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Communion Meditations (2019)

 

Murder

Originally scheduled for September 8

Most of us never actually get close to a murder. But your author has had that experience recently. We live a block away from a large college campus. Two days ago we found out through the press that one of the people working at the campus had been murdered in the parking lot closest to our house. We didn’t know the man personally; he was an employee of the school working temporarily to register international students. He was stabbed to death at a good school in a nice neighborhood. It is exactly the kind of thing one does not expect in such a place. Apparently the motive was personal between murderer and the victim, so it could have happened anywhere. You begin to think of reasons for such a murder. You also give way to grief, fear and a goodly amount of outrage that it happened in your community.

Now, if this is our reaction to a murder of a rather mundane kind, can you imagine what our reaction should be to the murder of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was a man of peace and justice; just the kind of man whose murder should outrage you. You see the trials that he went through — swift, rigged and conducted entirely in the middle of the night. This wasn’t done by a lynch mob, but the duly constituted authorities in Jerusalem.

And what was the reaction of his disciples? First, there was fear — there was nothing to prevent those same authorities from coming after them, so they ran and hid. They obviously grieved for the loss of their friend, their teacher and Lord. Someone who had been the greatest influence in your life, after three years on the road teaching and healing is now suddenly taken from you. I suspect the dominant feeling among the apostles was one of despair. Despair comes from having no hope, and they had no hope that the execution of Jesus was going to turn out the way it did.

I bring this to your attention because communion is primarily designed to remind you of the death of Jesus Christ. It is to bring to your mind the price he paid for your salvation — his own death. It is interesting to note that Jesus never prayed for the resurrection. He knew that was God’s will and it would be done. He prayed that he wouldn’t have to go through the experience. We are to remember that. His sacrifice is often referred to as the Passion of Christ. Can you feel within you the passion that the disciples must’ve felt in contemplating the execution of Christ? Examine yourself. Think what Jesus did on the cross for you — the forgiveness of your sins, your entrance into the family of God and eternal life to come. We often forget this during communion, but we should not. As you partake today, remember his sacrifice not just as a footnote in history, but the central event in Western civilization — and the central event in your life.

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