Communion & Psalm 23 (2023)
Verse 1 The Shepherd’s job was to protect the sheep. To deal with any enemies that came to attack the sheep.
- Jesus is of course the shepherd, our shepherd, And He has laid down His life for us, the sheep. To save us from the attacks of the enemy the devil.
- The Communion meal reminds us that Jesus is the shepherd
- John 10:11 Jesus says he is the Good Shepherd, the word good here in the Greek means winsomely good.
- Jesus is not just good at taking care of us as a shepherd, he is so good that he is attractive to us.
- And unlike the hired hand that will run at the threat of danger. Jesus is not sacred of the devil.
- In john 10:14 Jesus also says that his sheep will know Him. This ties back to the beginning of chapter 10 here in John.
- This all speaks of intimacy.
- Verse one, goes on to say that we will not be in want.
- The shepherd’s job was to lead the sheep to green pastures with fresh grass to eat.
- Jesus is the shepherd and he not only leads us, He becomes our sustenance. Jesus is after all the bread of life.
Verse 2 The shepherd was to lead the sheep to new pastures with fresh grass.
- It says he makes us to lie down.
- The verb here is a specialized one in the Hebrew referring to making animals lie down.
- It’s also a causative statement in the Hebrew.
- His provision, His grace, His care, His mercy are so great, we are left with no option.
- But to lay down and rest in His provision and grace
- This Communion Table reminds us of that provision and grace
Verse 3 This language now begins to move away from traditional shepherd language and roles.
- The devil is out to destroy our souls.
- But Jesus came to defeat the enemy and restore our soul.
- The word in Hebrew that is often translated as restore or restoreth means life or breath.
- The image here is of someone who has almost stopped breathing and is revived, brought back to life.
- This Communion table is a reminder that Jesus brings the dead back to life.
Verse 4 The shadow that devil used to be able to cast over us was death.
- This refers to an actual physical location. A valley on the east side of Jerusalem called Shadow of death.
- Because this valley is located on the east side of Jerusalem, it is covered in shadow most of the day.
- Communion reminds us that Jesus rose from the dead and overcame death.
- The care of Jesus is seen in the rod and staff as they protect us from evil ways.
- We can see the Rod and the staff in the Communion Table.
Verse 5 Jesus prepares a table of abundance for us.
- The word table here refers to a banquet table. A big overflowing banquet table.
- Here is the best part.
- He prepares this table right in front of the devil.
- The devil must sit and watch Jesus prepare the table
- And he must watch us eat from the table.
- Every time we eat from the Communion Table, we are reminded that the devil is defeated.
- But the devil also can’t touch this table or what is on the table unless we let him.
- Then Jesus also anoints our head with oil and makes our cup overflow
- The verb used here is not the one often used for anointing but rather to make luxuriant.
- This Communion table reminds us that Jesus cares for our health, provides for us.
Verse 6 The English word goodness here misses the point of the Hebrew word used here.
- In Hebrew it is the word Hessed. Which can’t be translated into one word in English.
- Words like goodness and Mercy are often used.
- This Word Hessed means the totality of God’s Goodness and Mercy.
- Then the phrase “will follow us” is also misunderstood here.
- The Hebrew word means to chase after and purse. It’s a hunting word.
- The totality of God’s goodness hunts us down. Like hunting down an animal in the wild.
- This Communion table screams of this hessed. The totality of God’s goodness.