaks, it's like a verbal shock and awe campaign. Powerful words, explosive words, words that change everything Jesus says, shocking and awesome statements constantly throughout the gospels.
And I think that when we hear Jesus words repeatedly every day for years on end, I think that we, too, can grow numb to the shocking and awesome things that he has to say.
His words can become almost normal sounding. But his words are almost anything but normal. I want to show you an example of this in our text tonight, some shocking and awesome words from the Lord Jesus. So if you have your Bible with you, I want to get you to turn to our text, which is Matthew, Chapter 26, Verse is. Twenty six to twenty nine as we pick up our study through the book of Matthew together. As you find your place, I'll start in the very beginning of verse twenty six and it goes like this.
Says now as they were eating, so there's a stop there for now in this scene, Jesus and his disciples are enjoying what's what is known as the Passover meal.
They're eating this dinner together on the eve of Jesus crucifixion. Now, if we're going to comprehend the shocking and awesome words that come out of Jesus mouth in this scene, we're going to have to grasp the significance of the Passover meal.
You can read about the institution of the Passover more fully if you go back and start near the end of the Book of Genesis and read through about the first third of the Book of Exodus, all that I'm about to reference about the Passover here can be found in more detail there.
So at the end of Genesis, we see the people of God go into Egypt on good terms, then in the beginning of the Book of Exodus, we learn that over the course of 400 years, the people of God end up becoming slaves in Egypt, which in turn leads them to cry out to God to save them. And he does big time God hears the cries of his people and he acts to save them. So God calls a man named Moses and sends him to Pharaoh to get his people released.
A pharaoh rejects God's word to him, which tells Pharaoh to set God's people free.
God then performs a series of ten devastating plagues that bring all of Egypt to its knees in submission. These 10 plagues demonstrated God's power towards those he was saving.
But they also displayed to the entire world that there is only one true God and all of the gods of Egypt could never hold a candle to God's glory. Is plague number 10, where our understanding of the Passover comes from, all the plagues were harsh, but number 10 was the harshest.
To understand that this is the tenth plague, Pharaoh has had more than enough time and opportunity to heed God's warning up until this point, plague number 10 was this God was going to kill the first born son of every family in Egypt, both of Egyptians and the Hebrews alike, unless unless each family took the blood of a lamb and painted their doorpost with it. Then when the angel of death came to that house and saw the blood, he would pass over that house and not kill the firstborn son.
But if the blood wasn't placed on the door post when the angel came, the firstborn son would be killed. Now all of God's people killed the lamb and painted their doorpost with the blood, just like God told them to do.
And all their firstborn sons were spared. The Egyptians, they didn't heed God's warning, and that night all the firstborn sons in Egypt were killed.
That was the final straw for Pharaoh. The next morning, God's people were finally kicked out of Egypt and then God led them through the Red Sea and into the wilderness and eventually into the promised land is during the exodus out of Egypt that God instituted that this event in his people's history should be commemorated every year with a special meal. We can read about this specifically in Exodus Chapter 12 or 14, where it reads God saying this day shall be for you, a Memorial Day and you shall keep it as a feast.
The Lord, throughout your generations as a statue forever. You shall keep it as a feast.
So every year forward from this point, from the day that God passed over his people and delivered them from out of their bondage in Egypt, God's people remembered what God had done by celebrating the Passover meal on the anniversary that their freedom was given to them.
That was what Jesus was doing with his disciples in our text. This is what they were celebrating. Now, there are many parts to this Passover meal, and for the sake of time, we're not going to break down every part of the Passover meal in this message. But we're going to look at two of the parts of the meal, the unleavened bread and the cups of wine. The unleavened bread was eaten at every single Passover meal throughout the Bible.
