Posted by: pastortomvabeach | August 20, 2013

Thought For The Week August 25, 2013

Sunday we will pause during worship to share together in the Lord’s table. This is a very solemn and awe inspiring observance that we do at Jesus’ command. During the Last Supper, after Jesus broke the bread and passed it out, after He shared the cup, He commanded the His disciples to do the same in remembrance of Him.

We observe this ordinance in obedience but, more importantly, in remembrance and renewal. By seeing, touching, breaking, and tasting the bread, we remember the amazing event which the broken bread represents. God Himself, in the person of Jesus, the Son, willingly submitted to being arrested, tried, beaten, humiliated, and crucified in order to take my punishment, your punishment for sin! How remarkably astonishing is that? God’s Son suffered horribly so that I, who deserve everything He suffered, so that I could go free and be pardoned.

In sharing, holding, tasting, and drinking the cup, we remember that God’s own words tell us that without shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin. He says the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). So Jesus shed His own blood to wash away and remove the stain of my sins and yours. Does that ring in your heart with awe? The cup we drink is the cup of His blood, a covenant that God makes with us that He will remember our sins no more if we believe in Jesus!

May I prime your pump for Sunday? In Luke’s gospel we read the account of Jesus meeting ten lepers on His way to Jerusalem. These men stood a distance away, as was required by the law, and called out to Jesus, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13). Jesus immediately had compassion upon them, telling them to go and show themselves to the priests (He did this because the law required that if someone was cured of leprosy, only the priests could verify it and grant that person the right to rejoin normal society). They may not have known why Jesus told them to go, but in faith they went and on the way they were all healed of leprosy!

Here’s where the story gets personal. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His (Jesus) feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. (Luke 17:15-16). Jesus was rather astonished at this because, of the ten who were healed, only one, only one came back to say thank you. Where were the rest? Weren’t their healings as unheard of and amazing as was the healing of this Samaritan? What happened?

Let me relate this to the Lord’s table. Leprosy throughout the Bible is used as a strong metaphor for sin. Nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever healed of leprosy by anyone other than God (Jesus). In the same way, the only remedy for sin, is through Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. These guys, who represent sinners, are cleansed, healed, and, in a figurative sense, forgiven. They didn’t do anything to earn it, Jesus just gave it.

In the same way, when we come to the cross and say, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us, He touches our hearts and removes all of the ugly, scarred, decaying, rotted mess we make of our lives and makes us new and whole, ready for heaven. But how many of us remember to go back and say, “Thank you”?

Could it be that we forget all the rottenness that was there? Do we not remember how sin affected all of our relationships, even making us outcasts with certain friends or loved ones? Can’t we recall the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness that accompanied being estranged from God and unable to draw near to Him because we were unclean in sin? What about the fantastic moment when we knew that He forgave that sin, that He loved us and invited us into His arms?

Beloved friends in Christ, the communion table is a place where we can come once again and give thanks. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11, that Jesus gave thanks. The word from Greek which we have brought into English is Eucharist. This word describes the communion celebration and, for some, the elements of that celebration, the bread and the cup. This tells us the Lord’s Supper is a place to remember and thank God for all He has done for us. It’s certainly not the only place but it ought to be a great celebration.

So my question for you, as you prepare to take the bread and the cup on Sunday, what has Jesus done through His broken body and shed blood for you? Do you ever take time to thank Him specifically for the things He’s given you, the things He’s taken away, the grace by which He did it? Will you ponder these thoughts before Sunday so that when we share communion you can specifically say, “Jesus, thank you for ……!” We will take time to thank Him together. Please think about it.

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