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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Rope

Originally scheduled for June 27

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

(Hebrews 4:16 NASB)

 

Bismarck rescueIn the verse above, please note the word which is highlighted in color. It’s translated “help” in most versions of the Bible. It’s a more interesting word in the Greek than it is in English. The Greek word is boetheia, which is more correctly translated into English as the phrase, “frapping rope.” This, of course, would puzzle most readers in English. What kind of rope is that? It’s a technical term used by sailors to describe the rope which is not part of the standing rigging of the ship. It’s a rope that’s just lying around loose. Such ropes have a number of purposes; in the original Greek usage these ropes were used to bind the ship’ s planks together during a storm.

A rope can be a really useful thing. The picture here is that of German sailors being rescued by the English sailors aboard the HMS Dorsetshire in 1941. The sailors were on board the German battleship Bismarck when she was sunk by the British. Notice that there are several ropes over the side that the German sailors can hang on until rescued.

So, if you’re going to be rescued from the angry wave, you’re going to need three things:

·         Your rescuer is going to need a ship to stand on. There is no sense in grabbing the rope when there’s another drowning man at the other end. As Christians we know this; no amount of effort by mankind is able to produce our salvation. The other end of our rope of salvation is in the hands of God the Father.

·         Obviously, you also need a rope. You need something that connects you with salvation. That’s something for the Christian is the atonement Christ wrought on the Cross.

·         You also need a sailor willing to throw the rope. For the Christian, that is none other than Jesus Christ himself, the bridge between humanity and God.

 

It is likely enough that if you were rescued from drowning that way you would remember the occasion. You might even have an annual celebration of the time you were rescued. The Christian has such a celebration of the time he was rescued from sin and death. It’s called communion. We remember and honor our salvation by Christ with the bread which symbolizes his body, beaten and bruised for us. We remember and honor our salvation by Christ with the cup, which symbolizes his blood, shed for all mankind. Do this remembering what Christ has done for you — and the price he paid.

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