40 Days to Jerusalem
The New Exodus Begins ‚Äì Day 30
Weekly Theme: Jesus Offers Us Provisions for the Journey
Today‚Äôs Meditation: Jesus is the Rock
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. 6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‚ÄúThe people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.‚Äù 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did‚Äîand in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.
9 We should not test Christ, as some of them did‚Äîand were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did‚Äîand were killed by the destroying angel. 11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don‚Äôt fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say.
16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.(1 Corinthians 10:1-17)
Hunger and thirst were two of the major complaints the Israelites leveled against God and Moses. How could God lead them out into the wilderness only to starve them and deprive them of water? God had no such intention. But, rather than prayerfully requesting these provisions, the Children of Israel grumbled and complained. As Paul indicates in 1 Corinthians 10, God‚Äôs grace was made evident despite their whining. But, God‚Äôs wrath was also made evident when His gracious gifts were met with disdain or disobedience.
In the tenth chapter of the first letter to the Corinthians, Paul is writing about the Lord‚Äôs Supper. We have already noted that this meal was instituted by Jesus in the upper room and is nothing less than the New Exodus Passover feast. Paul is addressing abuses by the Corinthian Church in the way they were approaching the Table. And, he is pointing out that the wilderness wanderings serve as an example to these followers of Christ. Paul wrote, ‚ÄúNow these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.‚Äù
Yesterday we studied God‚Äôs provision of water to satisfy the thirst of the Israelites. At the beginning of the Exodus and at the very end of the 40 year journey, God instructed Moses to draw water from a rock. In the first instance, Moses was to gather the elders and people at Horeb. There, God would stand with Moses as he struck the rock with Aaron‚Äôs staff. When he did, water came forth from the rock. This scenario played out a second time four decades later. This time, God instructs Moses to ‚Äúspeak to the rock‚Äù in order to extract water. Sadly, Moses takes it upon himself to strike the rock twice. God fulfilled His promise to give water to the people. But this blatant disobedience deprived Moses and Aaron of entering the Promised Land.
Deriving water from a rock is not natural! This was supernatural. Of this, Paul wrote, ‚ÄúThey all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.‚Äù As we saw on Monday, Jesus proclaimed that He was the true bread sent down from heaven. And now, we find out that He is also the Rock out of which water came. In this teaching extended teaching about the Lord‚Äôs Supper, what was Paul was trying to communicate? Why did Paul place this stunning statement about Jesus being the rock that provides ‚Äúspiritual drink‚Äù in a section of 1 Corinthians pertaining to the Lord‚Äôs Supper?
Consider this ‚Äì Moses was told to strike the rock, and then to speak to the rock. In both instances, life giving water flowed from the rock. How can this be seen as Jesus? When Jesus was on the cross, he was struck. His body was broken and His blood was shed. A soldier thrust his spear into Jesus‚Äô side, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water (John 19:34). The parallel of Moses striking the rock is unmistakable. Isaac Watts wrote, ‚ÄúSee, from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down; did e‚Äôer such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown.‚Äù God‚Äôs grace flowed from the side of Jesus when He was struck!
How about when Moses is told to ‚Äúspeak to the rock‚Äù and water would flow? Is there a parallel to this in Jesus‚Äô Passion? When Jesus instituted the Lord‚Äôs Supper, He took a cup, gave thanks and said, ‚ÄúThis cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you‚Äù (Luke 22:20).By offering a prayer of thanks and speaking the ‚Äúwords of institution,‚Äù bread and wine became the Lord‚Äôs Supper. As we read, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:16, ‚ÄúIs not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?‚ÄùThis is not true of most bread and wine ‚Äì only that which is dedicated for the Supper of the Lord! When we gather at the Table of the Lord, He is not struck again ‚Äì there is no ‚Äúre-sacrifice‚Äù of the Lord Jesus. He is the ‚Äúonce and for all sacrifice.‚Äù But, just as Moses was supposed to speak to the rock and it would issue forth God‚Äôs gracious gift of water, so too, when the prayer of thanks is offered, and the Words of Jesus are spoken, simple elements of bread and wine become set apart as a beautiful gift of Communion with Jesus and His Church. Verse 17 says, ‚ÄúBecause there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.‚Äù
Jesus is indeed the Rock. He was struck only once ‚Äì then water and blood flowed from His side. At the Lord‚Äôs Table, he is not struck again. But, following the Scriptural mandate, a word of prayer is offered, Scriptural words are spoken, and bread and wine become the Lord‚Äôs Supper. The parallels are too rich and beautiful to miss. Augustus M. Toplady wrote, ‚ÄúRock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, from the wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.‚Äù
Prayer for Today
Praise God for His ability to amaze us time and time again
Give thanks for God‚Äôs gracious gift of the Rock ‚Äì the Lord Jesus Christ
Give thanks to Jesus for enduring the ‚Äústrike‚Äù for us and for communing with us at His Table
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin
Repent, confess and ask the Lord to forgive you
Receive His forgiveness
Ask the Lord to reveal to you someone who has no communion with the Lord or His church
Ask for the courage to approach them to share the Gospel with them
‚ÄúHe himself bore our sins‚Äù in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‚Äúby his wounds you have been healed.‚Äù (1 Peter 2:24)