Summary: Communion Meditation for August 5, 2007
(Slide 1) In some of my reading this past week I have been reminded about the cost of following Jesus. Two of the stories were about two American pastors who believed in racial harmony enough to make a public stand for it in a time and a place that did not want it. Another was about a South American believer who opened his door to his would-be assassin only to have the man leave when he realized that he could not kill him.
Our main text for this morning, words of Jesus spoken moments after His final meal with the disciples, one of whom whose betrayal would lead to Jesus’ execution, are words that we do not often want to hear. But we need to hear them. We need to understand that the implications of following the Lord will sometimes cause us to face mockery (as Jesus did and would), abuse, perhaps physical as well as mental and verbal (as Jesus did), and that it will make us unpopular with current trends (as Jesus often was.)
Following Christ is a very important thing to do. Following Christ is something that Jesus Himself asked of His disciples and that He asks of us today.
Speaking of disciples, I want us to think for a few moments about the kind of disciples who sat around that table.
(Slide 2) Over the course of the three years they spent with Jesus, these twelve interesting and diverse group of men, would hear Jesus say numerous times that He would be betrayed. But it was only when He said to them, at that table, “one of you will betray me,” that they were so troubled and concerned they asked, “It isn’t me, is it?”
Why would they do that? We know the rest of the story and we know something about three or four of them, but about the others we know very little. But in their asking the question, ‘Is it I?’ we are aware that they were aware of their own shortcomings and fears that could create conditions for betrayal.
(Slide 3) What kind of disciples were these men?
(Slide 3a) They were human because sometimes their anger got the best of them and they wanted to call fire down from heaven on a place that was inhospitable to Jesus and them…
They were human because they were part of their culture in which certain groups and certain kinds of women would not be addressed or even acknowledged in the middle of the day at a well.
They were human because they found children to be a nuisance to grown ups instead of valuable and important.
(Slide 3b) They were fiery, fearful, impatient, confused, and hopeful.
We sit around the table fully aware of our own sinful tendencies and shortcomings… we know in our hearts that we have the potential to either to betray (or at least become inconsistently unfaithful toward) our Savior. We need to be reminded of the need for love and unity as two key indicators of commitment and faith just as they were told by Christ.
(Slide 4) But we are also like them in other ways… (Slide 4a) They were and we are messengers of forgiveness and salvation! St. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 4:7, ‘But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own.’ They were and we are (Slide 4b) flawed but improving messengers that God has chosen to make known His salvation known. We are the ancestors of their efforts at going along through life and telling about Jesus.