After recognizing our wonderful Rock heroes on this Memorial Day weekend, Pastor Mickey filled in for Miles to give an insightful message about the meaning of communion.
As Christians, we take communion, but sometimes we lose its full meaning. (Don't feel alone in this; the Jews did the same thing with Passover in 2 Kings).
Pastor Mickey introduced today's message with a story about a babysitter who had been on the phone while the 3-year-old was asleep. Without her knowing, the child had woken up and wandered back to the pool. The babysitter was still on the phone when the neighbor's dog came to the front door, barking and scratching. When she opened the door, this wet dog rushed through the house to the pool. The sitter realized something was wrong and discovered with horror that the child was not asleep in his bed. She followed the dog and found the child next to the pool. In a panic, she called 911. The firefighters came quickly and were able to revive the child.
Afterward, they determined that when the child had fallen into the pool, the dog jumped over the fence, pulled him out (as evidenced by the front of his shirt), and then went to the front door to alert the sitter. Sometimes even stories of crisis can have happy endings.
The communion story is one of these. At first, it is wrought with unexpected turmoil and dismay; it seems that a happy ending is impossible.
When the disciples are having the Last Supper with Jesus, they don't know that it's the Last Supper. In Luke 22:8, Jesus tell Peter and John to prepare a place for the meal. He also tells them to find a man carrying a pitcher of water (v. 10). They do these things and get everything ready for the meal-all except one thing. In these days, a person would be posted to would wash the feet of the guests coming in to eat. (This was necessary after walking about all day on dirt roads wearing only sandals!) Upon realizing this at the time of the meal (or having planned it this way Himself), Jesus Himself, the Son of God, washes the feet of His disciples in an amazing and humble demonstration of His service and love for them. He sets an example of how we are to treat each other.
In verses 18 and 19, Jesus declares this to be the last time He will drink and eat 'until the kingdom of God comes.' As He breaks the bread and shares the wine, He reminds us what the Passover, and now the communion, is all about.
The communion is a humbling celebration, reminding us that Jesus' sacrifice freed us from the bondage of slavery and death.
The disciples probably feel some confusion and anxiety at hearing that they will soon be separated from their Master. Shock, disappointment, and fear will undoubtedly follow as they watch Him be accused, suffer and die. But the story doesn't end there. There is purpose in this painful process, and the ultimate happy ending: Jesus died for our sins so that we may gain access to heaven for all eternity!
There is no other way for this to happen. Jesus had to pay the price for our sin with His own life. But the reward is sweet! The communion is a humbling celebration, reminding us that Jesus' sacrifice freed us from the bondage of slavery and death. The next time you take communion in honor of Jesus and broken body and shed blood, don't forget to celebrate the happy ending and take joy in the gift!