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Celebrating at the Table
04/01/2007
Scripture: Luke 22: 7-20
Track 1 of 3 in the A Transforming Church . . . Celebrates the Life of Jesus series
Running time: 25 minutes, 08 seconds.
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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Meal Time

Want to get to know a family? Ask them about meal time. There's always a story. "Remember when Sally fell asleep in the high chair?" "Johnny has to have mustard on his mac and cheese." "Jimmy spilled the milk all over Mrs. Jones' new dress."

Want to really know someone? Sit at a table with them. There's something liberating about a table. We seem more willing than ever to be open and honest. Having our feet nestled out of the way, sharing a common meal, being forced to look at one another, it all enables us to see life differently.

Jesus seemed to love meal times. In Luke's gospel there are 10 "table talks." On those occasions Jesus spends time with people. The first recorded meal was with a tax collector named Levi . . . there we learn that Jesus came for the sinners, not for the righteous. The second meal finds Him getting His feet washed by the tears of a sinful woman. At the third table He's with personal friends. At the fourth, He's attacked for not keeping the traditions.

At table five, Jesus heals a man on the Sabbath. At the sixth He is condemned for eating with sinners. Table number seven is with another tax collector. Table eight is the Lord's Supper. After the resurrection He shares the table two more times, first with the men from the road to Emmaus, then with the disciples.

Who would ever want to miss a meal with Jesus? Can't you just imagine the conversation? Can you envision being in His presence and sharing in His life? I can only imagine what those discussions might have been like.

You are invited to His table. He requests your presence every week. He longs to eat with you (Luke 22:15). Paul reminds us of his invitation (1 Corinithians 11:23-26). The early church shared this meal often (Acts 2:42-47; 20:7). Make a commitment to the table. Determine to be there every week. Learn to long to join Jesus at the Table.

4-01-2007 Sermon

For probably 15 yrs of my life this week would usually find me someplace in New England, working with some group of college students, helping a church of some kind getting ready to start a new congregation or simply trying to penetrate their community. Normally that would mean come Tuesday night we would find ourselves down on the wharf in Boston. We would have parked the bus and we would have hiked our way to a place called the No Name Restaurant. Delightful place to eat seafood in Boston. Very nice restaurant. Pretty casual but considered one of the better restaurants in the whole city. If you're ever there I would advise you to go. Eat seafood, don't do like some students do and order hamburgers when you're in Boston. In order to get to No Name, however, you have to drive past Pier 4. Pier 4 is a 5 star rated restaurant on the wharf. You can tell just by driving past it that you have to have a certain kind of car to even get into the parking lot. At least it appeared so. One particular year when we were headed out to go eat with students the bus stopped and for some reason 4 or 5 of us were thrown off the bus. We had been long standing group leaders on this trip and we were ejected and told our reservations were at Pier 4 instead of No Name. Somebody should have told us ahead of time. We were not dressed for Pier 4. We didn't know that until we walked in. They informed us of such and had a special table for us in the corner where we would be inconspicuous. I have to tell you that I felt really strangely out of place in a 5 star restaurant. That is not what I normally do. I felt very comfortable at the table with the people I was eating with because I knew them well. I felt very strange not eating with the other 40 people on our trip, having a good time at No Name Restaurant.

Something about tables Something about sitting around with people that you know and love that is just incredibly different. And it matters. It must matter at least in some respect to God because in the Book of Luke in a matter of just 24 chapters there are 10 table fellowships. 10 different meals. The meal we're looking at this morning is meal 8. There will be 2 more to come after the resurrection. But on this particular night He is gathering His disciples. You're familiar with the story. We're going to look at Luke chapter 22. We'll start reading at verse 7. And what we're going to pickup is this story of what we have come to call the Last Supper or the Lord's Supper. It is that final gathering of the disciples with their Master. It's an unusual kind of event. It's been a confusing set of circumstances over these past several days and the journey has been difficult. They've been hearing things they don't particularly want to hear but this, they understand because this they've been doing their whole life. Every year at this season of the year they made their way to a room in the house with their families. They sat down to a very special meal. It was a meal that consisted of a unique kind of menu. It took days maybe weeks to prepare the house and the meal. It was a celebration of the Jewish Passover. It had enormous history. It was their legacy. It was probably the most common theme in all of Jewish history and writing…..the Exodus. And how God had pulled his people out of the Egypt in order to preserve his nation and to bring the Messiah.

