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Communion Meditations (2024)

 

Leper

Originally scheduled for February 18

It is a very short incident in the New Testament. Luke devotes only three verses to it:


While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately the leprosy left him. And he charged him to tell no one, but "go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them."
(Luke 5:12-14 ESV)

 
It is interesting what Jesus did not tell the man to do. There is no sense here of giving all you have to the poor. Nor does Jesus send him out as a missionary to preach the Good News to a different area. He does not even invite him to follow him on his journey to the Crucifixion. In a very real sense he is like the typical Christian today; not called the great things or public service, only called to the ordinary Christian life.
 
What does Jesus tell him to do? First, he tells him to shut up! He does tell him, however, to perform the ritual required by the Law of Moses to certify the fact that he has been cleansed of leprosy. This ritual will of course be performed at the temple in plain public sight. It requires no speaking ability of the man, nor any sense of standing in front of an audience. It is a silent testimony to what Jesus has done.
Interestingly, the phrase which is translated “to them” at the end of the 14th verse does not necessarily refer to the priests. The Greek actually implies people in general are the target audience. In other words, performing this ritual tells anyone who will listen what Jesus has done.
 
Perhaps you never thought that a ritual could communicate something of deep importance to someone else. Communion is just such a ritual. It brings three messages to the world:
·        First, it tells the world of the sacrificial love of Christ, who went to the cross for mankind.
·        Second, it tells of the atonement —his sacrifice on the cross which paid for the sins of the entire world.
·        Third, it tells anyone who will look and listen that Christ has paid for my forgiveness; I personally gained salvation because of what Christ did on the cross.
Note, please, that this is a regular ritual; we do it on a scheduled basis. It is an ordinary part of Christian worship, something that can be seen “all the time.” We should encourage those who are looking into Christianity to ask what this means.
Communion, with its cup representing the blood of Christ and its bread representing his body, is a great starting point for personal testimony. It’s also an outstanding way to begin a formal defense of the faith.
You do it because he commanded it. He commanded it because he wants you to remember. He wants you to remember because it is so, so important-a matter of eternal life and death. It is also your testimony without words.

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