Breaking Bread Together

Matthew

Breaking Bread Together

February 5th, 1967 @ 10:50 AM

Matthew 26:14-29

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
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BREAKING BREAD TOGETHER

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 26:17-30

2-05-67     10:30 a.m.

 

 

 

Turn in your Bible to Matthew chapter 26, Matthew chapter 26, and we begin reading at verse 17 and conclude at verse 30.  On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message from Matthew chapter 26, verses 17 to 30.  And I read the passage:

 

Now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto Him, Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?

And He said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with My disciples.

And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover.

Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve.

And as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.

And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, could it be I, is it I?

And He answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me.

The Son of Man goeth as it is written of Him:  but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Then Judas, who betrayed Him, answered and said, Master, are You talking about me, is it I?  He said unto him, Thou hast said.

 

That’s the most emphatic Greek form of an affirmation, “Yes, yes.”  And after Judas left:

 

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body.

And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; all of you drink of it;

For this is My blood of the new promise, of the new covenant, of the new contract, which is shed for the remission of sins.

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that glorious day at the marriage supper of the Lamb when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out.

[Matthew 26:17-30]

 

This is Matthew’s story of the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  Now we shall follow it; the sermon is an exposition of this passage.

Now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on the fourteenth day of Nisan—which was in the springtime, which came at a certain period of the moon, after the vernal equinox, the first full moon—on the fourteenth day of Nisan, the paschal lamb, the Passover lamb was slain at three o’clock that afternoon [Leviticus 23:5].  This fourteenth of Nisan fell on our Thursday; and at three o’clock that afternoon, the Passover lamb was slain.  By the law it had to be kept with the family for four days at least, until it was identified as a member of the family; it became a loved pet, as you would have a pet in your house.  The lamb was kept in the family for those days until it became identified with the family [Exodus 12:3-6], for the offering of the lamb was a substitute for the firstborn child [Exodus 12:12].  And when the angel passed over Egypt that first night, all the homes that were not under the blood, into that home death and judgment entered [Exodus 12:7,13,23].  And the substitute for the firstborn son was the lamb [Exodus 12:12], which is a picture, of course—God’s type, God’s sermon in dramatic form—that upon us judgment falls unless the Lamb of God is substituted, is pledged in our stead [2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13]

Now at high noon on the fourteenth of Nisan, every Jewish family went through the house and purged it of leaven, everywhere.  They even took a whiskbroom and dusted around the corner and in every place.  Then, after the house had been thoroughly purged of leaven, the head of the house went outside and looked up to God and said, “As God shall bear me witness, there is no leaven in my house known to me” [Exodus 12:15].  It was that feeling of the Old Testament, that leaven was a type of sin [Mark 8:15], that first gave me pause when I listened to all of my brethren say that the leaven in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew is a type of the kingdom of heaven [Matthew 13:33].  There was something about it that when a Jew, when the people to whom Christ was sent [Matthew 10:5-6, 15:22-24]—if they had heard such a thing as that, it would have been a psychological impossibility.  It was identified, leaven was identified with sin [Mark 8:15], and the Feast of Unleavened Bread began with the purging and scourging of every house, and then “As God bears me witness, there is no leaven in my house”: purging, cleansing, getting ready for the coming of the Lord [Exodus 12:15, 19].

Now, on this day, “Now the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread” [Matthew 26:17] that was a week’s feast, and in it was the Passover supper; that night [Matthew 26:20].  And at three o’clock in the afternoon, on this first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Christ, who is our paschal Lamb, our Passover [1 Corinthians 5:7], Christ turned His face toward the cross.  And in preparation for that Passover supper that evening, He said to His disciples, “Go, and prepare for us that we may eat the Passover” [Matthew 26:17-19]

