Originally scheduled for October 16
The whole is often more than the sum of its parts — but you can
tell a lot about the purpose of an object by looking at its
components. Take, for example, the ordinary chair. By looking at
what it’s made of you can get an idea of its purpose.
If it’s made of wood, wool padding and a tough cloth exterior, it’s
probably a chair designed for you to relax in, like a recliner.
If it’s made of wood and finished with a highly resistant lacquer or
varnish of some type, it might just be a dining room table —
designed to be resistant to the spills that come with dinner.
If it’s made of aluminum and plastic, it just might be a shower
chair. They’re designed to get wet on a regular basis, hence the
Just by knowing the materials of which they are made
you can tell something of the purpose for which they were designed.
We can look at communion the same way. Its ingredients are
simple, but tell us a lot. For example, the liquid used is specified
to be wine (grape juice is often used as a substitute.) It is one of
the most commonly available drinking liquids on the planet, probably
second only to water. You can grow the grapes almost anywhere —
including Greenland! It’s major qualification seems to be that it’s
wet it it has a particular color that resembles blood; well, it’s
dark like blood. Likewise, bread is also an almost universal
substance. In this instance it is unleavened bread which is probably
the easiest kind to make. You don’t need yeast.
So what could we
conclude from these facts? The fact that the ingredients of
communion are so easy to obtain might lead us to conclude that
Christ intended it for everyone. But we can deduce other things too
by looking at the symbolism.
As for wine, not only is it a good symbol for blood, but it has two
other properties which are intrinsically part of communion. First it
is an antiseptic; in primitive medicine it was used to clean out
wounds and promote healing. It also is an anesthetic; it dulls pain.
As for bread, we have to go back to the Old Testament to read its
symbolism. Leaven, commonly known as yeast, disassembling the Old
Testament for sin. Taking in such bread is taking in something which
is sinless. This may not seem to apply until you remember Christ
introduced the meal with the phrase, “this is my body.”
it is the ingredients of communion are ideally suited to display the
atonement of Christ.
The ingredients are nearly universal, signifying our Lord’s desire
that all should be saved.
The bread symbolizes his broken body, and our sinless food.
The wine symbolizes his blood, which cleanses us from all sin. This
is made available to us in communion by way of self-examination.
As you partake this morning, consider the simplicity with which our
Lord has constructed this memorial meal. It is a reminder of what he
has done for us dying to become our atonement. It is not hard to
understand; it takes no great learning. But to be effective it takes
a sincere heart. Therefore, prepare yourself for his meal by
examining yourself and purifying your heart.