Unleavened bread is a picture of senselessness, and Silwan is symbolic for sin. And so unleavened bread is symbolic for nowthen. But there's an added layer of meaning to the unleavened bread when we consider the very first Passover event, see when the Israelites ate the unleavened bread of Passover, the very first time, it reminded them that they had to leave Egypt very quickly when the opportunity came for them to go. Listen to this in Exodus, Chapter 12, starting in verse three, it's going to be on an outline as well, if you have it says the Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste, for they said we shall all be dead.
So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading balls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders and then down to To verse, 37, and the people of Israel journeyed from Ramses to suck off the six hundred thousand men on foot. Besides women and children, a mixed multitude also went up with them and very much livestock, both flocks and herds. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
So when the Jews ate the unleavened bread, they remembered that their people had to flee Egypt in haste. In haste. That's the unleavened bread. Now, not another part of the Passover meal was the four cups of wine that were staggered throughout the dinner.
If you go back and read the Exodus account, you won't find wine as part of the prescribed meal that God gave to Moses. The wine was in addition to the Passover meal that was added over the years since the exodus. I don't know when it was added, but I do know why the wine was added. The four cups of Passover wine were an integral part of the Passover celebration because this is what they did.
They represented each of the four promises that God made to his people in Exodus Chapter six, verses six to seven when I read those two verses for us right now. Exodus six Verse is Verse is six to seven says this say, therefore, to the people of Israel, I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them. And I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.
I will take you to be my people and I will be your God. And you shall know that I am the Lord, your God who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptian. During the Passover meal, each of the four cups of wine commemorated one of these four promises that God made to his people.
Number one called the cup of sanctification. And this was connected to the first promise that God made an the six where he said, I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And so when the people in Passover had that cup, they remembered that promise. Then cup number two was known as the Cup of Deliverance, and that was connected to the second promise God made, which was I will rescue you from their bondage.
Later in the meal, they'd get to number three. This would be called the cup of redemption connected to the third promise, which God said, I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.
And then finally, the cup for was known as the cup of praise connected to the fourth promise God made, which was I will take you as my people. So every year during the Passover meal, God's people remembered God's promises when they participated in the four cups.
As I said earlier, there are other parts of the Jewish Passover, but I highlight just the aspects of the bread and the wine for the purpose of examining our text here tonight.
And now we're ready, we're ready for Jesus verbal shock and awe campaign.
Are you ready for it? All right, Jews celebrated the Passover every year to remember the historical event of their exodus out of Egypt every year, they had celebrated Passover every year for centuries, for centuries, up until this time that Jesus is celebrating it with his disciples.
And so in our seeing, Jesus is reclining around the table with his disciples and he says to them, in what I would imagine is a nonchalant kind of manner.
He mentions to them that the centuries old tradition of Passover. It's not about the exodus anymore now, according to the words that came out of Jesus mouth, the Passover celebration is now. All about him. It's all about Jesus.
This is shocking and this is awesome, Jesus tells them that when they eat the unleavened bread and drink the wine, they are to now focus their attention and their remembrance upon him and not on the exodus of the past.
Let's read our text the first several verses in Matthew Chapter twenty six, starting in verse twenty six. 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. Same 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.
So we really need to grasp the shock value of what Jesus is saying and doing here. So let me try to help us grasp the shock and awe of it by sharing the modern day equivalent with you.
Here's a scene that I made up taking place around a family's table for Christmas dinner.
Totally made up scene. OK, so imagine this. Everyone sitting around a big table, a big spread for Christmas dinner.
Grandpa has already prayed and the meal has begun when halfway through dinner, Uncle Bob stands up at his seat and rings his glass with his fork ting ting ting to get everybody's attention.
Can I please have everybody's attention, Uncle Bob begins. I have a really important message that I want to share with you. It's about Christmas. At Christmas, we always remember and celebrate when Christ was born and people have done that for the past two thousand years. Uncle Bob continues.
But starting tonight, things are going to change from here on out. Christmas is not about Jesus anymore. From now on, when we celebrate Christmas, everybody is to remember me, Uncle Bob.
