With Good Friday coming up this week, it’s a great opportunity to teach your children, grandchildren and those you spiritually mentor, about communion. I’m sure they know what it is, but have they prepared spiritually for it?
When I grew up, my church observed Preparation Sunday. The Sunday prior to communion, we were reminded to prepare ourselves, so we were ready to take communion a week later. Communion in our church was serious business. I’m concerned that too many Christians today do not take it seriously enough. What follow is something you might consider reading to your family this week, or forwarding this blog to your friends, to read to their families. This week is Easter. Easter is the day we celebrate Christ’s victory over death by his resurrection from the grave. It’s the most important day in the Christian calendar. Even Christmas, as wonderful as it is, is not more important to Christians. Because Christ rose from the dead, he demonstrated that he has the power to resurrect us from the dead as well, which he has promised to all true believers!
But before Easter, before Jesus victory, there was what we call Good Friday, Jesus death on the cross. By his death, he paid the price for the sins of all who truly believe in Jesus.
And the night before Jesus went to the cross, Jesus had his last meal with his disciples. We call that meal, the Last Supper. After Jesus and the disciples had eaten, we read this;
“When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’ After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” Luke 22:14-20
In Preparation For 2,000 years Christians have observed communion. But, there’s more to communion than just being thankful to Jesus and eating the bread (or wafer) and drinking the wine (or grape juice). The taking of communion is a serious thing. Apostle Paul actually warns us in this passage against taking communion lightly. He says;
“So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-31
So what does Paul mean when he warns us to “judge ourselves,” and not take communion in an “unworthy manner?” It means no one should take communion without at least doing these three things:
1. Confess every known sin So, this week, think about specific sins in your life and tell Jesus how sorry you are for them. The Bible says this;
“ If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8, 9
2. Repent of every known sin While confession is admitting our sins, repentance means much more. To repent is to be intentional about not sinning anymore. It means if you’re currently angry with someone, before you take communion, you must try to reconcile with them. If you’ve been looking at things on the internet, which you know are wrong, stop it. If you’ve been thinking about or doing things you know God prohibits, ask the Holy Spirit to give you the will and the power to stop doing them. He will!
3. Thank Jesus for the cross Take time this week to be profoundly thankful for what Jesus did for you on Calvary. Slowly read the story of his arrest and crucifixion. Imagine yourself standing at the foot of the cross and Jesus looking at you – him dying for you. And thank him!
The point is that every believer come to communion with a clear conscience before God. If not, it’s better that you not take communion, in an unworthy manner. Communion is a celebration of Jesus death on the cross. But it’s only a celebration for those who desire to have a pure heart. Jesus doesn’t require us to be perfect. If that were the case, there would be no need for his death at all. But what he does ask, is that we take sin seriously. For it’s sin that made the cross necessary to begin with.
So, this week, please take an extra ten or fifteen minutes alone with God to confess, repent and thank Jesus. Get right with God. Then next week, you can take communion in a worthy manner and with a clear conscience.
(If you’re reading this to your family, I’d ask if there are any questions or comments anyone would like to share. Then lead them in prayer.)
How following Jesus works in real life.
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