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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

The Real Jesus

Originally scheduled for June 10

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

(Revelation 1:12-18 NASB)

 

Jesus, it seems, is really a nice guy. We proclaim and teach the gentle Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and lightly glance past such scenes as his cleansing of the Temple. To do this, I submit, misses an essential part of who Jesus really is.

The scene here gives us an idea of what we’re missing. The scene is obviously one of power, as we can tell by the fact that John falls at his feet as a man who is dead. We can also see several other attributes of this Jesus:

·         He is the first and last, therefore the eternal one. He is self existent; meaning he depends upon no one or no thing for his existence. You and I borrow the concept of existence from the one who has it intrinsically.

·         He is the living one. He is the source of all life itself. He was crucified and he died, was laid in the tomb — and walked out of it three days later. He is the conqueror of death. That resurrection brought about the forgiveness of our sins, if we will accept his atonement.

·         He told us to fear not the one who could kill the body, but the one who could kill the body and then send the soul to hell. He is the one who holds the keys of death and hell.

You might think for someone so powerful it would be sufficient for him to send us a memo telling us what we should be doing. But it seems that power is so much his style that his glory comes through every time that he tries to do that — remember Moses on the mountain? So what did he do to bring the word to us?

·         He went through the ultimate condescension of becoming an incarnate man. CS Lewis once compared it to one of us becoming a barnacle, so we could save the other barnacles. He didn’t just show up as a man; he went through the birth process that we go through emerging as a baby, growing up to be a man.

·         In his ministry he ate with sinners. Think about that. He did not come as some pious guru, learnedly associating with only the religious experts of the day. He ate and drank with sinners — and frankly was the life of the party. The religious experts felt he was getting his hands dirty. But he was the Light of the World — and how do you make light dirty?

·         He became the ultimate in sacrificial atonement. He died that we might have forgiveness and therefore a path to God the Father.

This, then is the man Jesus. In communion we meet him, for in communion we partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. How does that work? That’s one of those great mysteries about which even the learned and intelligent disagree. We obtain eternal life from the ever-living One. There is one certain step that we must take in communion: we must examine ourselves. In self-examination we have the cleansing of the soul — by the power of the one who holds the keys to Death and Hell. Therefore, as you partake this morning bring your sins to him for cleansing. Then leave as one who has been forgiven.

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