My favorite color is green, and so when you put up your Christmas tree every year, I want you to remember me. You know, you all know I have a pretty good sense of humor, so when you're eating your turkey at Christmas dinner, I want you to remember your Uncle Bob, who's a big turkey himself.
And since I'm the point of Christmas now, Uncle Bob continues, when you set up your nativity scene each Christmas season, I want you to place Baby Jesus face down on the ground. And I want you to put a picture of me there in his place instead.
Grandpa finally chimes in, OK, that's enough, sit down, Bob and everyone, Uncle Bob is now cut off officially from the wine for the rest of the night. It would be shocking if someone did what Uncle Bob did in this fictitious example, wouldn't wouldn't it be shocking? But that's what Jesus is actually doing during the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus words are shocking and they're awesome. Take a look again at verse twenty six says Jesus took bread and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat, this is my body.
Jesus is saying this bread is about me now.
Remember me when you eat this bread, Jesus says, shocking, the full weight of these shocking words will become clearer to the disciples when on the very next day, Jesus body was brutally tortured and hung on the cross.
But Jesus is saying, when you eat this bread from now on, I don't want you to focus on the Passover in Egypt anymore. I want you to focus on me and my body hanging on the cross, my body that was buried, my body that was physically raised from the dead.
This is about me. Now, the scene with Jesus and his disciples reminds me of a well-known meme. The meme comes from a movie called Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks. Now, in this particular scene that this meme comes from, the pirates get on board the Tom Hanks ship and one of the pirates comes up directly to Tom Hanks character, and he does one of these with his eyes. The pirate looks directly at the captain, Tom Hanks, and he goes like this and he says, look at me, I'm the captain now.
It's a great meme. If if you're one on one Mammalogy, you'll know the Captain Phillips meme. But Jesus, Jesus in the scene in our text is doing something very similar. He's holding the unleavened bread with all his disciples and he's looking at them and he says, look at me, I'm the unleavened bread now. I'm the unleavened bread. Now I'm the bread of the Passover. Now. It's shocking and is awesome, but Jesus doesn't stop there.
Look at Verse is, twenty seven and twenty eight again. And he took a cup and when he'd given thanks he said you gave it to them. Same 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. We've already seen that there were four times during the Passover meal where one of four cups was of wine was drunk and each cup of wine corresponded to one of the four promises God made those people in the exodus.
The cup that Jesus has given to his disciples in Arsène is the third cup which corresponded to the third promise God promised back in Exodus Chapter six.
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm. I will redeem you means I will purchase you for myself. And that is what God did during the Passover. In the Exodus, God purchased His people out of Egypt for himself.
And now Jesus is saying this wine of redemption is about me. It's about me. This wine is a picture of my blood which was poured out on the cross the very next day. Jesus, blood was the price that had to be paid if God were to purchase a people for himself in the exodus, the blood of the lamb, which was which stained the doorpost of each house, saved people from physical death.
On Good Friday, the blood of the Lamb of God, which stained the cross, saves his people from spiritual death.
In the exodus, people were saved from a physical death, but they would still end up dying one day in the future. But in the gospel, people are saved from an eternal spiritual death. So we are all going to physically die one day unless we're raptured or we're alive when Jesus comes back. But the blood of Jesus applied to our lives by faith ensures that when we stand before God in the final judgment, spiritual death will pass over us.
To why? Because Jesus died for us. You shed his blood for us. And that was enough to pay for our sins because Jesus paid for our sins. We don't have to pay for our sins anymore.
The bread and the wine of Passover used to point God's people to a past event, and it did for hundreds of years. Don't miss that.
It was a centuries old tradition given to them by God himself. But now Jesus is saying that the bread and the wine are pointing to a new event.
The Gospel, the bread and the wine now point to the slain body of the Lamb of God given for the sins of the world hanging on the cross where his blood was poured out in order that whoever is covered by the blood is saved forever.
