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Communion Meditations (2021)

 

Slow of Heart

Luke 24:25-26

 

Originally scheduled for May 2

It’s a question nobody wants to ask: “why was it necessary that Christ suffered on the cross?” We acknowledge that he did suffer, died and rose again. But the question of “why” is when we are more reluctant to tackle. It sounds too, well, “theological.”

We can gain some help in answering the question from a look at the Greek in this passage. The word translated here as “necessary” can also be translated in other ways.

·         It can be seen as something which is essentially fitting. It puts the pieces of the puzzle together; without it you have a string of facts and no solution.

·         It can also be seen as something divinely necessary. It is God’s order of things to happen that includes suffering, and his plan is not perfect without it.

The argument made here starts with one of the major reasons for the suffering: it is prophesied in the Old Testament. All the prophets testify to it; it is therefore divinely necessary to happen. We see within it the reason for the cross: the Atonement. The entire Old Testament shows over and over again that if sin is to be dealt with, there must be sacrifice. That sacrifice has to be unblemished; we have to sacrifice the best, not the worst.

Sin must be judged; the law must be honored. The suffering of Christ was necessary to manifest God’s justice. It is essentially fitting for that reason. But there is one more reason that we may find. It is essentially fitting that the one who suffered for us is now entitled to be lord over us. The suffering of Christ on the cross fitted him out to be our sovereign Lord over the church.

 

That is pretty deep theology for a short communion meditation. What might be more important to us today is what our reaction should be. Christ tells these men that their reaction is wrong for two reasons:

·         They are foolish. They are taking the most serious situation in human history and treating it as if it were local gossip and story. They take the sacrifice too lightly.

·         They are “slow of heart.” They may have been quick to receive the blessing of Christ in his teaching and his miracles, but they are slow to commit to believing what the prophets told them. There’s a difference between a girlfriend and a wife — commitment.

But, as always, Christ stays with them to ensure their salvation. But please notice the moment at which they recognize him for who he is. It is when he breaks bread and gives it to them.

 

Communion is the physical reminder of the suffering of Christ on the cross. We see in the bread his broken body; in the cup we see his shed blood. The signs of our collective memory are in our hands. They are meant to awaken our understanding. In these symbols we are to see, once again, the suffering that Christ endured so that we might have redemption. Think again on these things, and then partake in a worthy manner.

 

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