Monday, November 28, 2005

CrossTies Devotional Article For November 27, 2005

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Until He Comes
By Bill Denton

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, NASB95)

My cousin's daughter Kathy usually stays in children's church on Sunday mornings, but one Sunday she went with her parents to the regular adult service. When Communion was served, she turned to her mother and whispered loudly, "The snack in children's church is much better. And we get a lot more juice."
Elizabeth Charles Gomes, Wyncote, Penn., Today's Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."

No one would harshly judge the immature words of a child who did not understand the meaning of the Lord’s supper.  But, when adult believers demonstrate an immature understanding it should give us no comfort at all.  The communion meal is a memorial pointing both back to the event that gives it meaning and forward to the event which is its intended goal.

Here’s what I mean.  The broken bread reminds us of the body of Christ.  The cup is the new covenant in the blood of Jesus.  We take these in remembrance of Jesus.  In other words, in the bread and in the fruit of the vine, we remember his body and his blood shed for us.  The meaning of the supper is found in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Paul goes further, however, and says that when we eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  That’s forward thinking, future oriented, pointing toward something that hasn’t happened yet.  It is the goal of the cross Paul has in mind, and that involves our future.  The supper does not only point to the past accomplishment of Jesus on the cross, it points ahead to what he died to accomplish.

Every time we gather around the Lord’s table, we ought to think in both directions.  We think back to get the meaning.  We think forward in order to understand the “so what” of the matter.  Jesus died on the cross, a sacrifice to take away our sins.  “So what?”  He’s coming again, that’s what.  Because he’s coming again, we proclaim again and again what he did.

Why is this so important?  Not just so we don’t forget what Jesus did, but so we will also look forward to what he will yet do for us.  The penalty for sin has been paid at the cross, but Jesus will return to gather to himself all those for whom he paid the price of his death.  Every time you eat the bread and drink the wine, you proclaim what he did and point to what he will yet do.

© Copyright  2005, Dr. Bill DentonAll Rights Reserved.Articles may not be reprinted in any "for profit" publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.
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