Shocking, awesome words and great news. If you are new to the Bible and new to the Christian faith, this is what Christians do when we observe communion together, we are doing what Jesus told his disciples to do during the Last Supper. When we eat the bread of communion and drink the cup of communion, we are doing what Jesus disciples did during the Last Supper. We don't remember Egypt. We remember the cross Jesus body hung on it and Jesus blood spilled out on it so that we can remember the wrath of God has passed over us.
Wow. Wow. Final, the final words in our text verse, twenty nine, Jesus goes on, I tell you, I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you and my father's kingdom. Remember, it was the third cup of wine that Jesus held up when he spoke. The words found in verses twenty seven and twenty eight. But then he goes on to say here in verse twenty nine that he won't drink the Passover wine until a future date.
Well, what wine is he talking about here? Well, he's referring to the fourth cup of wine that he didn't end up drinking with his disciples that night. He's saving the experience of drinking the last cup for a future time with all of his disciples.
And when is Jesus going to drink? This fourth cup will in verses twenty nine. It says when his kingdom comes. When the kingdom comes. When the kingdom has fully come, when Jesus comes back, then Jesus will drink the wine that he mentions in verse twenty nine. And so when Christians take communion, we're doing two things at the same time.
Number one, we're looking back at the cross.
But number two, we're also looking ahead to the day when we will celebrate the marriage supper of the lamb in the Kingdom of God when it has fully come. I'm going to begin to wrap up right here. I think there are times that we can read Jesus words so much that we become numb to the shocking nature of what Jesus is actually saying.
If we do become numb, we'll miss out on some of the awesomeness of what our God has to say to us.
The four verse is that we looked at tonight are a great example of this. Jesus makes Passover all about him. It's both shocking and awesome. But here's the kicker, though, is just it's not just Passover that Jesus does this with. Jesus has made everything about him. Let me read a passage for you from Colossians. Chapter one is me, Verse is, 15 to 20 as we wrap up our time here. The apostle Paul says this He Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation four by him, all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.
All things were created through him and for him, all things were created for him. And he Christ is before all things, and in him all things whole together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.
Everything in the universe is about Jesus, not just Passover, that is also shocking. And awesome. Let's pray. Lord, do whatever you have to do in our hearts right now in the hearts of people watching this message right now, do whatever you have to do to open the eyes of our hearts, remove any spiritual blindness, any darkness that would keep us from perceiving the reality that you alone are the center of everything that exists. You are the I am Jesus, you are creator God, you are the sole purpose for the universe existing.
Help us to see that not in a grand, just a grand general way.
Help us to see how you're the center of our lives, every single one of us, without exception, help us to see that and how glorious that is that you actually invite your people into a relationship where you could be placed at the center and all of our the sum total of our lives revolve around you.
They serve you. It points to you. Our hope is in. You are longing is for you. Our strength is in you. Everything is from you. Everything is about you, for you or through you. You gave us a taste of that at that Passover meal with your disciples, Lord, but I pray that you expand that into our hearts now as we head into this new year of twenty, twenty one and beyond. Jesus, you're the center.
Get glory for yourself in the lives of your people individually and get glory for yourself in the life of your church, locally and abroad. I pray, Lord, that this message has built up the faith of your saints, and I pray, Lord, that if anyone's watching this message tonight, who is not a Christian, who doesn't know you, Lord, that by the power of your Holy Spirit, you would bring them into a relationship with themselves, were they to say, I want God's wrath to pass over me?
Jesus, I believe in the blood, Jesus, I believe in the resurrection. Jesus. I turn for my whole life, my life of sin. And I trust you now for eternal life. Forgive me and bless me. Do that in the life of a person. Right now we pray, Lord, in all these things, praying for the saints and praying for unbelievers. We pray, Lord, that you're glorified. And we pray that our deepest joy is found in you.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Amen.