Now Matthew does not tell the story here—he just summarizes it in a verse—but Mark follows it very carefully.  The Lord had prearranged every detail for this Last Supper with His disciples.  There was a price on His head; they were searching for Him at the feast that they might arrest Him [Mark 14:1].  Judas had already betrayed Him for thirty pieces of silver [Matthew 26:14-16]; so, if the Lord was to be with His disciples alone, He must do it furtively, secretly, clandestinely.  So the Lord told His disciples, “Now you go into the city of Jerusalem,” He being up here on the Mount of Olives in Bethany, “you go into the city of Jerusalem; and when you go into the city at such and such a place, you will find a man there with a pot of water on his head” [Mark 14:13]

Now that was the sign and a very distinct one, for women carried the water; you would never find in Palestine—I don’t know whether you would even today or not—you would never find a man condescending to bear a pitcher of water; that was a woman’s place.  So the sign was, “You will see a man carrying a pitcher of water; now you follow him [Mark 14:13].  And when you see where he goes into the door, you say to him, ‘The Master would eat the Passover with His disciples in your house.’  And he will go up to an upper room, the upper room, and there he’ll show you everything prepared” [Mark 14:14-15].  So it was as the Lord said; He sent Peter and John into the city [Mark 14:13], and they saw the sign, they followed the man with the pitcher of water, and the Lord, in preparation, later came and sat down with His disciples to keep the Passover with His twelve apostles [Mark 14:17].

Then the Master said, as He began this series of arrangements, “My time is at hand” [Matthew 26:18].  The sacrifice of our Lord for us was not something wrenched out of Him, or coerced in Him; it was not forced, it was altogether an act of love, it was voluntary.  “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” [Philippians 2:8].  He said, in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, “I lay down My life, no man taketh it from Me, I lay it down of Myself; and I have power to take it again.  This commandment I have received of My Father” [John 10:17-18].  The laying down of His life was an act of obedience on His part.  God had laid upon Him the expiation for our sins [2 Corinthians 5:21]; and He voluntarily accepted that assignment [Philippians 2:8]

In the passage that they sang this morning—and Lee Roy, how that blessed my heart—in the passage the choir sang this morning of this conversation between Pilate and the crowd who were thirsting for His life [Luke 23:21], in that conversation, there is also one between Jesus and Pilate.  And Pilate, listening to the throng below, heard them say, “He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God” [John 19:7].  And Pilate went into the judgment hall where Jesus was bound, and said, “Who are You?  And whence came You?” and when the Lord answered him never a word, the governor said to him, “What, answerest Thou me not?  Knowest Thou not that I have power to crucify Thee or to release Thee?” [John 19:9-10]. Remember what the Lord replied? “Thou hast no power over Me at all, except as it is given thee from above” [John 19:11].  The crucifixion of our Lord was not something that an army did, or that a procurator, or that armed might brought to pass, but it was a voluntary gift of His life for us: “I lay down my life for the sheep” [John 10:15].  “My time is at hand” [Matthew 26:18].  The hour is come for Me to die.”

So they sat down with the group and began to break bread, and as they were eating, why, the Lord made the announcement to them that one of them should betray Him [Matthew 26:21].  Oh, what heaviness comes to our hearts when we think of that!  Nobody suspected Judas; nobody, not one.  The only one who knew was the Lord Himself.  And each one of those disciples suspected himself before he had any suspicion of Judas.  So when the Lord made that announcement, “One of you shall betray Me,” they were exceeding sorrowful and began every one of them to say unto him, “Lord, is it I?  Could it be I?  Is it I?” [Matthew 26:21-22].

  And the Lord answered, “One of you, who dips his hand with Me in this dish, who is eating this Passover Supper with Me, shall betray Me” [Matthew 26:23].  And that was when Simon Peter said to John, who was next to the Lord Jesus—and reclining as they did in Oriental fashion, John’s head was next to the bosom of our Lord—Simon Peter said to John, “Ask Him, whom does He mean?”  And it was then that the Lord said to John, “He to whom I shall give this morsel when it is dipped in the dish, it is he.”  And the Lord took a piece of bread and dipped it in the dish and gave it to Judas Iscariot [John 13:21-26].  And the Book says that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, and he went out—and it was night [John 13:27-30]—and arranged for the betrayal and the commitment of Jesus into the hands of those who sought His life [Matthew 26:14-16].  So after Judas was gone, why, as they were eating, as they were eating, this is the last Passover [Matthew 26:26-28]—there are three tremendous Passovers recorded in the hexateuch, in the first books of the Bible, the books of Moses and the Book of Joshua.  In the hexateuch, the first six books, there are three great Passovers.  The first, in the twelfth of the Book of Exodus, which is the record of the delivery of the people out of slavery in Egypt, out of the darkness and toward the Promised Land; that’s in the twelfth chapter of Exodus [Exodus 12:43-51]

