(This is a communion meditation shared at my church to prepare us together. I hope it encourages you with the gospel of grace.)
This year we’ll be thinking about the Reformation, since it’s considered the 500thanniversary. As we take communion this morning I want to prepare our hearts by sharing one thing we can learn from the Reformers like Luther and Calvin.
One emphasis among the Reformers for baptism and the lord’s supper that many of us as evangelicals miss is these ordinances are first about what God is saying to us and what God is doing to us. While we respond and remember in baptism and communion, we cannot miss that they are first God’s work and provision. We primarily receive something in communion rather than do something. The Lord’s Supper is more about the claim Christ is making on us and the gift he is offering to us than what we do for him.
In the Lord’s Supper, Jesus gives us a visible, chewable sign he has given us forgiveness and assurance through his body and blood. They give us greater confidence in God’s promises and faithfulness as we taste and touch them. The elements of bread and wine are God’s tokens, God’s visible word promising in Jesus there is redemption from our sin, shame, guilt, and bondage this morning.
That’s why when Jesus ate the first Lord’s Supper with his disciples, with both bread and wine he gave something to the disciples. At the table he was not receiving something from them as they ate but he was giving them something. He says take and eat, this is my body for you. He tells them, I am the bread of life that feeds you, and I am the Passover lamb whose body is broken so you might be whole. When he gives the cup he says, this is the blood of the new covenant for you, take and drink it.
He’s not asking them to focus on what they’ve done and see this meal as their time to do something, but it’s a time to receive something from Jesus who offers forgiveness, a covering for our guilt and shame, and life with God as our Father. The food is the gift of his faithfulness, provision, and promises not our faithfulness or devotion or activity.
My encouragement this morning is that if you’ve never said yes to God’s gift of salvation in Jesus, Christ still offers himself to you but the meal is for those who have trusted in Jesus’ sacrificial life and death as the one and only means of forgiveness and salvation. Our prayer is that even today you would receive God’s gift offered in the person of Jesus. If you are a believer, as we pass the bread and cup, take time to rehearse the gospel to yourself. What is it you bring in here today: Weariness, doubt, sin, the sense of feeling frenzied, a dry heart, guilt or shame? Jesus offers you something different through himself, so apply the gospel and find freedom and life in who Christ is for you.
On the night Jesus was betrayed he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to the disciples and said “take, eat, this is my body.” And he a cup the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them, saying “Drink of it, for this is my blood of the covenant which is poured for the forgiveness of sins.”