Each week we webcast Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, morning public worship at 11a, and p.m. singing and sermon at 2:30p (sermon at 3:30); and the Weds. Prayer Meeting at 6:30p

Saturday, August 21, 2021

2021.08.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 22:21–34

Read Luke 22:21–34

Questions from the Scripture text: Whose hand does Christ mention in Luke 22:21? With Whom is it?  Where is it? What does Jesus call Himself in Luke 22:22a? What determines how/where He goes? But what/whom does this predetermination not absolve (verse 22b)? What do they begin to question (Luke 22:23)? Among whom? What else are they doing among themselves (Luke 22:24)? About what? Who knows about these things (Luke 22:25)? About whom does He first speak to them? What do these kings do? With what do they credit their authorities? How should this relate to the dynamic among Christ’s disciples (Luke 22:26)? What must the greatest do? What must someone who governs do? Who is supposed to be greater (Luke 22:27)? But how was Christ, the Greatest, among them? What does Christ now call them (Luke 22:28)? How does He respond to their being brought low with Him—what does He bestow upon them (Luke 22:29)? What was the pattern for this? In what action(s) is their receiving of the kingdom displayed and enjoyed (Luke 22:30a, verse 30b)? Whom does the Lord now address in Luke 22:31? Who has asked for him? To do what? But what has countered this (Luke 22:32)? What has Jesus prayed for him? What will he do? What does Peter need to do at that point? What does he now say to the Lord (Luke 22:33)? How does Jesus answer him—what will Peter do before when (Luke 22:34)?

Immediately upon the Lord Jesus presenting Himself as believers’ ultimate provision (Luke 22:19–20), we get a rapid-fire series of examples of how badly we need that provision. 

Betrayal, Luke 22:21-23. Jesus ties the news of the betrayer to the Supper itself with the conjunction “but” (more literally “nevertheless”) at the beginning of Luke 22:21 and by highlighting the betrayer’s hand being on the table. Our potential for such wickedness in the face of such goodness is a very big deal. Even the fact that it comes under the reality of God’s sovereign providence (Luke 22:22a) does not remove the horrific guiltiness that the betrayer bears (verse 22b). And apart from Jesus’s grace, every one of His followers is a potential betrayer (Luke 22:23).

Rivalry, Luke 22:24-30. The Spirit takes us from one dispute in Luke 22:23 to a rather disturbing one in Luke 22:24. The potential Christ-betrayers are arguing about which of them is the greatest. They are acting exactly like the wicked world (Luke 22:25). Each wishes to get to the top, even if it comes at the cost of the others. Christ’s kingdom (Luke 22:16) and kingship (Luke 22:27) are exactly opposite. Again, He draws attention to the table and their need for Him. Their privilege is not in high status but in suffering (Luke 22:28). The way up is the way down, both for Christ (Luke 22:29) and for them (Luke 22:30). And again, the Lord Jesus draws attention to the table.

Arrogance, Luke 22:31-34. The Lord calls him Simon in Luke 22:31, not the strong name, “Rock.” The Lord tells him that Satan himself has asked for him. The Lord tells him that He has prayed for him. Even with that prayer, and what Peter is up against, Jesus tells him that he will stumble and return in Luke 22:32. Peter’s disagreement with Jesus in Luke 22:33 implies greater confidence in himself even than in Jesus’s own prayers. The horrible arrogance! And Jesus basically tells him so (Luke 22:34). Still, just as it’s Jesus Who provides at His own table, so also it is Jesus Who provides for Peter through His prayers (Luke 22:32a) and even provides Peter himself for the strengthening of his brethren (verse 32b). 

Betrayal, rivalry, and arrogance are just three examples of why we desperately need Christ as our sacrifice, Christ as our life and goodness, Christ as our help and Mediator. 

How have you seen your own neediness of Christ? For these needs, how is Christ abundantly sufficient for that need? How has He assured you that He has given Himself to be your sufficiency?