Then the next time it was observed was in the trackless, weary wilderness wanderings in the ninth chapter of the Book of Numbers [Numbers 9:1-14].  And then the third time was in Canaan.  Under the frowning walls of Jericho, Joshua assembled all the people together, and they observed the Passover [Joshua 5:10].  And in that meal, they ate of the fruit of the land, of the corn of the land, and the manna ceased [Joshua 5:11-12].

This is the last Passover of all time [Matthew 26:26-28]; the Passovers that have been observed since then are—they are relics, they are antiques, they have no pertinency any longer, “For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us” [1 Corinthians 5:7].  The great symbolism that it was endowed with of the Lord has been fulfilled in Christ, and it is no longer apropos.  We do not observe a Passover any longer; this is the last Passover of pertinency [Matthew 26:26-28].  And now we begin a new day, a new era, a new gospel, a new covenant, a new promise, a new testament [Matthew 26:28]

So, as they are eating the last Passover in God’s sight, and for us who believe in the Lord Jesus, as they are eating the last Passover, the Lord took bread and gave thanks, and He took the cup and gave thanks.  He lifted up His face to heaven; He was always looking up to heaven [John 11:41, 17:1].  It’s good for us to look up to heaven.  The outlook is so dark and dreary, and the down-look is so discouraging and wearisome; but the up-look is always bright.  He lifted up His face to heaven and gave thanks; always so much to be grateful for if we will lift up our faces to heaven.  And after He had given thanks, He said, “This is My body,” and took the bread; and “This is My blood,” and He took the cup, the fruit of the vine [Matthew 26:26-28].  Is it the actual body and is it the actual blood of our Lord?  When I talk to these children that are brought to me about church membership, I always go through with them: is this the actual body of Jesus?  No.  Is this the actual blood of Jesus?  No.  Then the question, “Why do you know that?”  And see, the children are taught, in the little book that I have for them, the children are taught: I know that this is not the actual body and this is not the actual blood of the Lord Jesus, because when the Lord said that “this is My body and this is My blood,” when the Lord said that, He was standing before them.  His body was there in their presence, and His blood was coursing through His veins and in His heart.  Therefore I know that when He says, “This is My body” [Matthew 26:26], the bread is a picture of the sacrifice of our Lord, and when the Lord says, “This is My blood” [Matthew 26:28], I know it is a representative; it’s to bring back to our minds the memory of the sacrifice of our Lord for us.  It is like a ring from His finger.  It is like a bracelet from His arm.  It is like a picture from His heart: this is in memory of our Lord.  And wherever there is a crumb of bread, there can this holy feast of love and gratitude and memory be celebrated.

Now, will you look at the most important thing that Jesus will magnify in the sweet and precious years of His ministry?  According to our Lord’s own estimate, what is the above all and everything that He would have us remember?  And out of all of the great glorious things wrought by our Lord, what does He want us most to remember?  Oh, there’s so many things about Jesus that are celestial, that are incomparable, that are heavenly, that are miraculous. His wonderful words; “Never a man spake like that Man” [John 7:46].  Is it His words mostly the Lord would have us remember?  Or think of His mighty miracles; the glorious deeds of His hands.  Is it His mighty miracles that the Lord wants us most to remember?  Or think of His pure and spotless life.  He one time said to His enemies, “Which of you convinceth Me of sin?” [John 8:46].  No, not His words, not His works, not His pure and spotless life, though the Lamb must be without blemish [1 Peter 1:18-19].  It is His death for us that the Lord mostly would have us remember [Matthew 27:26-50; 1 Corinthians 15:3]; for we are not saved by His words, as precious and comforting as they are. 

