If We Come Clean He Shares His Kingdom Portion (8.28.12)
As God's universal priesthood, we offer our Spiritual sacrifice (1Peter2,5), our faith gifts of bread and wine, faithful praise, and ourselves as living-Spiritual sacrifices. And here we remember that Leviticus 6,17 reminds us that all we sacrifice to the Lord already belongs wholly and exclusively to him.
Yes and amen!
We were bought back from sin and death at the one sacrificial price of our Lord Jesus' blood, and thus our very lives belong to him (1Corinthians 6,20).
All we have is given-shared by him. Thus, only He decides how the sacrifice will be shared among his priesthood people.
The pattern of the final physical sacrifice of Calvary almost two thousand years ago is our Spiritual pattern at our Table today. Christ in the flesh offered himself to God, who is Spirit (John 4,24), and then the risen Jesus, shares all that has become consecrated with us, sojourning priests, still in the flesh.
So when Jesus laid down his life in sacrifice, and then took it up again, he seized the prerogative to share the fruits of his portion with us, beginning with His resurrection life and Spirit presence (see Psalms 16,5).
Leviticus 6,16-18: "and Aaron and his sons will eat the remainder in the form of unleavened loaves. They will eat it inside the holy place, in the court of the tent of Meeting. v.17 The portion I give them of the food burnt for me must not be baked with leaven; it is especially holy... v.18 and anyone who touches it will become holy.
Exodus 25,30: "You shall set the bread of the presence- literally bread of the Lord's face, shown to him, offered for Him to eat, face to face, in his house, that takes on his holiness! See Jerusalem Bible Note J at this verse,1985; and especially godvine.com/bible/exodus/25-30 citing Adam Clarke's 1831 Commentary, on this verse and verse 23, also found at sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/clarke/exo024.htm] on the table before me at all times."
Psalm 16,5: O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot."
Matthew 8,20: "And Jesus said to him, 'Foxes have holes and birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.' "
Luke 22,10-12: "And He said to them, "Behold when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. v. 11 "Where is the guest room where I may eat the passover with my disciples."
1Corinthians11,30: "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
At the yearly Passover remembrance in Jesus' day Jews of a territorial clan (Hebrew "Mishpahah", Joshua 7,16-18, a protective association of families, as distinct from the smaller "bet", household, and larger "shevet", tribe. See Introduction to Hebrew Bible, Ed. Granett, Westminister, John Knox Press (2008) p. 125ff, ) would gather in their neighborhood and slaughter, roast and then eat, a male one year old lamb (Exodus 12,21).
But Jesus and His apostles had lost their earthly homes and neighborhood and to some extent their families. Thus, Jesus had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8,20). This is sort of like the Prophet Elijah's situation- hated by the Temple crowd- he was hosted for bread and rest in a new non-territorial place by the great woman of Shunem and her husband (2Kings4,8).
So Jesus, and his Kingdom brothers are hosted as sojourners, pilgrims, temporary guests of Jesus on earth, in that the height and grandeur of all things religious and earthly, the temple, had decidedly turned on them.
A mysterious man, certainly of great humility given his burdemsome task of water carrying, with a ceremonial washing jar, directs them to the right apartment in Jerusalem. Who was this mysterious man?
An angel in human form? Nicodemus? Melquisedek redux- representing a new and better priesthood and a new and better bread?
Regardless, for this present meditation, we're more interested in the presence of the jar and water. Why would an already furnished and inhabited apartment lack for a water vessel of this kind? Or, even more simply, why does Jesus want this water emphasized? And what does it represent?
Upon reflection and prayer, it represents another level of post-resurrection "priestly" clean by way of faith in Jesus. It is perhaps a reference to the huge brass laver pot (Hebrew "yam," 180" in diameter, 90" deep, 540" in circumference) in which priests were required to wash their feet and hands before they approached the altar per Exodus 30,17-21.
Anyway, there was no mistaking the correlation between all that blood that John and Peter had just let out of the Passover lamb, and Jesus' soon to flow blood of Calvary, and the portion-cup that they were all about to raise, a portion that included not only the first fruit of the Holy Spirit, but also their own potential martyrdom.
As we have repeatedly emphasized in these meditations, Luke at 22,20 alleviates the somewhat grim prospects of the apostles suffering a similar martyrdom, with Luke's exceptional emphasis on the new cultic act of raising the 5th cup (the cup of Elijah's presence, see Meditation N. 7), after the yearly seder memorial is over.
"This is the cup of the new covenant." Luke 22,20; 1Corinthians11,25.
By repeating this phrase in faith at the table, we prophetically speak as Moses spontaneously invoked the witness of God watching his people returning to Him at the Sinai covenant and his and Moses' declaration of faith on behalf of the entire people:
"Behold this blood of the covenant which Jehovah has cut with you concerning these words." (Exodus 24,8)
Luke and Paul ( see also 1Corinthians5,7) both contemplate and respect the Passover Seder, but also emphasize Christ's raising a new cup at a new Passover supper, and thereafter passing it on to us, as the seal, the renewal, and the mutual witness of our new relationship with God through Jesus at Calvary.
This is some deep and important biblical teaching, and perhaps because it is, the Lord has me focused on the water, and our lack of repentant faith, in offering the Spiritual sacrifice of the Lord's supper.
Have we, God universal priesthood, become too blase about it?
Are we coming to it clean?
2Kings 16,17 tells of the compromising King Ahaz removing the portable brass wagons (Hebrew "kiyyor"), and the water basins on them, that were used to wash the physical sacrifices, after he defiled the temple by bringing an Assyrian altar of divination into the Jerusalem Temple.
He also removed the huge bronze Sea pot (the "yam") by which the priests were cleansed before they went to sacrifice.
The clean waters of the kiyyor and the yam symbolized the cosmic sea upon which the world was founded and the rivers of pure water flowing from the garden of Eden (Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion 1997, 682).
What comes to my spirit here is that we in our modern church are a little off kilter and have done something very similar as Ahaz.
In our desire to fit in with cultures foreign to our own faith culture, we risk excising our vital need to come to Jesus at the supper washed and ready to sacrificially serve.
And yet we take his cup, the cup that pledges our very lives and selves to him?
Jesus give us the strength of faith to come before you clean so you with share your peace and your salvation, and your Spirit, and all that is holy, with us.
Give us also new conviction to humbly ask you, dear savior and provident king, for our portion of your portion (Psalm 16,5), the fruits of your sacrifice, your supper, and your table.
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for sharing your sacrificial portion with us. We don't deserve any of it, but may we accept it just the same, with gratitude and love.
In Jesus NAME I pray.
For video of supper: http://vimeo.com/63572579
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...