Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 51: Breaking of Bread: Biblical Roots - Part 1 of 3

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 51 of the Discipleship Making process.

In this lesson we will be looking at the significance of the bread and wine in the Passover.

Read: Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-20

The use of the bread and wine can be traced back to Abraham (Genesis 14:17-20).

According to Scripture, Melchizedek was both the “King of Righteousness” and “King of Peace” (Hebrews 7:2). This is derived from his name and his title. His name was Melchizedek (Melchi meaning king and zedek meaning righteousness). His title was king of Salem (Shalom), meaning “peace”. Since he was the “King of Righteousness and Peace,” it meant that he had authority over those two things. Therefore, he had the power to grant righteousness and peace to anyone as he wished.

Melchizedek imparted his righteousness and peace to Abraham through the gifts of bread (righteousness, teaching) and wine (peace, joy). Then, he spoke a blessing to Abraham. Abraham was so honored by Melchizedek’s gifts and blessing that he gave Melchizedek a tithe (tenth) of all God had given him (the plunder of the conquered worldly kings).

According to Psalm 110:4 and Hebrews chapters 5 and 6, Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. And in the book of Hebrews, Jesus is referred to as the high priest of that order fifteen times. This has profound implications in regards to the bread and wine.

The order of Melchizedek is a “royal priesthood” since the head of the order was a king (Melchizedek was king of righteousness and king of peace). Jesus, being the high priest of that order is able to impart righteousness and peace through the elements of bread and wine in the same manner as Melchizedek did. At the Last Supper Jesus Christ indicated that the bread (righteousness, teaching) represented His body and the wine (peace, joy), His blood. Christians as partakers of these elements are able to share in Christ’s righteousness and peace.

Four hundred years after Abraham’s encounter with Melchizedek we see the bread and wine surface again. This time, Moses under God’s direction, makes it a communion offering to God by the Levitical priesthood.

The entire sacrificial offering system in Israel was for the purpose of being in communion (relationship or fellowship) with God. Offerings fell into two categories: 1) those that restored communion with God and 2) those that were taken in communion with God. Because sin separated people from having a relationship with God the offerings that restored communion (relationship or fellowship) with God were offered first.

According to 1 Peter 2:9, Christians are members of the Melchizedek priesthood of whom, Jesus is the high priest. As priests, what should we be doing to fulfill the requirements of our office?

Serve as mediators between God and men bringing forth righteousness and peace.
Bring the daily offerings: Sin – 1 John 1:9 Trespass – James 5:16 & Matthew 5:23-24 Burnt – Romans 12:1 Peace – Psalm 100:4 Meat and Drink (Bread and Wine) – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Incense – Revelation 8:3-4.

The point of the lesson is, Jesus, being the high priest is able to impart righteousness and peace through the elements of bread and wine.

In part 2 of this lesson, we will learn what the Body & Blood means.

. . . and the reading assignment . . .

The Sacrificial Offering System

Two offerings restored communion with God.
  • Sin – for offenses against God through ignorance (There is no offering for sins committed intentionally (willful wrongdoing). This type of sin requires repentance and a change of the attitudes that made it possible for the transgressor to flout God’s will - Hebrews 10:26. Jesus our high priest made the only permanent sin offering for mankind.
  • Trespass – for offenses against others. Restitution has to be made.
Five offerings were taken in communion with God.
  • Burnt – This is the sacrifice of devotion or service and was performed twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Peace – This is the sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise and the offering could be brought anytime.
  • Meat – Although this offering is called the meat offering it is actually a grain offering and consists of partaking of bread, usually unleavened. It was brought in conjunction with burnt and peace offerings.
  • Drink – It concerns the pouring out of wine as an offering. It was brought in conjunction with burnt and peace offerings.
  • Incense – This is the sacrifice of prayer and was performed twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Until next time . . . Godspeed!

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