Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body”. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray”. And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” Matthew 26:26-46
THE EXTREMES OF JESUS CHRIST
In twenty short verses we see the extremes of the Life of this man we call Jesus of Nazareth. Many in this world see Him as just a man, although a very special man. Muslims actually see Him as one of God’s most important prophets. The Quran actually calls Him the Messiah. Judaism sees Christ as just another man, a blip in the screen in the long history of the Jews. Buddhists see Him as a great teacher of light. Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists view Him in a negative light, yet acknowledge his place as one of the most influential people in history.
Mormons believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, but they do not believe that he alone is sufficient for salvation. "Jesus Christ redeemed all from the fall; He paid the price; He offered Himself as a ransom; He atoned for Adam’s sin leaving us responsible only for our own sins" (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, p. 102). “That is why we often say that men save themselves with the aid of the Lord". Therefore, they deny his deity in respect to his power to atone for all sins.
Other religions like Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopalians view Christ as the Son of God, divine in every aspect, yet when it comes to salvation and forgiveness from sins, your works and the role of the church play an important part.
DO YOU BELIEVE WHAT JESUS SAID?
Jesus said He is the Water that springs to Eternal Life
A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink”. (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water”. John 4:7-15
Whoever you think this Man Jesus was, you have to answer this question-Is Jesus the Source of Eternal Life? When you are lying on your deathbed, thinking about what happens to you when you breathe your last, wondering if there is life after death, I pray that you will have drunk from the cup of living water that Jesus Christ offers. Only His cup contains that which wells up to eternal life for you. (Life is defined as that which enjoys the presence of God). As the Apostle Peter preached:
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
As we meditate on the physical sufferings of the Son of God this morning, I want you to consider what He said as recorded in John 6:48-59.
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. John 6:48-59
Jesus enjoyed tremendous popularity early in His ministry. Everyone wanted to hear Him, to be touched by Him. They were beginning to idolize Him, some even calling Him the Messiah who would lead them to independence from the Tyranny of Rome. That is until He started talking such craziness as John records.
Even His disciples began to question Him.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, John 6:60-68
From this time on Jesus was more determined than ever to let people know that He was the only way to eternal life. He even declared to the scribes and Pharisees that were searching the Scriptures in full view of everyone in the Temple-
Go ahead, search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40
Jesus had no doubts about His purpose on earth. He never questioned His deity. He knew very well that He was the only begotten Son of God. His passion and energy was without equal. His courage and strength surpassed any man. Yet, if you were to look at Him, you would say he was nothing special. In fact, he could easily get lost in a crowd. You would dismiss Him as nothing special.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THIS MAN JESUS?
Jesus said He was the very bread of life. He said you must eat His flesh if you desire to live forever with God. He even said that life is in His flesh. Have you eaten of the flesh of Jesus? Do you even know what that means?
1. We must eat His flesh
If we are to eat His flesh, we must realize that it is not up to our strength to live this life. We must depend upon the life of Jesus for our strength, for even our daily existence. Are you willing to embrace the broken and beaten body of Christ as your means of LIFE? Can you surrender your life to the Lordship of such a Savior?
2. We must drink of His blood. The life is in the blood
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. Leviticus 17:11
The night before Christ was to be taken and begin the horror that was His crucifixion, He had one last supper with His disciples.
They celebrated the Passover. The bread that they broke is the same bread used by the Jews today. The baking process leaves brown stripes on the bread. Then Christ took the bread and distributed it to His disciples. He told them to eat, for it was His body. Later they would hold His body, they would see the stripes, and they would see how his body was broken on the cross. Then He told them to drink the wine, that it was His blood, the blood of a New Covenant. They would see Him later on, His body covered in blood, the blood pictured by that last cup that they drank.
However, its true meaning would be lost on them until a month later, when the Holy Spirit brought its meaning to their hearts.
At this time of the year, we focus on the crucifixion of Christ. Many of us may watch the Passion of Christ, to remind ourselves of the horrors our Savior experienced on our behalf. Surely, He died a horrible death. Many a preacher preaches that He so feared the death of the cross that He prayed so intently to have that cup pass from Him, that great drops of blood fell from His brow.
If there is anything you remember this morning, I want it to be this.
A. YOUR SALVATION FROM SIN DOES NOT DEPEND UPON THE CRUCIFIXION.
You are not saved from your sin because Jesus was beaten and scoured. You are not saved from your sin because Jesus had a crown of thorns driven into his skull. You are not saved you are your sin because the Romans drove three iron spikes into his feet and hands. You are not even saved because Jesus hung on that wicked Roman cross for six hours, struggling to breath, trying to lift himself to gasp for breath, straining with his entire weight upon those spikes. No, as horrible a death as He died, that is not what saves you. Jesus did all that to fulfill Scripture, but that is not what saves you.
