I’m preaching on Sunday, and in preparation, I’ve been writing. As usual, what was supposed to be one message is turning out to be several. I’m posting the first of what seems to be the scraps. -JB
Last Sunday we spoke on Communion. We read in Genesis 14 of the warring kings, and how Lot, Abram’s nephew, was taken by the winners of one particular war, along with the possessions of Sodom & Gomorrah. Abram rallied his warriors, and took back his nephew, his nephew’s family, and the spoils of war.
At this time the King of Salem, Melchizedek, came to Abram, bringing bread and wine. Pastor John elaborated on how this act of bringing out the wine and the bread was a foretaste of what was to come. We read how Melchizedek exclaimed,
“Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” (14:19-20)
In celebration of victory, Melchizedek broke out the bread and wine. We see how this is a foretaste of Christ… and personally, this just amazes me. We like to think about how Christ won the victory at the cross, but apparently, the breaking of bread and wine is a celebration of what was already done… and while Melchizedek’s words were certainly heavy, it was Christ, who, before the cross, said, ‘…be of good cheer! I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)
Abram won a victory, and Melchizedek broke out the bread and wine.
Christ won the victory, AND broke out the bread and wine.
And He wasn’t finished yet.
Communion is a celebration of things that have happened, and things to come. Melchizedek proclaimed victory and celebrated with bread and wine. Christ claimed the ultimate victory and celebrated with bread and wine.
Self-improvement is our fleshly attempt to answer the question, ‘Do I matter?’
Working for other people’s approval is our fleshly attempt to answer the question, ‘Am I loved?’
Materialism is our fleshly attempt to answer the question, ‘Do I measure up?’
Religion is our fleshly attempt to answer the question, ‘Am I good?’
Christ, the Creator of the Universe, God made man, fully God, fully man, broken, bloodied, beaten, nailed to the cross, in apparent crushing defeat, answered all these questions, when He said, ‘It is finished.’
The bread and wine we partake of signify the whole body Christ gave, and the blood He shed at the cross. Without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. And by Christ’s death, the New Covenant was brought into reality. By Communion, we remember Christ’s victory was not His alone – at the cross, He won it for all of us.
I end this message with a quote from Matt Chandler, whose message helped me construct this message:
‘The defining reality of my life is that I am in Christ, and He is in me.
My life isn’t just about listening to the teachings of Jesus and trying to imitate them, but rather, the resurrection power of Jesus dwells in me via the Holy Spirit.
I am in Christ, and He is in me. This is the rhythm of my life, so I live with courage, I live with joy regardless of the highs and lows of my life.
I am steadfast because I am in Christ, and He is in me.’
I’m excited for the celebration of resurrection.