Luke chapter 22, we pick it up in verse 7: "Then came the day of unleavened bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John saying 'Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.' 'Where do you want us to prepare for it' they asked. He said 'As you enter the city a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters and say to the owner of the house "The Teacher asks where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" He will show you a large upper room all furnished. Make preparations there.' And they left and found things just as Jesus had told them and so they prepared the Passover. When the hour came Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. He said to them, 'I have eagerly to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.' After taking the cup He gave thanks and said 'take this and divide it among yourselves for I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.' He took the bread and He gave thanks and He broke it and gave it to them saying, 'This is my Body given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.' 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. But the hand of him who was going to betray me is with mine on the table. Son of Man will go as it as been decreed. Woe to that man who betrays Him."

I really like a slightly different translation of verse 12. The New Living Translation says "Go and prepare our meal." I love that language. Our meal. Go and prepare OUR meal. It's got such an inclusive ring to it. I like it. I like the idea of being in included at the table. See the simple thing that I want you to hear this morning and I hope in its simplicity it shocks you at least a little. We belong at the King's table. That's really all I want you to go home remembering from this morning other than the experience of God Himself is this recognition that we belong here at this table. I would like to emphasis it in a variety of ways if we can take just a few minutes to think about it, let me put the emphasis on the last part of that sentence. We belong at the KING's table. It's not our table, it's our meal but it's not our table. This table belongs to the King. It's His Kingdom.

Did you notice that language? There are 2 repeated words in this text that are significant. One is Passover and the other one is the Kingdom of God. Those 2 things remind us that this meal reminds us of something bigger than we are. Passover is historically powerful. It was everything that Israel stood for. God had created a nation. That nation had fallen. Had turned its back and had ended up in Egypt for 430 years in slavery. God decided it was time through Moses to bring that nation back to its rightful place. At the end of 9 plagues he came to his people through Moses and said there's going to be one more. I'm going to kill the first born. But in order to protect yourself, I want you to take a first born lamb and I want you to slaughter it and I want you to take the blood and I want you to sprinkle it on the door post. I want you to spread it out over that doorway so that when death passes over it will know to pass over you. Take that lamb put it with some bitter herbs, I want you to have meal, I want you to eat it standing up, I want you to eat it dressed for travel. I want you to eat it staff in hand because when death has passed through this land they're going to turn you loose and you're going to be free.

It's a powerful image of God's redemptive nature as He commemorates in that moment in that meal, that God loved His people SO deeply He would do whatever it took to redeem them. When we come to this table, when we sit here together, we are reminded again of God's redemptive act in history. In that Jesus came as the perfect Passover lamb. Sinless, without flaw. And died so that the blood could be spread over you and death would pass over you. It's a Passover meal that celebrates the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is all about God's sovereignty and life. It's a reminder that while sometimes life looks like it isn't going to turn out the way it's supposed to when you find yourself somehow enslaved to almost anything you can imagine there is still a God who has the power to release you and to redeem you. It's the King's table and He is still King whether the rest of the world wants to admit it or not. So we belong at the King's table and the King's table reminds us that after the suffering, the King returns.

It's interesting isn't it, I'm going to eat this before I suffer and I will eat it again when the Kingdom comes. You hear the inherent promise in here of return and rebirth and new life. Don't misunderstand, He's not talking about the Second Coming here. There's two more meals in the book of Luke. Post resurrection He sits down and has meals with His disciples on 2 different occasions after He's had his resurrection. The Kingdom of God is not something left to come. The Kingdom is NOW. God is on His throne reigning NOW. That's why we get to sit at the Kings table. We belong at the King's table.

Let me shift the emphasis just a little. Let me put it in the middle. We belong at the King's table. It's where we're supposed to be. That I suspect is the one that's going to give you the most trouble. Because I'm not sure I've ever met a Christian who felt like they belonged at this table. They just don't think they've got it and they are not worthy to be at this table. Can I let you in on a little secret? You're not. Outside of the blood of Jesus Christ you are not worthy to be at this table. You do not belong at the table because of who you are. You belong at the table because of whose you are. You don't belong at the table because of what YOU've done. You belong at the table because of what HE's done. We belong at this table because WE have been covered by the blood of Christ. When death passes over, it doesn't recognize us. So you're invited to the table.

[Transcribed by VD8]