Originally scheduled for March 15
In a phrase cherished by Americans, governments
derive their “just powers” from the “consent of the governed.” In
longer words, we give our government authority to perform various
functions which are beneficial to us. There is a subtle connection
here, in that the more beneficial we see that arm of government to
be, the more likely we are to be in submission to its authority. For
example, most of us would have no hesitation in arguing with the tax
people about their misinterpretation of our tax returns. But that
same “most of us” would unhesitatingly and immediately pull over to
the side of the road to let a fire truck with sirens and lights
blazing go by. Our various governments perform many different
functions, but we generally respond by respecting the ones who
deliver most. Assuming some reasonable amount of efficiency, we
respect and acknowledge the authority of a government in proportion
to the effort they put forward and benefit they bring to us.
The same type of test can be applied to the
authority of Christ. We can at least examine the effort and cost of
Christ’s coming, and the benefits it has brought us.
Consider first the price of the
Incarnation. The one who considered himself equal with God, for all
of eternity, became a human being. CS Lewis used the analogy that
this is like one of us becoming a barnacle to save the barnacles.
For this we have been given direct
access to God — your prayers are heard — and the forgiveness of sins
leading to salvation. This is not the limit of what God has given
us, but it far outweighs anything any government will ever do for
All of this was done at the expense
of the Cross. It is the greatest sacrifice a human being can make,
particularly a human being who didn’t deserve it.
The result of this is, as Matthew tells us,
that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ.
He then commissions us to take the gospel to the world. But he also
gave us communion — so that we might remember this price paid. I
would have you look at communion this morning in a different light:
it is a sign that you are indeed a practicing Christian, and
therefore accept Christ as the supreme authority in your life.
Just how does a Christian symbolizes acceptance
of Christ? Look around you. You will see some wearing a pendant in
the shape of a cross. Others are wearing a pin shaped like a cross.
Most of us carry a Bible. Some of us have a Christian bumper sticker
on our car. But the one thing Jesus gave us that declares we are His
is communion. In communion we acknowledge the sacrifice of his body,
symbolized by the bread. In communion we acknowledge the sacrifice
of his blood, symbolized by the cup. The apostle Thomas put it into
words: “my Lord and my God.” That’s what were saying when we take
communion: “my Lord and my God.”