Tag Archives: crucifixion

The Essence of Communion

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Most people have heard of communion but many are unfamiliar with either its meaning or significance. Some who have taken communion for years may not truly understand its meaning.

Communion

Communion symbolizes and celebrates the most important doctrines of the church and the very essence of the gospel message. Communion is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Jesus instituted communion during the Last Supper, the night before he was crucified. At that time, Jesus explained it’s meaning. His simply spoken explanation is deeply profound: “Take, eat; this is my body … Dink, for this is my blood of the new covenant.”

Several aspects of communion have deep significance for Christians, and, indeed, all of mankind.

Communion is all about our relationship with God.

Jesus expressed his deep desire for a relationship with us on that unforgettable night. Jesus said, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15)

Why? Because he is eager to enter into the lives of his disciples and he wants to share his life with us.

We have a relationship with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

In Matthew’s account of the Last Supper, we read:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

The “blood of the new covenant” – Jesus’ blood – was shed “for the remission of sins.” Our sins.

Unless we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we have no life. It is through identifying with Jesus’ sacrifice that we enter into a relationship with him. Jesus referred to this as a “covenant.” (A covenant is a binding agreement.)

At the time, the disciples did not grasp the enormity of what had just transpired. Jesus replaced the old covenant of works and obedience with a new covenant of grace and faith. (See Hebrews chapter 8 regarding why the new covenant is a better covenant built on better promises.)

We have a relationship with God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

In Luke’s record of the Last Supper, we read:

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

Jesus wants us to remember – and to both commemorate and to celebrate – his sacrifice for us. It is through his sacrifice that we can approach the throne of God. We do that by coming (figuratively) to the foot of the cross. It is at the cross that we apprehend the body and blood of Christ.

Jesus referred to himself as the “door” (John 10:9) and “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). That door – that pathway to God – is the cross. We need to walk through that Door.

Jesus offers us a never-ending relationship with him.

Remember Jesus’ fervent desire “to eat this Passover with you before I suffer?” Jesus’ next words point to our final destination in Paradise.

Jesus continued, “for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:16)

Until what is fulfilled? The salvation of all those who accept the blood of Jesus as atonement for their sins.

Jesus offers each of us eternal life with him in heaven. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus gives us an invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.”

Through communion, Jesus offers us the opportunity to dine with him; to partake of the bread and the wine, which symbolize his broken body and shed blood. The time of communion invites us to commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice and to remember that our relationship with God is made possible only because of what Jesus did.

Jesus is knocking at the door of your life. Will you accept his invitation? Jesus fervently desires that you do.

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Life at the Cross!

An instrument of cruel death was used by God to bring life to all.

The Easter season celebrates the fulfillment of Jesus’ most beloved words in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Life at the Cross

Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the penalty for all of our sins (1 Pet. 3:18, Rom. 6:8, Heb. 9:28). And it is there where we find Him to receive the gift of everlasting life (Rom. 6:23). It is a free gift when we repent in faith.

Jesus actually predicted the manner of His death in the words preceding his great promise. In John 3:14-15, we read: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Notice that verses 15 and 16 end with almost identical words. Why? Because Jesus was drawing a parallel between a spectacular Old Testament event (which prefigured the salvation which would be provided at the cross) with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

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As recorded in Numbers 21:4-9, the ancient Israelites rebelled against God in the wilderness. God punished them with “fiery serpents who bit them, killing many. After the people repented, God provided a means of salvation:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

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In similar fashion, whenever anyone who has sinned looks at Jesus  in repentance and faith, they shall live.

Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). The next verse expressly states, “This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”

Just as Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole to save all those who looked at it, God lifted up Jesus on a cross to save all those who put their faith in Him.

Let us all turn to Jesus, who beckons us with arms wide open, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).

Being Connected to the Love of Our Creator

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6, NIV)

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We are all passionately loved by God, but sadly few know it.

Our world is lost and going to hell, not knowing it needs God. Thus, many people are missing out on a personal connection with the One who created them in his image, the One who desires to share an eternity of love with them.

To reveal his great love for us, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to become one with us. God clothed him in human flesh (John 1:10) and he walked among us. We joyfully celebrate this act of love during the Christmas season and at Easter.

Think about that: God actually stepped down into our world to save it. And he has been redeeming it ever since.

Jesus and the first-century church turned the world right-side up by preaching the gospel (Acts 17:6). Today, God sends us to reveal Jesus and God’s love and life to a world lost in darkness. We are called to be God’s life-saving conversation with the world.

On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciples, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21) This is called the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18) and it applies to every generation of believers. It applies to you.

First, will you accept the unconditional love of our Father?

Then, you join become the face, hands, and feet of Jesus to a desperate world?

If the whole church will commit to being the conversation of God’s love to our world, then together we can change the world!

Nothing Matters More Than Jesus

“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” – Matthew 7:23

 Often, we might think we’re OK. Our culture certainly promotes the “I’m okay, you’re okay” philosophy. The world says you can believe what you want and it will be okay.

But is it true? It is only true if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don’t, you’re missing out on the most important thing in life!

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Many people know of Jesus, but they do not know him. Do you really know Jesus?

You might think you have a good relationship with Jesus because you go to church, serve other people, give generously, or engage in some other “religious” activity. Yet, if your heart has not been transformed by Jesus, if nothing internally has changed since you came to know who Jesus is, then perhaps there is no relationship. Perhaps other things are taking the place of Jesus in your life.

Jesus warned that many in the judgment would come expecting a reward for their external religious activities, yet Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you.” He will say this because their hearts are not right with God.

The communion service (Luke 22:14-21) celebrates our life in Christ. It affirms our fellowship with Jesus and it commemorates his sacrifice for us. The bread and the wine symbolize his broken body and shed blood. In a very real sense, when we partake of those symbols, we are sharing in his sacrifice and we are celebrating oneness with him.

Communion points to the cross and the cross points to God’s love for us (John 3:16).

If we have Jesus, we have everything we need. If we don’t, then we have nothing.

We all need to periodically reevaluate our lives and our priorities and place Jesus at the top of every list.

Nothing matters more than our relationship with Jesus.