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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lord's Supper Blather of The Day: Have you ever noticed that undeniably creepy passage on this subject in John 6? In truth, the whole section after the feeding of the 5000 men could be indirectly alluding to it, but just for fun, let's zoom in on John 6:52-59. The accusers here were 'set off' as it were, by v. 51, which prompts them to ask, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" in v. 52 (ESV). It would seem to me to be a perfect time to back them down a bit, to reassure the crowd that he is not endorsing cannibalism. To the contrary; he says: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides [remains] in me, and I in him." (John 6:52-56, ESV) The Scriptures even right here seem to be speaking very clearly: we are feeding on Christ's flesh and drinking his blood as partake of the Lord's Supper. This meal, our remembrance, our memorial to our Lord who has given us all of himself for our salvation, is (I'm taking a risk here) everything. You protest. One will say, "Don't you risk minimizing the death of Christ itself, getting sappy about this remembrance [and flirting with Catholicism to boot]? I reply, "Nonsense. It is the one thing we are given to do which takes us right back to Calvary, the place where all of us were, and are saved." That word 'abides' is the key. The perfect word for food, and remaining in Christ is suggested by it: sustenance. Saved? By communion? What kind of a freak are you? The kind with the questions that can't be avoided! Read all of this in combination with 1 Cor 11:23-34 and the texts in the other gospels. As for how Jesus feeds us, or how we are proclaiming his death each time, (1 Cor 11:26) I cannot say. But we have to talk in the present, because we are struggling to abide. Our rest is incomplete. The complete rest is that little phrase in 1 Cor 11:26, at the end "until he comes." Later in 1 Corinthians (see 15:2-6) it talks in a present sense about salvation, as the ESV says 'are being saved' in v. 2. So I just think we'd save ourselves (no pun intended) a lot of headaches thinking in terms of God meeting us at the moments of our incompleteness with His truth and presence, instead of pretending that at some moment in the past we definitively figured it all out. (Which is nothing more than overreacting against others' theologies anyway) I ought to point out that the more emotional Puritans (like Watson) saw communion in essentially the same fashion as I do: that, by faith, do feed upon Christ. If we're too insistent about what it isn't, we miss who Jesus is, and we risk not seeing a precious promise He gave us.

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