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Close to Jesus


beautiful wooden table with ornate plate and amber goblet adorned with greenery.

It’s March and we are well into the year. For those of you who are studying, you will be steeped in a wonderful, whole new experience. Growing in understanding and in a closer relationship with the Lord.  How rewarding and exciting! These past two months we have been setting a table, describing and discussing the elements for the most important meal of our lives. Of course, you guessed and saw us moving towards Communion…the Lord’s Supper. The Eucharist or Breaking Bread as it may be called and perhaps like me, it has taken you time to begin to understand the depth of meaning behind our Lord’s gesture at His last supper. The act of taking the bread and lifting the cup.


Every Christian fellowship celebrates this “ordinance” in some way. Ordinance is the term I was taught when referring to Communion. Each would use some form of bread - leavened, unleavened or even a wafer - and wine, be it spirit or grape juice. Sometimes it was passed around the congregation, other times you went up to receive it. And the same Scriptures were read to remind us of Jesus’s words. Those common scriptures being found in Mathew, Mark, Luke, John and Corinthians. For years I partook of this Ordinance and I loved it. It was precious, it was reverent and it always gave me a sense of real togetherness. But in its way, it had become a ritual i.e. a “series of actions performed according to a prescribed order.” And of course, doing the same thing over and over according to custom, even if done in all humility and reverence, loses some of its meaning. Think of Jesus’s words when speaking to the Pharisees. He warned them that they were effectively nullifying the word of God by their traditions which they had handed down. (Mark 7.13) Removing all power and making it as nothing.


It was when a friend of mine shared with me how she took communion on her own… with God, that I began to explore and dig deeper and experience the wonder and the power of this “ordinance.” What had once been theology, head knowledge, suddenly with revelation became the life and purpose behind this act and opened the door to a deeper and more intimate, more wonderful relationship with God, my Father. I began to ponder and appreciate what was meant by this "Love Feast." Jude refers to the Lord’s supper as a Love Feast. (Jude 12.) John describes himself as leaning back against Jesus as they were reclining at the table enjoying this last meal. How close to Jesus that is! Resting your head against his chest while whispering in his ear. (John 13:25) This emphasizes fellowship, oneness and closeness to a friend. Not ritual or something to be done in an unholy atmosphere. A time of coming close to Jesus, while knowing the presence of the Holy Spirit. Very personal.  So often in a service the emphasis is on repentance and forgiveness. Yes - that is important but only part of the whole. There is so much more. Alone at home, with a friend or small group there is a greater opportunity to experience this as a time of meeting with the Lord and remembering all that He has done. Celebrating His life, His death, His Resurrection and His ascension through which He has redeemed and restored mankind. Recognizing that, He is the Ark that bore us out of the flood of worldliness and satan’s demonic hold and has set us safely on solid ground where we are transformed into a new creation living in the freedom afforded by the life and death of Jesus.

 

Taking communion on your own is a very special time and I encourage you to try it. It's a time that you are one with God, with Christ as you partake of His body. He took the bread and broke it, saying this is My body. Alone, you have time to savor the moment, listen to your thoughts, your questions and to hear the Lord as He ministers to you. To be in His presence and fully engage with Him. As you take the cup you are so aware that this represents His blood which was shed for us. You can find many books written on the power of this blood. In the 1980's and 1990's, there were great teachings covered the significance of the Blood Covenant that were given in great detail. There was great emphasis placed on the Blood that spoke of a New Covenant, of better things: mercy, forgiveness, justification, protection, healing, sanctification and redemption to mention just some of its benefits. Christ was the perfect sacrifice, the unblemished lamb spoken of so much in the OT. His blood was untainted as it had never mixed with human blood. He was conceived of the Holy Ghost and as such His blood would be pure. Fetal blood does not mix with maternal blood unless there is an accidental bleed. His blood was pure and we must remember that “the life of a creature is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11)


We may not fully understand this but we know that if blood is drained from a person’s body they will die, they cannot survive without blood. And God made it very clear as He commanded man to respect the sanctity of life. Man was never to take another man’s life or shed his blood. He was also taught not to eat meat that had not been drained of blood. In the Old Testament, the Scriptures again and again underline the power of the blood. At the time when the Lord saved the Israelites out of Egypt, blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and protected them as the angel of death swept through killing the first born son of every family who were not covered by the blood. It is the blood of Jesus Christ that filled the cup and speaks of the New Covenant made with us who believe, a covenant that saves, redeems, transforms, restores and protects us from the death and destruction of satan. The Cup of the New Covenant, a covenant that offers us life in its fullness  and a promise undergirded by the Prophet Isaiah.


Isaiah 43.13

Even from eternity I am He – and there is no one who can rescue from my hand – I act, and who can reverse it.


God is faithful to His Word, He is all powerful and only He can deliver on His promises. There is no other who can give what has been promised us through our Lord Jesus Christ and there is no one who can stop what has been promised from being fulfilled. It is why the Cup that speaks of the blood of Jesus is so vital to me, to you and to all who believe. When we are in His presence and drink that cup, we are surrendering and submitting to God. We are putting our full, unconditional trust in Him. Symbolically we are partaking of His very life and recognizing our own life is made one with Him. Life is in the blood and Jesus by shedding His blood has given us life.


My head cannot grasp it all but as I read the Scriptures, with the Holy Spirit, I gain revelation that gives me understanding. We can read books, commentaries and study theology…all good, but the very best is to read the Word and allow the Holy Spirit to come alongside and teach us. He fills us with the new wine and magnifies Jesus Who reveals our heavenly Father. Communion with our God signifies what He has done and promised. As we proclaim His death and resurrection, I know His presence and also anticipate his soon return.


Let's Pray:

Holy Father, Your Word, the Holy Scriptures in their entirety give us truth. They hold the key to our growth in knowledge and understanding of You, as Your Holy Spirit explains and teaches us. You promise us eternal life with You and while on earth, we live and have our being in You. We cannot thank You enough. Every time we take bread and wine and celebrate the Eucharist, we are partaking of Your Love Feast; where we may meet with You and remember Your kindness and mercy towards us. You call us Your daughters and Your friends and it is Your desire to grow us, to mature us and transform us from one degree of glory to the next. Thank You that we may fellowship with You and draw near to You, knowing that You draw near to us. Father, will You bless each reader as they read this message and give them an ever-increasing hunger for more of You. Stir their spirit to yearn for more of You, never satisfied but always knowing there is more to be had. More to be enjoyed. Pour out Your Holy Spirit from above, soak and saturate Your daughters as You fashion and mould them.

I ask all this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.


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1 Comment


Tracilee
Tracilee
Mar 25

When I first heard of people taking communion with only themselves and the Lord, I was uneasy. Had to leave the religious spirit behind. I absolutely love taking communion alone now and cherish it..

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