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Communion Meditations (2016)

Do You Believe This

John 11:25-27

Originally scheduled for December 11

In this startling passage, Jesus makes two extremely significant claims.

·         He claims to be “the resurrection.” He is the source of the dead rising from the grave. Considering that his crucifixion is still some time ahead, and he has yet to raise Lazarus from the grave, it seems extreme. But note that it did not seem extreme to those who followed him.

·         He claims to be “the life.” The word in the Greek for life is the one from which we get our word “zoo.” He is the source of biological life. He is therefore in control of the one thing no other human can control — life and death.

Then he tells his listener that if she believes this, she will have eternal life. She replies that she knows that he is the Christ.

What’s interesting about this is the person to whom Christ revealed this first. This is Martha, of “Mary and Martha” fame. You remember the incident; Martha came out to complain to Jesus that her sister wasn’t carrying her share of the housework. Jesus sent her back to the kitchen, telling her that Mary was doing something better. So we see that Martha is not someone particularly blessed with “religious thought.”

Is she a great philosopher? No. Is she a great theologian? No. Is she a great evangelist? No. Is she a great teacher? No. Are all these things the wrong questions? Yes. Christ chose to reveal this explicitly to someone whom the world would view as just another housewife. It’s his way of saying it’s for everyone. All he asks of her is that she believe. It’s not about Martha’s ability, it’s about what she believes.

Communion is somewhat of a reminder of this to us. As Martha was not one of the “great people,” but rather ordinary, communion reveals Christ to the ordinary human being as well as the great ones. It is a picture for us. The bread represents his body; the cup, his blood. In these we see his sacrifice on the cross. From the cross he went to his death and then to the burial. As he laid down his life voluntarily for us, he picked it up again and walked out of the grave. He is the resurrection.

If you believe this, then communion was given for you. You should partake in a solemn and worthy manner, knowing that what you are touching is beyond your comprehension. But know also that Christ gave this to you. No matter how humble or great you are, he prepared this meal for those who believe. We celebrate not your greatness or your humility, but His greatness displayed in humility.

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