Sample prayer:  Lord Jesus, our God and Savior, we praise You for Your perfect covenantal faithfulness, when we are prone to betrayal. We praise You for Your humbly giving Yourself up for us, when we so easily indulge a spirit of rivalry. We praise You for the perfection of Your strength, when we who are weak have only illusions of our own strength. And we praise You most of all that You have made Yourself ours. As You display and do at Your table, give Yourself to us we pray, in Your own Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

Friday, August 20, 2021

When Wine Wrecks Wisdom (Family Worship lesson in Proverbs 20:1)

Pastor leads his family in a verse from “the Proverb of the day.” In this Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that whether it’s by wine removing our inhibitions so that we become a mockery, or strong drink removing our senses so that it’s like we’ve been knocked out, alcohol can become a means by which we cease to operate in the fear of the Lord, and lose all true wisdom.
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Fruit That Abounds to the Account of Generous Saints (Family Worship lesson in Philippians 4:18–20)

What was that fruit that the apostle was so happy to know that it abounded to the “account” of the Philippians? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Philippians 4:18–20 prepares us for the evening exhortation on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that true Christian generosity bears the fruit of plenty for God’s saints, praise unto God, pleasing God, provision from God for the giver, and parental and perpetual glory unto God.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Philippians 4:18–20

Read Philippians 4:18–20

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle have (Philippians 4:18)? What is his condition? What has he received from whom? What does he call those things? About Whom does the apostle speak in Philippians 4:19? What will He do? According to what? In what? By Whom? What does the apostle call God in Philippians 4:20? What doxology does he pronounce? For how long? With what affirmation?

The apostle has just stated that his desire is for fruit to abound to the Philippians’ account. What does that fruit look like?

First, it is the praising of God, Philippians 4:18. For Paul, the Philippians' gift was some provision that could be carried in the hand of Epaphroditus. But the language he uses reminds us of other sacrifices, like that of Noah in Genesis 8:21. In both cases, the one who has already received God’s salvation offers up a sweet-smelling sacrifice. But ultimately, all sacrificial giving looks toward and comes from Christ’s own giving “Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). 

It is therefore, secondly, the pleasing of God, Philippians 4:18. We needn’t wonder why God is so pleased, if in our sacrificial giving He sees His beloved Son, with Whom He is everlastingly and infinitely well-pleased (cf. Ephesians 5:2). The Philippians have been imitators of God as dear adopted children (cf. Ephesians 5:1) in whom He sees the character of His only-begotten Son.

This is exactly why, thirdly, it is the provision of God, Philippians 4:19. God has given them sacrificial hearts “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” He Who provides spiritually will provide materially as well. They may be entering into some distress of their own in Paul’s behalf (Philippians 4:14b), but they have not ultimately put themselves at risk. They are displaying God’s rich provision in both things spiritual and things material.

Finally, it is the parental and perpetual glory of God, Philippians 4:20. To God belongs the glory forever and ever. And one of the ways that He is magnifying that glory is by making believers like the Philippians to reflect that glory. So the apostle adds “and Father” in verse 20 to this statement of His perpetual glory. Like a good son—indeed like the original and eternal Good Son—it is a greater delight to them that their Father be glorified in and by whatever they receive from Him.

When we see what the apostle sees in the Philippians’ gift to him, we’re not at all surprised that he treasures these things far above whatever material gain he got from their giving to him.

Through whose kindness do you have opportunity to praise God’s grace and glory in them? Through what opportunities for generosity might you have the honor of bringing praise to God’s grace and glory?

Sample prayer:  Father, we praise You for the indescribable gift of Your Son, and for His own giving Himself as an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Forgive us for when we have been so focused on material things that we haven’t seen the spiritual glories of others’ Christian generosity or displayed them in our own generosity. Glorify Christ in us by providing us all that we need according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus, so that in His glory You also will be glorified, our God and Father, forever and ever, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP23 “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH538 “Take My Life and Let it Be”

Thursday, August 19, 2021

God's Kingdom Established by His Graciousness, Not Our "Greatness" (Family Worship lesson in 2Samuel 20)

When 2Samuel 20 ends like 2Samuel 8, what point is the Spirit making? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. 2Samuel 20 prepares us for the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-six verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s kingdom is established not by our greatness, but by His gracious overruling our foolishness and sin—and that the King Whom we must ultimately have in family, church, and nation is none other than King Jesus.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Samuel 20

