Friday, November 24, 2017

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday November 26, 2017

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(Focus on JESUS and remember HIS sacrifice)
(1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

   The words “in remembrance”, that JESUS uses in HIS instituting of the LORD’s Supper, dates back to the Old Testament concept of “Zikkaron” (Zik-ka-rone). Zikkaron is a Festival, Practice, or an Object, that is used to symbolically link future generations to “a distinctive act of GOD” from the past. The name derives from the Hebrew word “zikrown” (zik-rone), which means “a memento, or memorable thing, day, or writing”.
    Through the Zikkaron, GOD’s people could sense their personal participation along with their ancestors, the original generation, in a special act that GOD had performed for them. Thus the LORD’s Supper is a unique institution of sacrament that is intended by GOD to link all generations to the memory of CHRIST JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice.
    Some of those in the Corinthian Church were totally missing the significance of the LORD’S Supper. Instead of making it a shared time in holy sacrament in CHRIST, they were treating it as if it were a dinner party that was dedicated to one of the pagan deities that they used to worship in former times. 
    The New Covenant is mentioned many times in the Old Testament, and it is spelled out quite clearly by GOD, in Jeremiah 31:31-34. JESUS came to usher in that new Covenant from GOD. It is a Covenant that is far superior to any before, or since, that time. This New Covenant provides for the regeneration of mankind spiritually, and allows for us to be indwelt by the HOLY SPIRIT, when we come to believe in JESUS CHRIST. The bread, which we eat at the sacrament, is common bread, but for those who have the heart to feel and understand the purpose and work of GOD, it is the very body of CHRIST JESUS.
    In the Gospel according to Luke, as expressed in chapter 22, in verse 22, in his original Greek writings, the word Luke uses in JESUS’ statement, that translates “determined”, is “horizo” (hor-id-zo). Luke is the only author in Scripture who uses this particular word for “determined”, and he uses it only here, and in Acts 17:26. In both places it means “decreed by GOD”, and is meant to remind us, from a “time-bound perspective”, that JESUS’ death represented a miscarriage of justice, and that, from GOD’s point of view, it was the keystone of HIS plan to, not only provide salvation, but to also, set all things right before HIM.
    In Exodus 24:1-8, the Israelites accepted GOD’s Covenant, as it had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The continuance of that Covenant depended on man keeping his pledge and obeying the laws of GOD. But man would not then, and quite frankly, will not now, abide by such a Covenant, because our sin continuously interrupts our relationship with GOD. It took the life of CHRIST to restore that lost relationship of friendship with GOD.
    “This do in remembrance of me”, is what JESUS said to HIS Disciples. However, it is also a statement that comes to us, from across the spans of time, in hopes that we too, can share in HIS new Covenant. JESUS knew how quickly the human mind would forget. HE knew that we would become so pre-occupied with our own worldly affairs and agenda, that, eventually, we would fail to recall HIS vicarious sacrifice. And so, HE invites us to, come in sometimes, into the peace and tranquility, of HIS FATHER’s House, and to “Do this in remembrance of HIM”.
    It stands as all the more tragic that, at that very table on that Passover night, in a dimly lit upper room, somewhere in the midst, of the festive atmosphere of Jerusalem, that there sat one, who was a traitor (Judas), who would sell JESUS out for the price of a common slave, which was thirty pieces of silver at that time.
    Since the birth of the New Covenant, at every Communion table, there are those who will betray JESUS. If, in HIS House, we pledge ourselves to HIM, and then, go out and fail to reflect HIS image to others through our own behavior, then we too, like Judas Iscariot, have become traitors to HIS cause.
    Unlike JESUS, we don’t know when our “last supper” will be. It is the “Will of GOD” that man not know, what his time, place, or method of demise will be. However, like JESUS, we can all become great preparers, and begin to store up our treasures in a place that JESUS says, “has been prepared for us, from the foundation of this World”. That place that Luke, Paul, and other New Testament writers call, in the Greek, “Paradeisos” (Par-ad-i-sos), but we call, “the Kingdom of Heaven”.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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