Part XII of our series on Preparation
As we learned in our last post, Works of Mercy, absent being rooted in Works of Piety, result in acts of the flesh. But when Works of Piety express themselves outwardly in Works of Mercy, the greatness of God is mirrored into the visible realm. And that’s very cool.
Christ himself modeled the Works of Piety throughout his ministry—this is the first half of the Great Commandments in Matthew 22:37, NIV, where Jesus said “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
And Christ passes on the Works of Mercy to humanity throughout his ministry—this is the second half of the Great Commandment, in Matthew 22:39, NIV, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Now, here’s the key point for today: The Lord’s Supper is extraordinary for many reasons, and one of the reasons is that through it you can see Jesus delivering all ten of the Works of Mercy to humanity.
The Lord’s Supper is inaugurated through the Passover meal recorded in Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; and John 13:21-30, but it is then enacted—meaning, it’s brought to life—through Jesus from the conclusion of the Passover meal on through the Crucifixion.
Remember what we’ve being saying throughout this series: before we even think about doing the word to someone else, we must first hear how it has been done to us, by Christ. And where we can see him doing all ten of the Works of Mercy is in the section of Scripture from the Lord’s Supper on through the Crucifixion.
The form of the Lord’s Supper that the church has most often used is what Paul received and passed on in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, which I received and now pass on to you to practice this week in your family worship time. It goes like this:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that he Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
I would encourage you to memorize this verse. And as you do, I have a homework challenge for you: identify each of the ten Works of Mercy in the Lord’s Supper story, from the supper on through the crucifixion. Take your list of Works of Mercy (a list is in our last post) and ask yourself, “Where in the passion story do I see Jesus doing this Work of Mercy to others?”
Comment with your answers and next week we’ll compare answers!