Read 2 Samuel 20

Questions from the Scripture text: What kind of man does 2 Samuel 20:1 introduce? What is his name and tribe? What does he do? What does he say? What effect does this have upon whom (2 Samuel 20:2a)? What do the men of Judah do (verse 2b)? To where does David finally return in 2 Samuel 20:3? Who is still there? What does he do for them, but how do they end up? What does the king ask of whom in 2 Samuel 20:4? How does Amasa do (2 Samuel 20:5)? Whom does David have to ask instead (2 Samuel 20:6)? But who’s really running the operation (2 Samuel 20:7)? Whom does he take to do what? Whom do they meet where in 2 Samuel 20:8? What does Joab conveniently (and clandestinely) have on him? How does he speak to Amasa, and what does he do (2 Samuel 20:9)? What does Amasa miss (2 Samuel 20:10)? But what doesn’t it miss? What do Joab and Abishai go to do? Who else does what in 2 Samuel 20:11? Why doesn’t anyone go with them (2 Samuel 20:12)? What does Joab’s man do? With what result (2 Samuel 20:13)? Where does Joab gather men (2 Samuel 20:14)? Where do they trap Sheba (2 Samuel 20:15)? What are they about to do to the city? But who cries out (2 Samuel 20:16)? What does she want (2 Samuel 20:17)? What does she claim about the city (2 Samuel 20:18)? What does she accuse Joab of being about to do (2 Samuel 20:19)? What effect does this have upon Joab (2 Samuel 20:20)? What does he explain, and for what does he ask (2 Samuel 20:21)? What does the woman promise? Whom does the woman convince in 2 Samuel 20:22? With what results? Where/to whom does Joab return? What is finally reestablished (2 Samuel 20:23-25; cf. 2 Samuel 8:15–18)?

Things are “back to normal” in Israel—which means that before David even gets home (2 Samuel 20:3a), a Benjamite rebel has already turned the other tribes back against him (2 Samuel 20:1-2). So much for what David had done with Shimei and Ziba to retain the Israelites. And the concubines’ lives have been destroyed (2 Samuel 20:3b). So much for leaving them behind to keep the house. And Amasa, whom he retained to pacify Judah, turns out to be a horrible general (2 Samuel 20:4-5) and easy prey for Joab (2 Samuel 20:8-10). So much for David’s attempt to retain Amasa as general, or even just Abishai (2 Samuel 20:6)—apparently, he’d have preferred anyone to Joab. So much for that.

When Joab has finished reclaiming his position (2 Samuel 20:11-13), he corners Sheba in a city (2 Samuel 20:14-15) where a crafty woman negotiates his head as the price for the city’s sparing (2 Samuel 20:16-21) and convinces the people to pay up (2 Samuel 20:22). 

Yet, the summary in 2 Samuel 20:23-25 is very “normal” (cf. 2 Samuel 8:16–18). David is firmly reestablished. But we can see by how we got here that it is God alone to whom that establishing ultimately belongs. This is not at all a demonstration that David is great, but rather entirely a demonstration that God is gracious. We know that David is the king that God has given, but we also see rather clearly that we need God to give an infinitely better king than this one. Israel needs (and we need) King Jesus!

Whom does your nation need as King? Whom does your church need? Whom does your household need? In each of these spheres, how do we honor Him already as King? When will that kingship be ultimately fulfilled? What will that be like? Who is in control until then?

Sample prayer: Our Lord, we praise You for Your power and wisdom and goodness! You rule and overrule all things for Your glory and our good. But so many authorities are weak and wicked. Forgive us when we are those authorities, and forgive us for when we despair over others who are like that. Grant unto us to be courageous and wise and good with whatever authority You give us. Make us submissive to You in obedience to Your Word. And as we look forward to Your blessed and everlasting reign in the new heavens and earth, grant unto us to bear up cheerfully under whatever You bring us through to get us there. For we ask it in the Name of King Jesus, AMEN!

