Originally scheduled for August 6
Communion brings forth out of the human being
some of the deepest emotions available. It calls up our sins to
remind us; it calls up our Savior to remind us of his forgiveness.
In this discussion there is a simple question: why is communion
about the death of Christ, not the resurrection of Christ? The two,
of course, are deeply connected. It is clear, however, that
communion concerns itself with the death of Christ and has
practically no impact with regard to the resurrection of Christ. Why
did God arrange this that way? We might take a look at two parallels
to find an answer.
First, look at Passover. Of all the
events of the Exodus that might have caused the celebration, God
picks out the one which involves the death of the firstborn and
tells the Israelites to remember this. It is the tenth and last
plague, but more than that is the phrase “death of the firstborn.”
God holds the firstborn of every flock and family to be his. To him,
the most significant event would be the death of the firstborn,
those who should be dedicated to him.
Next, look at the American holidays
of Veterans Day and Memorial Day. On Veterans Day we congratulate
the veteran (even those of us who served sitting at a desk) but on
Memorial Day we take a much more solemn approach. Veterans Day rates
a parade; Memorial day is celebrated in a cemetery. Celebrating
victory is a different thing than celebrating sacrifice.
Communion is not about the resurrection. You
might ask why God didn’t involve both events. One reason is the
effect of the resurrection on evangelism. In the parable of Lazarus
and the rich man, Abraham tells the rich man that even if someone
came back from the dead his brothers would not believe. Those to
whom we speak may not believe the resurrection at first, but the
crucifixion is altogether much more believable. Why? It’s because we
have no experience with resurrection. We will experience it someday,
those of us who love the Lord, but right now we don’t have any
firsthand experience with it. Death, on the other hand, is something
most of us know about personally. It touches us much more directly.
Indeed, there is a divine reason as well.
Resurrection belongs to the Son of God — death to the Son of Man.
Communion is about the death of Christ because
it portrays to us the price he paid for our salvation. In the pain
he suffered in the death he endured he purchased our pardon.
Even if an inquirer could not believe
in the resurrection, he could see the “no greater love” in the death
of Christ. If God the Son would do that, why is it so hard to
believe that God the Father would raise him from the dead?
It also reminds us that we will join
him in death someday, unless he comes again before then. And if we
join him in death, we will join him in his resurrection.
The victory party will start when he returns.
In the meanwhile let us honor his sacrifice which bought our freedom