City Harvest Church executive pastor Bobby Chaw taught the church a lesson out of the last supper that Jesus had with His disciples.
Christians (and non-Christians) are familiar with the Last Supper, widely considered a watershed moment in the Bible and one of the most painted scenes in art history.
The Last Supper is widely considered the key setting during which Jesus revealed the events that were to take place later that evening, leading to his cruxificion. But on the weekend of Oct 15 and 16, 2016, pastor Bobby Chaw shared his interpretation of another aspect of the meal and cast new light on its significance.
“The Last Supper was a transition,” Chaw said. “It was a turning point for the disciples.”
He began by explaining the Jewish tradition that was the Passover and how Jesus knew that this would lead to His betrayal, suffering and ultimately the crucifixion.
In Luke 22:11, it says, “Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ A few verses down in Luke 22:14: “When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.”
Chaw highlighted that Luke started addressing the 12 as apostles from this point onwards. “Just a few verses before, in verse 11, they were still ‘disciples’. The relationship between the 12 and Jesus had changed from ‘teacher and disciples’ to ‘Christ and His apostles’.”
An apostle is “someone with power and authority, an ambassador”, Chaw explained. “The Last Supper was crucial for the disciples because it was the turning point for them to become apostles. Since then, Luke never called them disciples anymore, always apostles.”
He also highlighted that Jesus had anticipated this meal with “fervent desire” (Luke 22:15) because He knew that it was the transition point for the apostles. Similarly, Jesus wanted his believers to experience the same transition.
“There can be no transition until we come to the table of the last supper,” Chaw said.
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LAST SUPPER?
In Luke 22:17-18, Jesus instituted the Holy Communion. Referencing with verses 39 to 44, Chaw preached that the cup Jesus wanted the disciples to take was the willingness to obey. Just as how Jesus submitted his will to God in Luke 22:42 “saying “Father if it is Your will, take this cup away from me, it is not My will, but Yours be done”.
“When we can come to a point where we can say ‘nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done’, we can transit from disciples to apostles.”
Luke 22:19 says, “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’” The bread was not just a reminder to remember Jesus, but a reminder to be like Jesus. Chaw showed how, instead of “in remembrance of Me”, the same verse in Mandarin reads “you ought to do the same”.
“Jesus is telling us that He wants us to give our life the same way He gave His life for us,” Chaw explained.
This act of servitude is not new, Chaw said, referencing Matthew 20:28, which says, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Chaw then shared a story of his days serving in choir. As he served enthusiastically in the choir ministry many years ago, and that gave him a chance to be placed in nearer the front of the stage, in front of a microphone. Every week, he would sing his heart out but one day, he realized that he could not hear himself. He tried to signal the audio crew but to no avail.
When he questioned the lack of sound later, he was told that the ministry leaders had instructed the audio crew to turn down the volume of his microphone. It was then Chaw realized it was his expressions, his enthusiasm that the choir wanted; it was not his “beautiful” voice.
“Serving in a ministry was not to serve the satisfaction of my ego!” he said to the laughter of the congregation. “Romans 12:1 says, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Chaw shared another story, this time to illustrate what submitting to God’s will takes. He told of how he had to cheat during his vocabulary tests in school. When he reached Secondary School, it was not as easy to cheat anymore and his Chinese results suffered. At one point in time, his poor results were so bad that his teacher yelled at him, “You are a disgrace to the Chinese race!” He was so discouraged that he decided never to touch Chinese again after he completed his examinations.
But God had a different plan for him.
Many years later, Chaw found himself preaching to a foreign Chinese-speaking crowd with an interpreter at hand. He was prompted by God that he had to start preaching in Chinese. He chose to obey. As the dean of CHC’s School of Theology, he got the Chinese students to practice with him after school. He had a couple of setbacks that affected his confidence but he pushed through because it was God’s will for him to preach in Chinese.
One day, his interpreter fell sick just before they were to go on a mission trip. He had no choice but to preach in Chinese by himself. He found that he had the words to preach and even scribbled words on the board to help the congregation follow his sermon.
After the sermon, he waited in trepidation for feedback. Were they able to read his handwriting? His audience told him, “Here, the more we don’t understand your handwriting, the more it shows that you’re learned! Like doctors, the more illegible your handwriting the more highly qualified you are!”
After the laughter had subsided, Chaw brought the congregation’s attention back to his point: he had done what he did because of God’s will.
Bringing the sermon back to the Last Supper, the pastor pointed out Luke 22:24-27, where, after Jesus revealed that He was going to be betrayed by someone among them, the discussion turned into an argument of who was the greatest. In Luke 22:27, Jesus says, “For who is greater, he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves”.
“When you serve, don’t think of what you can get out of your service,” Chaw said. It is all about obeying the will of God.
“Why do you serve? For ego? Accolades? Applause of your peers?” Chaw asked the congregation. He taught that it is not for greatness, but for God that Christians serve. One day, when they return to the house of God, they will be His good and faithful servant as exemplified in Luke 22:28-30.
He concluded his message with this statement, “Christian faith always boils down to a daily decision—are you willing to take the cup like Jesus did? When you decide to obey, you turn from learner to apostle.”