Suggested Songs: ARP72A “God Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72A “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

In Corporate Worship, We Have Our One Defense and Desire (2021.08.18 Prayer Meeting lesson in Psalm 27)

When the Lord is our singular defense and desire, we ought to be more content to be “alone” in the battles of our lives than in the worship of God. His Word teaches a preference of public worship over private both for delighting in Him and for being directed by Him.
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God's Gracious Reminders to a Doubting Saint (Family Worship lesson in Exodus 4:1–9)

How did God respond when Moses doubted His Word? Pastor leads his family in today's "Hopewell @Home" passage. Exodus 4:1–9 prepares us for the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord's Day. In these nine verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God is patient and gracious, and when we doubt Him we need to be reminded that we deserve Hell, that the most dangerous thing is to disobey Him, that true safety comes not from any place or circumstance but from the Lord Himself, and that He is the Giver of all life and goodness.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 4:1–9

Read Exodus 4:1–9

Questions from the Scripture text: After Yahweh told him that the people would heed his voice (cf. Exodus 3:18), what objection does Moses raise anyway (Exodus 4:1)? With what question does Yahweh respond (Exodus 4:2)? What does Moses answer? What does Yahweh tell him to do with it (Exodus 4:3)? What happens to it? What then does Moses do? Then what does Yahweh tell Moses to do (Exodus 4:4)? By what end? Why would this ordinarily be a bad idea? But what happens to it? How does Exodus 4:5 complete the statement about the rod? Now what does Yahweh say to do in Exodus 4:6? What happens to Moses’s hand? And what does He say to do in Exodus 4:7? Now what happens to it? What does Yahweh give as the reason for two signs (Exodus 4:8)? But what must he do if they still don’t believe (Exodus 4:9)? 

God’s interaction with Moses continues to display Him as marvelously gracious. Certainly, He does not tolerate sin; in fact, He’s about to judge Egypt and Canaan for it. But, at the beginnings of His dealings with Moses, He is emphasizing His grace to His chosen prophet.

A glimpse of what we deserveExodus 4:3. Horribly, Moses suggests that God may be mistaken; Exodus 4:1 directly contradicts Exodus 3:18a. So, when the holy God before Whom Moses stands barefoot creates a supernatural serpent, we understand why Moses would be terrified. Of course, if the serpent is judgment from God, fleeing in that terror doesn’t make much sense. How can you escape God’s punishment?

The unsafety of disobedienceExodus 4:4. You don’t have to be a herpetologist to know that the tail is the worst place to grab a venomous snake. But at this point, there is something even more dangerous than grabbing a supernatural, venomous snake by the tail—disobeying Yahweh is far more dangerous! And the Lord affirms this by turning the snake back into a rod as soon as Moses obeys. Like grabbing the snake by the tail, there are many commandments of God that feel counterintuitive to our flesh, but they are the path of safety and blessedness: Sabbath-keeping, generosity, love for enemies, submission to imperfect authorities, preaching the truth about guilt and Hell, etc. But whatever God commands is whatever is wisest and safest, simply because He commands it! He is indeed our merciful, covenant God (Exodus 4:5).

The unsafety of ourselvesExodus 4:6. Just as there’s ordinarily no more dangerous place to put your hand than the tail of a venomous serpent, there’s ordinarily no safer place to put your hand than in your bosom. But now Yahweh shows him that we ourselves are not even safe to ourselves. Moses’s hand becomes leprous in his bosom (verse 6). But again, God Himself is what makes even this safe—not only safe but even restorative, as the same action heals his hand when God commands it in Exodus 4:7

The ultimate power of GodExodus 4:8-9. Yahweh now gives Moses a sign that he doesn’t get to “test drive” like the others. This may be in part because it is very specific to the river of Egypt, the Nile. For good reason, Egyptians (and others) considered that their own lives were given to them by the Nile, but the third sign takes what they thought was the god of their lives and turns it into the blood of death. 

