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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

More Blessed

Originally scheduled for October 7

This verse contains one of the historical oddities of the New Testament. Most of us have heard the saying, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is the only place in the New Testament where that statement is found; the Gospels do not record it. Evidently Paul obtained it from some source, probably one of the other apostles. Luke thought it sufficiently important that it was written down here in the Book of Acts. The phrase is so striking that sometimes we miss the point of what Paul is saying here. The key to this message is the phrase, “I have shown you…” We learn best by example; and Paul is pointing out his example to these Christians. He reminds them of the example that he has set before them which illustrates the saying of Christ given here.

He gives us three examples here that would have been obvious to his listeners.

·         The first is that he had worked hard to support himself and indeed those who had come with him as missionaries. In short, he was not a burden on anyone there but provided for the entire mission through the work of his own hands. Paul was a tent maker, and this gave us the phrase “tent maker missionary.”

·         This, however, was not sufficient. He tells us also that we must be about the Christians business of helping the weak. It is a constant of the church that the poor are always with us; so are those with physical infirmities and those suffering from various diseases. His care for the church included helping these people.

·         In all this, he asks them to remember the words of Jesus. The guide to the Christian life is the imitation of Christ. To understand how to do that, we must read and meditate upon the Scriptures which tell us of what Christ did and why.

Indeed, we may look at Jesus in the same light. He did not come to us as a conquering king. He came to us as a poor child born in a manger. In his adult ministry he was an itinerant preacher, living in poverty. When you consider that this is the very Son of God, and that he chose this way to live on earth, you can see that he was telling us by example how much pomp, ceremony and wealth really don’t matter. We know also that he was constantly concerned for the weak, the outcast — the “nobodies” of his time. Good people would not associate with tax collectors and prostitutes; Jesus partied with them.

At his command we remember his supreme example. Jesus, the Messiah, came with the purpose of dying on the cross so that we might have salvation. It is his body, it is his blood that are presented to us in communion. We “do this in remembrance” of him. This is the supreme example of caring for the weak, for not one of us can produce his own salvation. By his sacrifice he opened the doors of heaven to all who would come. Consider, then, the example of Christ set for you as you partake.

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