14th October 2020

Sustenance for the Needy

“And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.’”
Mark 14:22-24 (ESV)

Why did Jesus give us bread and wine? If Jesus was making a reference to the Passover the Israelites took before being rescued from Egypt, then it wasn’t the same. The Israelites were to take lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread and there is no mention of wine.

But we do find bread and wine if we go back to Abraham’s day. In Genesis 14 we read that five Palestine kings had rebelled against their overlord, Chedorlaomer, and refused to pay tribute. Chedorlaomer and his allies had swept through the area in retribution, killing, and taking captives and plunder. In the process they captured Abraham’s nephew Lot, his family and all his possessions. Abraham set off to rescue him. Together with his neighbouring allies, he did a forced march after the invaders, pursuing them north. Through clever tactics he overcame them and chased them all the way to Damascus.  Everyone was freed. Then they had to make the long haul back south.

When Abraham neared Jerusalem he was met by Melchizedek, who brought out bread and wine to him and blessed him. His name means ‘The King of Righteousness.’ He is also the King of Salem, which means he is the king of the City of Peace, and he was handing out bread and wine in his office as priest of the God Most High.

Abraham and his men had been through a forced march, a battle and a long pursuit of the fleeing troops before making their way home. They’d done a round trip of about 400 miles. It must have been an arduous and anxious time and they must have returned exhausted. So the bread and wine were given to people who are pretty worn out battling with life.

The next challenge Abraham had was with the King of Sodom. The wily king wanted to do a deal with him over the plunder they had captured. But the credit for success was going to God alone and Abraham was not going to be sucked into any alliance with him. It did mean that Sodom got almost everything. But Abraham wasn’t beholden to him in any way. He has been strengthened by taking the bread and wine and receiving the blessing.

It’s something to think about when we take the bread and wine of Communion.  Hebrews tells us that Jesus is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek and that he is always there for those who are exhausted with life’s struggles and challenges.

Prayer
And so we pray that when we take the bread and wine of your sacrifice, may we be refreshed and be strengthened.
Amen

Study by Hilary Buck

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About the Author:
Hilary Buck is an Elder and pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street
LEWES
BN7 2NS

Meeting Time:
Sunday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:
Hilary Buck
Email:  lewes@gracecom.church

 

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