How have you doubted the Lord’s promises or resisted His commands? How do the reminders in this passage help you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are the all-glorious God from Whom we receive all our life. In Your Son, our Lord Jesus, all Your promises are “yes” and “amen.” Forgive us for when we have balked at obedience because we did not trust you for the outcome. But You, O God, have not spared Your own Son, but given Him up for us; and, together with Him, You are freely giving us all things! Keep us from trusting in ourselves, or in Your good gifts, instead of in You and Your goodness. Shower that goodness upon us, we pray, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH483 “Loved with Everlasting Love”

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Authority and Economics When All Is Christ's (Family Worship lesson in Proverbs 16:10–15)

Pastor leads his family in six verses from “the Proverb of the day.” In this Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that because all authority is Christ’s, those who have it must rule in submission to Him, and those who are under it must be ruled in submission to Christ; and, because all property is God’s, and the means of gaining it appointed by Him, we must honor Him with all our property and economic dealings.
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Dealing Well with Distress by Meditating upon Predestination (Family Worship lesson in Psalm 4:3–8)

What are the dangers when we are distressed, and how should we deal with them? Pastor leads his family in today’s “Hopewell @Home” passage. Psalm 4:3–8 prepares us for the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when we are in distress, we are in danger of fuming anger, unbelieving scheming, and ungrateful despair; but the Lord has granted unto us to deal with these by meditating upon the sweet doctrine of predestination.
(click audio title within player for a page where you can download mp3/pdf files of this lesson)

2021.08.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 4:3–8

Read Psalm 4:3–8

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom has the Lord set apart (Psalm 4:3a)? For Whom? Who hears when David calls to Him (verse 3b)? What does this enable David to do without sinning (Psalm 4:4a)? Where/how does he practice this calling upon the Lord (verse 4b)? With what effect? What does he offer to the Lord (Psalm 4:5a)? What is one way that he “offers the sacrifices of righteousness” (verse 5b)? What do many say (Psalm 4:6a–b)? To Whom does David look for good (verse 6c)? How does he ask Him for that good? What has the Lord done to make David glad (Psalm 4:7a)? Whose gladness couldn’t compare to this, and even under what circumstances (verse 7b)? As David completes this meditation (cf. Psalm 4:4b), what is he able to do (Psalm 4:8a)? Why; what has he concluded (verse 8b)?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, Song of Adoration, and Prayer of Confession all come from Psalm 4:3–8, so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with On the Good and Faithful

The psalmist (David) is in distress (Psalm 4:1), and under the attack of others. In Psalm 4:3, he establishes a foundation against three types of wrong response to our distresses: fuming (Psalm 4:4), unbelief (Psalm 4:5), and despair (Psalm 4:6). 

How firm a foundation! Psalm 4:3Psalm 4:8. If the godly got that way because Yahweh chose them for Himself (Psalm 4:3a), then their safety (Psalm 4:8b) and happiness are unstoppably secure. Something that began in the Creator cannot be undone by anything in the creation. This is peace in which you can sleep easy (verse 8a). So, when this is your foundation, instead of responding in the ways that Psalm 4:4-6 warn against, you can just call upon Yahweh (Psalm 4:3b) and tap into great, circumstance-independent joy (Psalm 4:6-7).

Watch out for fumingPsalm 4:4. Sometimes in our distress, we can get consumed with fuming. You’ll know it’s happening when you’ve lain down to sleep, but your mind is just full of all the stuff you’re upset about, or would like to say to the people involved, or even do to the people involved. But when you’re on your bed is the perfect time to call upon Yahweh (Psalm 4:3b); you can just speak to Him in your heart and then be quiet (Psalm 4:4b). Knowing His nearness helps put the “not sinning” into our being angry (verse 4a).

Watch out for unbeliefPsalm 4:5. When we’re in distress, there’s the temptation to obsessively plan our path out. There’s nothing wrong with careful consideration of what is best, but trusting Yahweh (verse 5b) gives us the aim of such consideration: whatever is righteous. If we realize that our behavior is really a form of life-as-worship unto Him, because He is the One in Whose perfectly reliable hands we rest anyway, then that changes the goal. No longer are we frantically trying to make the situation resolve. Instead, we are offering righteousness to Him Whom we know will perfectly resolve it.

Watch out for despairPsalm 4:6. Distressing situations in life can be very intense, and even long and drawn out. In such a situation we can be tempted to ask, “Who will show us any good?” We can even begin to have a negative attitude about anything good that Providence brings into the situation. But if the Lord is our sure hope, then we have reason for gladness: the light of His face (verse 6c) puts gladness into our hearts (Psalm 4:7a). The wicked’s very best circumstances actually have less cause for joy in them than the godly’s very worst circumstances (verse 7b)!