B. JESUS CHRIST NEVER ASKED GOD TO SPARE HIM FROM THE CRUCIFIXION.
If you think for one moment that Jesus was afraid of that Roman cross, those Roman spikes, that that is why He prayed to let this cup pass, then you have a low opinion of Jesus Christ.
There have been Christians through the ages that have died far worse deaths than the crucifixion. The Romans would crucify Christians by the hundreds, and place them along the Appian Way, and as they were suffering to breath, they would throw pitch on them and set them on fire to light the road. You could hear the Christians singing praises to Jesus as they slowly died.
There have been Christians tortured for days and weeks, even skinned alive. Tradition says that the Apostle Bartholomew was skinned alive. "One Christian in India, while being skinned alive, looked at his persecutors and said, “I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ’s garment of righteousness."
Mothers had their babies cut out from their wombs and were forced to watch as the babies were fed to pigs.
The crucifixion was indeed horrible, but that was not the cup that Jesus feared. The crucifixion itself is not the source of our salvation.
Indeed, Jesus set His face like a flint to the Cross-but it was not its pain and death He feared.
This leads us to answer this Question-
HOW CAN JESUS SAY THAT HE ALONE IS THE SOURCE OF ETERNAL LIFE?
To answer this question we must understand what Jesus was agonizing over in the garden. Here His words:
My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.
This cup is not the cup of crucifixion. Throughout the Bible, it speaks of the cup as being the cup of God’s Wrath against sin.
• Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. Jeremiah 25:15
• The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. Revelation 16:19
This cup is the cup of the wrath and fury of God against sin.
What saves us is not the crown of thorns. What saves us are not the Roman spikes being pounded into His flesh. What saves us is when the wrath of God was thrust on Jesus Christ like a mighty river.
Some say that God turned away because He could not bear to see His Son on the cross. God turned away because He saw your sin on His Son. All the righteous and Holy anger and the Righteous and Holy Hatred of sin due toward you as a sinner and me as a sinner was all of a sudden in that moment poured out on His only begotten Son.
Hatred is what God has toward sin. God is Holy and Righteous and sin is the opposite of all that God is. You and I are the opposite of all that God is. His hatred and wrath are upon us.
In that moment, God poured out the fury of His wrath on His Son.
A the Cross, God took the Cup of God’s Wrath, and drank every last drop, and when it was over, He turned the cup over and said, it is finished!
This is what Jesus did that saves us from our sin!
This is why Jesus could claim that He is the only way to God!
If you try to come to God with even one tiny sin on your resume, the wrath of God, the hatred of God is upon your sin, and you will be banished from Him forever!
Because Jesus Christ took you sins and allowed God to pour out His wrath and fury upon Him for Your sins, Jesus can say to you I am the bread of life, I am the living water, I am the way the truth and the life, I am the good shepherd I am the alpha and omega, I am the first and the last I am the faithful witness, I am the Amen!
Through His death on the cross, Jesus established a New Covenant, established by His blood and by His death.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Hebrews 9:15-17
The communion that we take symbolizes this New Covenant. When we eat the bread, we are acknowledging that it is by His broken body that we live and have life. When we drink the wine, we are acknowledging that it is His blood that secured our escape from the wrath of God because of our sins. The blood we drink is the covenant that our sins are forever forgiven through His blood sacrifice.
It was Jesus that ascended to heaven, and there in the Holy Temple of Heaven, he sprinkled His blood on the Holy of Holies, in the presence of God. It was there that God was pleased with His Son. It was there that God said, that is enough!
For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Hebrews 9:24-28
I admit it is easy to get all misty eyed when we think of Jesus on the cross. I pray that this week is a time of reflection as you meditate on His suffering for you. However, I hope that you realize that it is in the invisible events of Calvary that we truly have our salvation. I want you to remember that Christ drank every drop of the cup of the wrath of God that was meant for you and meant for me. Our faith in His finished work is the only thing which will protect you from God’s wrath against sin.
The choice this morning is this.
There are before you two cups. The one cup is the wrath of God against your sin. You can cheapen the crucifixion all you want, but do not cheapen what Jesus did for you. He bore God’s wrath for your sins. You do not have to drink from this cup. You simply turn from your sin, and embrace Jesus as your one and only Savior.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10
On the other hand, you can chose to follow your own way, hoping you will be good enough to get into heaven. I assure you that you can be as sincere in your religion as you can, but if you approach God with even one sin, you will drink His cup of wrath. He cannot tolerate sin. He is Holy and Righteous.
Alternatively, you can drink the cup of Christ’s blood, His precious blood that He poured out taking God’s wrath for you on the cross.
Which will it be? From which cup will you drink?