Psalm 23:5 - You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
On the night before He died on the cross, Jesus gathered with His disciples to celebrate the Passover. The Lamb of God—the One who would soon shed His blood to atone for the sins of the world—remembered the blood of lambs painted on the doorposts and lintels of Israelite homes in Egypt. It was shed blood that saved them as God destroyed the firstborn of Egypt and set His people free.
The night that Jesus celebrated in Jerusalem, His enemies, "Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel," plotted against Him (Acts 4:27b). The disciple Judas Iscariot, who would betray Jesus, was present at the table until the time of Jesus' betrayal drew near. Earlier that same evening the Lord had called His disciples "friends" (John 15:15b), but later that same night the disciples would forget that friendship and flee from the Savior in order to save themselves. Peter would deny Jesus and swear that he did not even know his Lord. Jesus came to the table while His enemies schemed in the city. He shared a meal with His betrayer and with disciples who would abandon Him to His captors. Yet that night at the table, in the presence of enemies and friends who would soon run from Him, Jesus offered His disciples and to us the gift of His body and blood, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Taking up the bread and wine, Jesus said, "This is My body ... this is My blood" (Matthew 26:26b, 28a). We take Him at His Word as we receive His gift of forgiveness.
In the Sacrament of the Altar, the Lord's Supper, a table is prepared for us in the presence of our enemies. Perhaps we have real human enemies of some kind, people who wish us harm. As Christians, we face the hostility of an unbelieving world, as Jesus warned us: "I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:19b). Our enemy Satan is always on the prowl, "seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8b). We may face the "enemies" of our own thoughts, our doubts and fears, our guilt and shame, as we wonder if we are forgiven and worry that we are not worthy of the Savior's gift.
In the presence of our enemies, Jesus welcomes us—He welcomes sinners!—to the table that He has prepared for us. He invites us to receive His body and blood, forgiving our sins, nourishing our faith and assuring us of His triumph over every enemy, His and ours. We receive, according to His Word, the cup of salvation that overflows with His grace and mercy.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, I give You thanks and praise for the table You have prepared for me in the presence of my enemies. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. How was the first Passover in Egypt a foreshadowing of what Jesus did on the cross?
2. In this psalm, God, the Shepherd-King, prepares a table for David in front of his enemies. How would this give David confidence?
3. Do you have a neighbor you can prepare a meal for? What would you make?
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