Originally scheduled for August 7
Satan often presents to the Christian a glowing opportunity to
pass judgment upon other people. Despite our Lord’s warnings against
doing so, we often feel it’s our duty to make such decisions.
Suppose, for a moment, that you were tasked with deciding who should
be allowed to have communion and who should not.
What about the guy who spends his days at the end of the freeway off
ramp with a cardboard sign reading “please help.” Is he really
homeless and destitute? How would you find out? What would you do
Then there’s the matter of personal sex life. Would you forbid
someone who had had an abortion? How about someone who had worked
many years as a prostitute? Or someone that you know is a registered
For that matter, what about the Christian who was just released from
a long prison sentence — you pick the crime? Do ex-convicts make it,
or is there something they have to do before they can get into
While you ponder all those questions, it is
instructive to look at the example the Jesus himself set when
instituting the Lord’s Supper. You have to do a little extra reading
to find it. (John 13:5-11) Just before setting forth supper, he
washed the disciples’ feet. It is of course an example of his
servant leadership, but there are also two other lessons in it.
He washed Peter’s feet, even though he knew that Peter would disown
him later that night. He even went so far as to override Peter’s
objections to the process.
He also washed Judas’ feet — knowing that Judas would betray him to
his death later on that evening.
He washed all the disciples’ feet. It seems that our Lord felt the
problem of determining which of his apostles were “worthy” did not
apply. This certainly simplifies the problem.
There is great
reward for the church in allowing any sort of sinner to come to
The sinner approaches communion remembering Christ and his
sacrifice. He understands the implications this has for his
judgment; that he is either forgiven or condemned. Self-examination
often brings about repentance. Of course, the sinner may excuse
himself with whatever justification he can. But at least he has the
chance to repent.
If self-examination produces repentance, it
will eventually also produce thanksgiving to God for the grace that
he is provided. A thankful heart is a great blessing for any sinner.
So as you partake this morning, remember the sacrifice made,
shown in the body and the blood of Christ. Examine yourself; see if
there is need of repentance. And then at the least give thanks to
God for his amazing grace to you.