So in our distress, let us cry out to the God of our righteousness and have peace and joy, rather than fuming, unbelief, or despair.

What distress have you been in? How does following this Psalm change your approach to it?

Sample prayer: O God of our righteousness, You alone make us to dwell in safety. And we know that You will, because You have saved us for Yourself. Forgive us for when we have been unmindful of You as we obsessed about circumstances. Grant that our hearts would always be lifted up to You, and that they would be full of gladness from the light of Your face, which we ask through Jesus, in Whom You have everlastingly smiled upon us, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP4 “Answer When I Call” or TPH484 “On the Good and Faithful”

Monday, August 16, 2021

How Treasuring Christ Increases Thankfulness for and to One Another (2021.08.15 Evening Sermon in Philippians 4:14–17)

The fact that the apostle would have been content without the Philppians’ gift didn’t make him less thankful for the gift or for them, but on the contrary much more thankful! This is because his contentment comes from treasuring Christ above all, and the gift was evidence of the work of Christ in them, a reminder of the fellowship in Christ that they shared, and a means by which the gospel of Christ would advance and the glory of Christ in them would be displayed.
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Why Our Lord Fervently Desired the Last Passover, the First Lord's Supper (2021.08.15 Morning Sermon in Luke 22:8–20)

The Lord Jesus fervently desired this meal because He was eager for fellowship with us, eager to give Himself to us, eager to secure for us (and assure us of) all of the blessings of the new covenant, and eager to establish for His church the weekly meal of the Lord's Supper in which they might enjoy this fellowship, provision, and security from Him.

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WCF 15.3.5, Specific Repentance from Specific Sin (2021.08.15 Sabbath School in Psalm 19, Luke 19:1–10, and 1Timothy 1:12–17)

Scripture shows us that dealing with the Lord personally and genuinely means that we must repent specifically of specific sins.
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2021.08.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 22:8–20

Read Luke 22:8–20

Questions from the Scripture text: Whom does the Lord Jesus send to do what in Luke 22:8? What do they ask (Luke 22:9)? How does Jesus identify the house in Luke 22:10? What are they to say, to whom, there (Luke 22:11)? What will the man do (Luke 22:12)? How do things turn out (Luke 22:13)? What do Peter and John do? What has come in Luke 22:14? Who do what? What does Jesus say He has desired to do (Luke 22:15)? Before what? What does the word “this” indicate? What will He no longer do (Luke 22:16)? Until what? What does He take in Luke 22:17? Then what does He do? And, then, what does He tell them to do? Why (Luke 22:18)? What won’t He do until when? What does He take in Luke 22:19? Then what does He do? And, then, what does He do to it? To whom does He give it? What does He say to them? When does Luke 22:20 take place? What does He take? What does it have in it at this point (cf. Luke 22:17)? What does He call the cup?

How much our Lord wishes to have fellowship with us, to provide for us, and to secure us! This is the emphasis in Luke’s account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Of all of the evangelists, Luke is the one whom the Holy Spirit carries along to tell us that “He said to them, with fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). 

The fervent desire of Christ conditions how we read the Lukan account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This also helps us understand the reasoning for the mysterious directions in Luke 22:10-12. Yes, the Spirit could have mediated unto Christ divine knowledge, but in the context, it is clear that Judas is already looking for a private moment in which to betray Christ (cf. Luke 21:38, Luke 22:2, Luke 22:6). If Judas knew beforehand where this would be, the arrest might interrupt the meal. But Jesus is eager to enjoy the meal for the following reasons…

Our Lord fervently desired this final fellowship with His disciples. John will tell us that “having loved His own, He loved them to the end” (cf. John 13:1), but of the others, only Luke records Jesus saying “that we” may eat (Luke 22:8). This highlights to us the “with you” in Luke 22:15. He then explains that He will no longer eat of it until its fulfillment. The administration of Moses is coming to an end; His death (“suffer” in verse 15) will bring in “the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16Luke 22:18). 

