“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24
Prepare a Table
When King David wrote Psalm 23 around 1000 B.C., he had been anointed with oil in a ceremony that declared him the king, so he knew the overflowing joy in the words “You anoint my head with oil.” He and the people in his kingdom celebrated the Passover every year with a meal that included lamb, unleavened bread, and wine, so he knew the special significance of the words “You prepare a table before me.”
How much did David understand that baptism would become the anointing of the New Testament and that the Passover meal would become the Lord’s Supper celebrated around the world today? We don’t know.
But by the time Peter wrote about the wounds of Jesus healing us of our sin and guilt, just a few years after he saw Jesus die and come back to life, it had become clear. Christians knew that the table being prepared for them when they gathered for worship held the true body and blood of their Savior, given and poured out for the forgiveness of their sins.
When those Christians read in Psalm 23, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” they knew that their greatest enemies—sin, death, and the devil—had been defeated by the death of Jesus on the cross and the presence of those menacing enemies was only temporary.
Christians of that day were moved to repent of their sins and live in righteousness and love. Christians of today have the same response when their lives overflow with thankfulness for what Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has done for them.
Lord Jesus Christ, Shepherd of the Church, thank you for anointing us with the waters of baptism, and nourishing us with the food of your salvation at the table of your Supper. Amen.