I believe that He is still able to do today what he did in the gospels
Small groups – also looking at these encounters – although not is the same order.
Big idea today – Jesus had the greatest impact on the people who were within the closest proximity to him
That group of people was the 12 disciples >>>
Encountering Christ gives us new meaning v14-23
The disciples were very familiar with what was going to happen
They’d done it many times before – any Jewish home would do this once a year.
It was a meal with a meaning
They retold the story of the Exodus when God released the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt
A lamb was killed for each Jewish family – blood smeared – and God’s judgement passed over – so the lamb gave its life for the family!
A huge part of their identity was framed around this time when God released them from slavery in Egypt.
So they looked back every passover to say “We’re the ones God has rescued! He saw our plight! He intervened! He got us out!
And now we’re a nation under God in our own right!” That’s the significance of the passover!
And here, Jesus gave it new meaning
v19 ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’
The body of a lamb had been given in history – Jesus changes the meaning of the bread to signify his body
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you
The blood of the lamb was smeared over the door of each Israelite family. It was a protection against God’s judgement on Egypt
Now Jesus is saying ‘this is my blood’ – and the picture language would be very clear “It’s my blood that gives you protection from God’s judgement. I will soon become that lamb. It’s my body that will be sacrificed to rescue you – to get you out!
Celebrating communion is a vital part of being in God’s family together.
And from that day to this it’s been one of the identifying marks of true believers and of a true church
Marks of true church?
Administering the sacraments
Baptism and communion >>>
baptism is the once-for-all statement that I’ve come to Christ – not repeated
Communion – the regular week-in-week out restatement that I belong to Christ and I’ve examined myself to be satisfied that I’m in Him
Preaching of the Word
Taking this word and conveying its message under the power of the Holy Spirit so it changes our lives.
Not a bunch f clerics sitting in judgement, but the consisted discipline of our lives to be more like Jesus.
E.g. a sculpture – to make it a good likeness the sculptor says to himself “this bit needs to beremoved, and this bit needs to added, this bit needs to be re-shaped”
We let God be our sculptor. >>>
And on rare occasions the church leaders do have to say to someone “This is out of order we’re parting company”
There was one person who hadn’t let that happen – Judas who was just about to betray Jesus
But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!’ 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
They asked the ‘is it me?’ question.
In 2 Corinthians Paul said:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.
What does that mean? To examine themselves to see if they’re a Christian – “I prayed a prayer?” “I go to church?”
It’s possible for someone to think they’re a Christian when actually they’re not.
According to the Bible, real conversion is a change
I no longer rely on my own effort to convince God I’m acceptable to him – I rely on the sacrifice that Christ has made on my behalf.
Encountering Christ changes the meaning of life!
Encountering Christ gives us a new order of things v24
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.
Considered => regarded as This was an argument about reputation!
And it appears to be the whole group!
We know this has happened before – James son of Zebedee and his brother John. Jesus gave them a nickname ‘Boanerges’ = ‘sons of thunder’ – a feisty pair!
25 Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.
First Century society was dominated by patronage.
If I was your patron (Or benefactor) I might use my influence with the local authority to get your house built where you want it – or I might lean on your boss to give you that promotion – or I might just give you money
But that creates an obligation – a debt – and you would owe me. So …
I might expect you to vote for me, or say nice things about me or provide me with some of your goods or services. (Drive me in your car, come and do my garden etc)
It was a voluntary code, but highly exploitative. And much of their society operated on this cycle of patronage, guilt and debt paying.
Most people felt trapped by it
Jesus response was withering
26 But it’s not to be like that with you!
God’s people, the church, should never be a place of guilt and manipulation, never a place of debt and fear
Instead it’s to be a place of compassion and humility.
He gives two comparisons, one about the powerful and the other about the influencers.
Instead, the greatest among you
(the patrons, the people most able to manipulate because of their wealth or power)
… should be like the youngest,
The youngest have no rights and property or influence so they can’t call the shots in the benefactor game.
and the one who rules
(the person with a leadership role, in whose hands rest power) …
like the one who serves.
And, he is even more subversive! Imagine the scene.
They are enjoying a passover meal. That take work and effort, just in the practicalities of putting it together
Just look around you, someone slogged to make this happen.
27 For who is greater (more important) the one who is at the table (being served) or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table?
But I am among you as one who serves.
Jesus is the greatest example of servant leadership who has walked the earth.
28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Put the 12 tribes up against the 12 disciples and ask “Who served the purposes of God more wholeheartedly?”
You, my disciples did.
Encountering Christ gives us a new order to things.
Encountering Christ gives us a new set of challenges. (v31-34)
31 ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.
There’s something interesting going on behind the english text – ‘you’ is plural
Satan has desired to sift all-of-you but I have prayed for you (Singular) Simon
Why did Jesus Christ pray particularly for Simon?
Two possibilities – (a) he’s the most vulnerable (b) he will be the future leader of the church
32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’
I think Simon was taken aback by Jesus saying “when you’ve turned back” because he hasn’t turned away! SO Simon gets a bit defensive and says
33 … ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’
34 Jesus answered, [Really?] ‘I tell you, Peter, before the cock crows today, you will deny three times that you even know me.’
What are our new set of challenges? Taking on a spiritual conflict
Ephesians 6:10 My final point: be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God,
Encountering Christ leads us to an exchange (v35-38)
35 Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ ‘Nope, Nothing,’ they answered.
36 He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.
38 The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’
‘That’s enough!’ he replied.
Enigmatic snippet of conversation
some theologian try to explain it away or spiritualise it
Few are willing to acknowledge Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said.
“Things are going to get violent. You might need to be able to defend yourself. So be prepared”
And it’s significant that today, on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 that Jesus said something like that.
But in the middle of this Jesus refocuses on what it’s all about.
So what is the bottom line of being in Christ? Being a Christian? It’s an exchange.
It’s embedded in v37
37 Jesus said It is written: “He was numbered with the transgressors”; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.’
Jesus, the sinless Son of God will soon join the ranks of common criminals.
He will soon be falsely convicted, unjustly sentenced and brutally murdered between two nameless men who deserved their punishment.
He will be numbered with the transgressors so that we can be numbered with the righteous
He will be convicted so that we can be released
He will bear God’s wrath so that we can receive God’s grace
He will go to his death so that we can live.
I want to follow a man like that!
If you’ve never made that public I’m going to give you a chance to do it
Then when we take communion you can do it, knowing that you’re in Christ.