Jesus is a true Man, assigned by providence to a specific group of friends who have become His family. In a couple hours’ time His agonized praying in the garden will display some of the strongest emotions that we see in Him in the gospels. And we see Him here desiring to love His own, and even to draw that right and natural strength that God gives us by fellowship with others. His suffering is before Him, and He wishes to go to it with freshly renewed love for those for whom He is dying. We will hear in His prayer later on, that this includes all true believers from all subsequent ages (cf. John 17:20). 

Our Lord also fervently desired to make provision for us. By this time, the Jews had added many traditions to the Scriptural meal to make what is known as the seder. But what they had done without divine warrant, the Lord Jesus had liberty and authority to do. One of the things that had been added was that, at every part of the meal, the head of the household would describe the significance of what was about to be taken. So, it is not surprising that Jesus gives a meaning to the two parts of the meal that we have in our passage.

When instead of saying “this is the unleavened bread that was eaten on the night of the Passover,” He says “this is My body which is given for you,” the disciples understand what He is saying and doing. They do not perhaps yet understand what is coming before they have another supper, but they no more think that the bread has been changed to Jesus’s flesh than they would otherwise have thought that somehow the bread from the night of the Exodus had been transported through time. 

The Lord Jesus twice denies Himself to give. Ordinarily in the seder, each would have their own cup, and at four different times during the meal, the head of the table would direct them to drink. But even after expressing His fervent desire for the meal, He denies Himself the contents of His cup in order that the disciples can have it instead (Luke 22:17). In Luke 22:19, He denies Himself the benefits of His own body so that His disciples instead could have that benefit (verse 19). And in Luke 22:20, though the covenant is in His blood, the blessings that His blood secures are for them. Our Lord gives all that He is for all that His disciples need.

Indeed, even though in Him we have all, we are often forgetful of Him and of the fact that He is our all. So the command to come to the table is itself part of His provision. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” There are many things that the Scripture teaches that must be proclaimed in preaching, and in the midst of them, we may become forgetful that Christ Himself is the provision for all that need. But He accommodates our weakness in the supper as He distributes Himself to our faith and commands us that the distribution of the bread would be in remembrance that He gives Himself both for us and to us.

Finally, our Lord fervently desired to secure all the covenant blessings for us. Matthew and Mark refer to the cup as Jesus’s blood of the new covenant, but Luke here refers to the covenant as “the new covenant in My blood.” 

That is to say that all of the blessings of Jeremiah 31 are being secured by this blood: its unbreakable character (cf. Jeremiah 31:32, Jeremiah 31:35–37), the new nature given to their minds and hearts (cf. Jeremiah 31:33), the personal knowledge that each will have of Yahweh Himself (cf. Jeremiah 31:34a), and especially the removal of the iniquity and sin that would otherwise make such relational knowledge impossible (cf. verse 34b).

Now in Luke 22:20 of our passage, Luke tells us that all of these blessings of the new covenant are blessings that belong to a covenant that is in Jesus’s blood. He personally gives up His own life, and suffers the wrath of God due to our sin, so that we may enjoy all of these other blessings!

Why did the Lord so fervently desire to eat this meal that He resorted to subterfuge in how it was set up? Because He was eager for fellowship with us, eager to give Himself to us, and eager to secure for us (and assure us of) all of the blessings of the new covenant. AND, as we now know, especially to establish this meal for all of those reasons for us who partake together Lord’s Day by Lord’s Day, some two thousand years later. 

What does the Lord Jesus fervently desire for you, week by week, if you are a believer? If you are not, what ought you expect for yourself instead? How should your desires at His table match His? What sort of preparation, partaking, and reflection would such desire produce? 

Sample prayer: Our Lord Jesus, we praise You Who are very God of very God, for You have redeemed us by Your blood and gained every blessing of the New Covenant for us. Forgive us for how cold-heartedly we have come to Your table, when You have so warm-heartedly urged us unto it. And, grant that our experience of You at Your table would be according to all of Your holy and merciful desires, which we ask by the merits of Your own shed blood, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP191 “I Love the Lord” or TPH196 “At the Lamb’s High Feast”