Today, we are going to observe the Lord’s Supper. There are a lot of important themes, subjects, and lessons that come from the Lord’s Supper. Lessons that address sacrifice, forgiveness, self-examination, the Lord’s return, evangelism and outreach, thankfulness, community, the blood of Christ, the sinless life of Christ, and unity to name a few. This morning we are going to focus on the theme of suffering. We are going to think about and remember what Jesus suffered for you and me and what it means to suffer for Jesus as well.
No one likes to suffer. It doesn’t matter if you are suffering because of your own sins or bad decisions or suffering because of someone else’s sins and bad decisions, suffering is never wanted or desired.
When we do suffer we often think something is wrong, even when we have not done anything wrong. Our tendency is to think God is punishing us when we suffer. But this may not be the case. Listen carefully to 1 Peter 5:8-9, Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are (NLT). Sometimes you suffer for doing right. You suffering for doing exactly what God would have you to do. The devil loves creating pain in the lives of God’s people. Sometimes you suffer simply because of who you are and who you belong too.
Let’s start with Luke 22:14,
When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” 17 Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.” 19 He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (NLT)
Let’s think about the Lord’s suffering and what it means for you and me. I want us to see three important aspects of the Lord’s suffering and how that relates to our own suffering. These three aspects of the Lord’s suffering are seen in 1 Peter 2:21-25.
Following Christ means suffering innocently
First, following Christ means suffering innocently. Peter says in verse 21, For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.
- God has called you to do good. This is a part of your purpose. He wants you to do good regarding your parents, regarding your children, regarding your spouse, regarding your employer, regarding your friends, and regarding those who don’t like you. You are called to do good. You are called to do the right thing in the right way.
- Sometimes people are not going to appreciate the good you do or the good you stand for. They are not going to want it and they will rebel against you. As a result, you may suffer for doing good. Sometimes doing good means suffering. When this happens, it will feel unfair, unjust, and uncalled for.
- Jesus understands this and how you feel because that’s what happened when He suffered for you. When Jesus was beaten, mocked, and nailed to the cross for doing good and while doing good it felt unfair and unjust. He was paying for our sins.
- However, Jesus is your example, and you must follow in his steps. This means you don’t back down from doing what is right even though the results are going to be painful.
- The reason the Lord’s suffering was unfair and unjust is because He never sinned against anyone, nor did He ever deceive anyone.
Jesus suffered innocently. He didn’t suffer because of His sin, but because of yours. Everything He did was good, but He suffered for that good. The right thing for Him to do was to suffer for your sins then so that you could be set free from them later. As you are remembering what Jesus did on the cross, think about how He suffered for you even though He was innocent and what example is Jesus setting for you today.
Following Christ means suffering patiently
Second, following Christ means suffering patiently. Peter says in verse 23, He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
- When you suffer for doing what is right, one response is to retaliate. Retaliate means to make an attack or assault in return for a similar attack. Someone insults you then you insult them back. Someone punches you, you punch them back. They yell at you, you yell at them. For Jesus, He was being insulted and He chose not to return the insults. He was being disrespected by what they were saying, how they were saying it, and by how they were treating Him. Instead of being respected and honored, He was belittled and mocked. Instead of disrespecting them and insulting them, He chose to love them and decided to leave his case in the hands of God.
- Another response to suffering is to threaten revenge. To threaten revenge is to say, “I’m going to get you back. You are going to pay for what you are doing to me. I’m going to call down 10,000 angels and have them wipe you out.” Instead of threatening revenge He decided to love them and left his case in the hands of God.
Sometimes there is noting you can do or should do when you are being insulted. Sometimes when you feel like retaliating you need to follow Jesus’ example and leave the case in the hands of God. Let God deal with the people and situation. Place a guard over your mouth and trust God through it.
That takes patience and trust. To be like Jesus you must be willing to suffer patiently. You find out what you really believe when others mistreat you. Sometimes the real test of your faith is what you don’t do. As you remember how Jesus suffered patiently for you on the cross think of ways you need to suffer patiently for others.
Following Christ means suffering sacrificially
Third, following Christ means suffering sacrificially. Peter says in verse 24, He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 25 Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls. We see a lot of incredible truths in those two verses. For example,
- The Lord’s suffering was personal. Jesus personally placed the weight of our sins on Himself. He didn’t ask someone else to do it, He did it.
- The Lord’s suffering was substitutionary. Jesus carried our sins. The punishment and judgment that we should have received because of our sins He chose to receive. He became our substitute. He replaced us with Himself.
- The Lord’s suffering was severe. Jesus carried our sins in his body on the cross. That is referring to all the horrible things that were done toward Him. All the torture that was unleashed on Him physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. His suffering was severe.
- The Lord’s suffering was redemptive. He sacrificed Himself so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. We could be someone new, someone different, someone with a divine purpose.
- The Lord’s suffering was curative. Peter says, By his wounds you are healed. The context is the complete healing that salvation from our sins brings. Every believer will experience complete healing when they receive the completion of their salvation in heaven with their glorified body.
- The Lord’s suffering is reconciling. Verse 25 tells us, Once you were like sheep who wandered away. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls. Your relationship with God is healed. You fellowship with God is restored. You have returned home where you belong.
There is enough gospel truth in those two verses to save the whole world.
- Jesus takes our punishment.
- Jesus pays the price for our sin.
- Jesus gives us new life.
- Jesus heals our hearts.
- Jesus brings us back to God.
All that we really want and really need is found in the cross of Christ.
Jesus suffered sacrificially for you. We are to follow in His steps. He is our example. As you remember how Jesus suffered sacrificially for you on the cross think of ways you need to suffer sacrificially for others.
Conclusion / Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is not just about the death of Christ, but about the reign of Christ. Jesus died on the cross so that He could resurrect from the grave. He resurrected from the grave so that He could ascend to the Father. He ascended to the Father so that He could come back again for His people. “Do this in remembrance of me.”
At this time I would like the band to join me.
This morning the Lord’s Supper will be up to you. I want to encourage you to take a moment and pause and talk to God. Praise Him, thank Him, confess to Him, ask Him to help you repent of your sin and ask Him what He wants to do in your life. Talk to Him.
When the band begins to play in a moment and when you are ready, you can come up to the front to one of the tables. The bread represents His body which He sacrificed for you and the juice represents His blood he shed for you. You can receive the Lord’s Supper up here or you can take it back to your seat. It’s up to you. You can eat or drink when you are ready.
I encourage you to be in a prayerful attitude as you receive the Lord’s Supper. We are not in a hurry. Take some time and slow down. Fix your heart and mind on God this morning.
When you are done you can place the cups in the trash cans on the way out.
When the band begins to play you can begin to come and when we are done I will come back and close out our services. Band you can begin to play.