Garland Of Grace – 06.16.14

Communion

Christ and the Cup

“And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” – Luke 22:20

The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus while in the upper room with His disciples the night that He was betrayed.  He explained that the bread symbolized His body and that the wine symbolized His blood.  They did not fully grasp the significance and meaning of His words, yet soon they would understand these things more fully as the events of Calvary unfolded.

The fruit of the vine beautifully illustrates the suffering our Lord endured on the cross.  Particularly, this is expressed in Isaiah 53, the great Suffering Servant passage.  Let us study this Old Testament passage by peering through New Testament lenses, and consider the harvesting process of grapes used to make wine. The process of turning grapes to wine beautifully illustrates the blood of our Lord and the story of our Savior.

To begin with, just like the fruit of the vine, Jesus was planted. Isaiah 53:2 says, “For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground.” There has never been a time when Jesus Christ has not existed; for He is the Alpha and Omega. He is the eternal Son of God, the second Person of the trinity. Yet God the Father sent God the Son to this earth, and He grew up before Him like a tender shoot among the population of fallen man made from the dust of the ground. He came from heaven to earth, planted among the weeds of the world.  Yet He was planted here for a purpose. His purpose was to save and redeem sinful man from their sins. It should not surprise us that Isaiah mentions parched ground; for man was made from dust of the ground (Genesis 3:19, Ecclesiastes 12:7). And like a tender shoot out of dry ground, the incarnate Son of God penetrated this crusty and dusty world by becoming a man.

Yet even though Christ was planted among the population of sinful man, Jesus was plucked. Like plush grapes in their prime, He was plucked and harvested by the righteous right hand His Father. The only way this tender shoot could be used in the redemption story of man was to be plucked from the dust of the ground it was planted in. Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Part of God’s redemptive plan for sinful man involved uprooting the very tender shoot He planted. The righteous right hand of the Father struck His own Son, and it pleased the Him to do so.

Thirdly, Jesus was pressed. Grapes must be pressed to make wine. They are crushed and trampled underfoot to extract their juice. Similarly, Jesus was crushed and trampled upon by the Roman government and by the religious leaders of Israel.  Violently they joined efforts in crucifying Him. Yet of greater importance is the fact that Jesus was pressed by His heavenly Father, the same Father who planted Him and plucked Him. Isaiah 53:5 says that “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” At Calvary, Jesus was crushed in the winepress of God’s wrath. In that moment the sin of the world was placed upon Jesus. And He who knew no sin became sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Finally, just as wine is poured out, Jesus was poured out as well. When the wrath of God the Father was poured out upon God the Son, Jesus also poured Himself out in loving sacrifice on behalf of sinful man. Isaiah 53:12 says, “I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death.” Notice that Jesus used this descriptive language of Himself in our text above.  It is a truth echoed in that great messianic Psalm 22, when in verse 14 King David says, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.

Oh that God would grant us to see the blood of Christ, the wine goblet, and His communion table with a fresh new set of eyes!

 – Pastor Eric

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