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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Criminal

Originally scheduled for June 6

My wife and I do prison ministry[1]. It is interesting to see the reaction of other Christians when they find this out. A few people see it as heroic, but most of them react like we’ve gotten our white gloves very dirty. For most Christians, there are three rules for handling criminals.

·         Do not touch. You don’t want to get involved with the criminal, so you leave them strictly alone in the hands of armed officers.

·         Dispose of properly. They should be put away someplace where they are out of sight, out of mind and no trouble at all.

·         No punishment is too severe. Often our sense of justice is twisted to match our desire for vengeance.

As a result, inmates very often find themselves abandoned even by their own families. It is a very miserable thing to be a prisoner in an American prison.

 

Consider, then, the suffering that Christ went through. Our system of punishment is relatively mild compared to that of the conquering Romans. If you will go back to Isaiah, chapter 53, you will see some of the pain and suffering our Lord went through for our sake.

·         He was “despised and forsaken.” (Verse 3.) Most of his disciples had indeed forsaken him. Isaiah describes the reaction as being one of hiding your face from the man, like you can’t even stand to look at him.

·         People thought that he was “smitten by God.” How often are you told someone deserved what he got because he’s a secret sinner? That’s the reaction they had to Jesus.

·         Look at verse five; see the verbs that are used to describe his affliction. You have “pierced”, “crushed”, “scourged”. This describes the beatings of the Romans and the spear in his side as he was being crucified.

It was a brutal death; a messy death full of human vengeance. Why did it happen? It was necessary for him to die to be our atoning sacrifice. In short, He did it for us.

 

Communion is done in remembrance of his death (1st Corinthians 11:24-25). It is a curious contrast; Christ’s death was very messy and ugly — and communion is rather neat and tidy. A symbolic representation of things usually is quite a bit tidier than the reality. Perhaps this eases our task of preparing and taking communion.

As you partake, remember that the cup represents his blood spattered all over the ground. The bread represents his body, beaten and shattered brutally. He died so that you might live eternally. Remember this as you partake.


 

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