Summary: Simple bread has incredible meaning when it’s used to celebrate the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus said that the bread represented his body that was broken for you. What’s his body and what does it mean that it was broken for each of us?
1. First of all, his body is his body- his physical body. He lived in a physical body- that started as a newborn body and ended up a healthy 33-year-old body- in the prime of life for most men. But he laid that perfect physical body down in sacrifice. We’re told that he was scourged, in the context of preparation for crucifixion. (Read from Dictionary of the Bible). Then he was crucified. This was not pretty. And what came of this, for us?
1 Pet. 2.24- read in context from v. 19. In his body, he showed us how to suffer. Contrary to what the health and wealth gospel types want us to believe, the NT message is more one of suffering that will come to us. Life has its tough times and Jesus showed us, in his body, that we can suffer and make is through to the kingdom. To hear Christians grumble, sometimes, you’d think that life was supposed to be all rosy and wonderful- peaches and cream, as we might say. But that’s not life. That’s not life. We can make a case for the fact that God always intended for life to be more wonderful, and that is true. Before Eden, that was true, and after Eden, man entered into sweat and labour and all. We can believe that once we are converted, then, we enter into that more idyllic life that God intended. However, that is not reality. We are still ‘in the world’, even if we’re ‘not of it’. Reality is that there is a lot of suffering. A family member becomes suddenly gravely ill and that throws families into fear and anxiety- even sickness, sometimes. Accidents happen, and God allows them. Oppression happens, and God allows it. Christians are martyred, and God allows that. This life is not the one we’re supposed to get enchanted with. It’s glorious, once we put Christ in the centre, and one of the ways we do that is through remembering this lesson about his body. In fact, a strong case can be made for remembering this more often. At our ministerial conference, in May, for instance, communion will be available each day. Such remembering can be incredibly helpful- never routine (this is where danger in having young children participate might come in, where they do not participate with much measure of understanding- although we leave that up to parents, perhaps some caution might be in order sometimes- it’s not a snack.)
It’s mentioned that we have healing through what Jesus suffered, somehow, too. This touches on something that’s a great benefit for us, which isn’t used enough, I fear.
James 5.13- 15- when you’re sick, you are to summon those who hold office in the local church. We’re not to ‘go it alone’ and are not to minimize the impact of this. This is a faith-building activity. Jesus did something in his body and we have healing through his body, but we don’t call on him for this nearly enough. I’d be surprised if Karl, Tony, and I were called on, in total, 10 times in the last year. We’re not acting in faith on this. People get sick… and get well… and that’s the way of life, often. But, we’re to bring Jesus into all our life. We’re to bring Jesus into our well times and our sick times, and this is how we do it. This is not something that isn’t necessary or is superfluous. This is an important function of elders in the church, too. To be with people when sick and to encourage, through prayer, anointing, and simple discussion can be incredibly faith building. Please put us to work! Christ’s beaten body, which we are to remember when we enact the Last Supper, is for this! Any of us can pray for one another- no question. But not anybody, in our tradition, anyway, can anoint. This is a function which, as a minister, I am jealous for and about- it is a precious opportunity to be with God’s people at times of greatest need- which is when Jesus’ sheep ought to want the presence of Jesus, as chief Shepherd, through his under-shepherd. Do not cut yourself out from potential spiritual benefits and to being tied in to Jesus and his church, more, as Jesus ministers to you in low times and needy times in your life.