We had a dedication service this morning for a sweet, wonderful family in our church.  Their teenage daughter had been translated after a long illness; and we had a memorial service and a dedication of a beautiful piano this morning in memory of that precious girl that’s in heaven.  And the passage that I read at the dedication are these wonderful words of the Lord Jesus:  “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28].  Oh, the precious words of our Savior; in a funeral service, in an hour of darkness or discouragement or need, how they feed our souls and bless our hearts!  But we’re not saved by His wonderful words.  Nor are we saved by the majesty and glory of His miraculous works; nor are we saved by His holy and beautiful and spotless life.  It is in His death that we are delivered.  Not by His holy life, but “by His stripes we are healed” [Isaiah 53:5].

The memorial service, the Memorial Supper, points to the great act above all other things that the Lord would have us remember; we are to remember that He did this for us [1 Corinthians 11:23-26].  He took our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3].  He bore our iniquities [Isaiah 53:11], and He died in our stead [2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:5-14].  Now, how shall we remember that death?  So opposite to the modernist and the liberal and the new theology: to them, Christ came into the world—if there was such a person as Jesus, and they doubt that—but to them, Christ came into the world, and according to the usual story, He died a martyr’s death; He died a hero’s death. Or some of them will say it was an act of infinite love.  Or some of them will say it is a portrayal of patient forgiveness.  However these things might be true—an act of love, yes; an act of patient forgiveness, yes; and He laid down His life like a true hero and a glorious martyr, yes—but, oh, this is not the hem of the garment! 

Before the foundation of the world He was slain for our sins [Revelation 13:8].  “Lo, I come; in the roll of the book it is written of Me to do Thy will, O God; for offerings and sacrifices Thou wouldst not, but a body hast Thou prepared for Me” [Hebrews 10:5-7].  If the blood of bulls and of goats could have washed away our sins, the world had been cleansed thousands of years ago; but these could never suffice for the washing of the stain out of our souls [Hebrews 10:1-4], and all the ceremonial of the Old Testament was for was to teach us a nomenclature, a language, a vocabulary in order that we might understand what Jesus was doing for us.  And after the world had been taught in those rituals and ceremonies for thousands of years, when the Lord said, “This My Son is a sacrifice” [Hebrews 9:26, 10:12].  I know what sacrifice means.  All the Old Testament has taught me that word “sacrifice.”  And when God says, “This is an atonement for your souls” [Romans 5:11], I know what that means.  “The life is in the blood: and I have given it up on the altar”—an altar, I know what an altar is—“and I have given it to you upon the altar for an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh atonement for your soul” [Leviticus 17:11].  The whole ritual of the Old Testament was to teach us the language of heaven so that we might understand why Jesus came to die.

And when I look upon that ritual, oh, how meaningful!  Here is a sinner, me; here are sinners, we; and we come to the altar, and we carry with us a sacrifice.  And that sacrifice is tied to the horns of the altar, and over the head of that innocent victim, a lamb [Leviticus 4:32], over the head of that innocent victim, I place my hands, I confess my sins, I identify myself wayward, mistaken, derelict, weak, sinful, I identify myself in confession with that lamb [Leviticus 4:33].  Then, after my confession, the priest takes the lamb and slays it [Leviticus 4:29-30].  “The wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23], and “the soul that sins shall die” [Ezekiel 18:20].  And the blood is poured out at the foot of the altar [Leviticus 4:34], and the body is offered, a sacrifice unto God consumed [Leviticus 4:35].  I know that; why, I’ve been taught that for these years and years and years.  When therefore the Lamb of God comes in to the world, and they say He is a sacrifice for sin [John 1:29], I understand.  And they say His blood is poured out for an atonement for our souls [1 John 4:10], I understand.  That is why the years and the years of the teaching of God’s great language from heaven; that when the Lord came, His body offered an atonement for our souls [1 John 2:2], that we might understand.  “This is My body which is given for you, this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:26-28].

