Well, I have not spent a whole lot of time blogging or reading blogs this summer, as I have allowed myself to be distracted with too many other things -- for shame, I know. This is not necessarily a new subject, but it is an important subject. Hopefully, there will be some ideas here to stir your thinking. For my friends who will be reading this, I hope that this message will be a blessing!
One of the things that I love about John's gospel is that
it is not so much a chronology of many of the events in Jesus life, as
related in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels. Rather, it is more like
picture frames of Jesus’ life…critical events that take place…some of
them corresponding with the other gospels, while others that do not.
For example, John gives us the wedding at Cana in Galilee (2:1-11),
where Jesus changes the water into wine. He did this, ultimately, in
order to reveal that He would shed the wine of His most precious blood
on the cross. Also, Jesus took some time to feed 5000 men and likely
women and children, as well (John 6:1-14)…a story found in all four
gospels. However, only John expands upon Jesus message concerning the
fact that He is the Bread of Life (6:26-40). What we come to understand
when we consider what John is trying tell us is in relationship to
fruit of the vine and bread…it is the foundation for what Jesus shares
with His disciples on the night before His crucifixion – the Last
Supper, which is seen in some form in all four gospels. It is also is
the background for what Paul teaches the Corinthian church (1
Corinthians 11:23-34) concerning the Lord’s Supper which we partake of
every Lord’s Day.
When we come to the table, it is an important
time. Often, in our churches, it seems that the Lord’s Supper is
something that we do as a part of our worship, but which has no more
significance than anything else that we do…perhaps, even less. In
writing to the Corinthians, Paul seeks to teach concerning this very
misconception that affects even them. He wants them, and us, to
understand the importance of the Lord’s Supper…and that it is not
something that we should treat passively or frivolously in any way. For
the Corinthians, the Supper was a source of disunity, rather than
unity, as some were coming in and taking it early and not waiting for
their brethren, while others were coming to the table having had too
much to drink, and yet others were dressing in a way that was causing
others to stumble…wrong, wrong, wrong. They were treating the Lord’s
Supper with a lack of intent and seriousness…some of them simply were
not taking it in a worthy manner. They may have had a certain
commitment, but it was not sincere and secure in any respect, as their
lack of focus revealed.
The Lord’s Supper is not a casual
commitment, but is a participation in what Jesus has done in having His
body broken and His blood shed on the cross. When Jesus, Himself, takes
bread and the fruit of the vine, a common meal, He presents them in a
way that is a meaningful spiritual experience for believers. As we
often speak about it, the broken bread symbolizes and reminds us of the
body of Jesus Christ broken for us; the cup of juice symbolizes and
reminds us of His blood shed for us. This is a commitment of our hearts,
souls and minds. We choose to do this as often as we come together,
following the example of the early Christians (Acts 2:42, 20:7). The
Lord’s Supper allows us an opportunity for spiritual growth and
blessing...if we approach it with the correct mindset.
worship assembly should be a time where we take a few minutes out of our
service in order to fulfill our obligation to partake of the Supper.
It should be the focal point and climax of our time together…whether we
are partaking of it at the beginning, middle or end of our time
together…although the end would seem to be most appropriate. The Supper
should be what we are continually focusing upon as we worship in our
praying, singing, hearing the message, contributing…and whatever else we
choose to do in our worship time. I thank the Lord that He gives us
the opportunity to come together on a weekly basis and “look around,”
not to judge what others are doing, but in order to participate with the
church family in our Lord’s Supper, building up the unity of the body.
And not only this, but to look back…“to remember Jesus’ death burial
and resurrection”, to look ahead…“to anticipate our Lord’s coming
again”, and to look inside…“to consider your own situation as to whether
or not you are in a right relationship with the Lord.” It is my hope
that we will consider all of these things as we come to the Table.