I asked Lee Roy this morning, he hadn’t prepared to sing any such song, but I said to Lee Roy this morning, “Lee Roy, I want you to sing that song.”  Ever since I’ve been preparing this sermon, this song’s been going through my heart:

 

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Ransomed from sin and a new work begun,

Sing praise to the Father and praise to the Son,

Saved, saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

 

 “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28].

 

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

The angels rejoicing because it is done,

A child of the Father, I am now a joint-heir with the Son

I’ve been saved—think of it—by the blood of the Crucified One!

 

“This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28].

 

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

All hail to the Father, all hail to the Son,

All hail to the Spirit, the great Three in One!

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

[from “Saved by the Blood,” S. J. Henderson, 1902]

 

“This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28].

Yes, Lord, after reading through the pages of the Old Covenant, I understand the language; this did Jesus for me.  And the judgment for me is already past [Romans 8:1]; death for me is already destroyed [1 Corinthians 15:26].  Nothing awaits for me but to be glad, and to rejoice, and to love God, and to look forward to the glorious, glorious triumph that is yet to come [1 Corinthians 1:57].

I want to illustrate that.  One of my old friends came to me in Georgia.  He came late in the evening, he came to my room.  And he said, “I just want to share with you a great sorrow in my life.”  He said, “I loved my father so much, and my father has died since I’ve seen you.”  And he said, “I loved my mother so much, and,” he said, “my mother has died since I’ve seen you.”  Then he said, “My teenage boy, our only child, has died since I’ve seen you.”

“Oh,” I said, “I cannot imagine.  That boy of yours, your only child; he has died?”

“Yes,” he said, “my only boy has died.”

“Oh,” I said, “I cannot imagine; it is too much, I cannot imagine.”  And he put his hand on my knee and said, “Wait, wait.  And the doctor says that I have cancer and I cannot live but a matter of a short while.”  I said, “Oh, I cannot imagine!”  And as I began to commiserate and to sympathize with him that he would soon die himself, he put his hand on my knee again and said, “Criswell, don’t sympathize with me.”  He said, “Man, I look forward to it.  I look forward to it!”  Think of it.  A man saying, when the doctor says he has but a few days or weeks to live, saying, “I look forward to it!”  I said, “I just can’t imagine.”

“Yes,” he said, “I look forward to it.”  He said, “Criswell, you know now in these moments of quiet, he said, ‘I sometimes wonder, there are three gates on the north, and three on the south, and three in the west, and three on the east.’”  He says, “I sometimes wonder at which one of those gates will my mother and father be waiting for me.” And he said, “And I wonder at which one of those gates my boy will be standing, waiting for me, and greeting me with the words, ‘Hello, Dad, welcome home!’”  Death has been destroyed in the atonement of Christ [1 Corinthians 15:54-57].  To the Christian now it’s a translation, it’s a victory, it’s a home-going, it’s a coronation; it’s being with God, world without end [1 Corinthians 15:57].  Oh, that’s why they sing:

 

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

All hail to the Father, all hail to the Son,

All hail to the Spirit, the great Three in One!

We’re saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

[from “Saved by the Blood,” J.J. Henderson, 1902]

 

O Lord, what a gospel, what a message, what a hope.  And to think, it has to be delivered by stammering lips such as mine, and by halting sentences that I can frame.  Don’t you wish angels were preaching it?  What preciousness, what a glory, what a benediction, what a blessing, what a promise, what a comfort, what a triumph!

While we sing our song this morning of appeal, I’ll be standing down here by this side of the Lord’s Supper table.  Somebody you, somebody you, give himself to Jesus, come and stand by me: “Pastor, I give you my hand, I give my heart to the dear Lord, and here I come,” or a family you, to put your life in the fellowship of the church; however God shall say the word and open the door, come, come, make it this morning.  I just never was so surprised as I was this morning; I didn’t think we were going to have time for the Lord’s Supper.  God just gave us such a marvelous harvest.  Will the Lord do it again through you, through you?  In this balcony round, on this lower floor, down a stairway, into an aisle, down here to the front, come, make it now.  On the first note of the first stanza, come, while we stand and while we sing.