My attitude toward communion has gone through several phases over the years. I suppose we all start out clueless, grasping the cup and wafer as part of an empty ritual.
It was Gene Scott who connected dots for me between Isaiah 53 and 1st Corinthians 11. “With his stripes we are healed” describes what happened at the Cross. That healing is now a done deal (past tense!) as Peter confidently says in 1 Peter 2:24 “...you have been healed.” It’s in the script.
So now when I take the bread, I can claim the promise of healing.
Gene felt so strongly about this teaching, he offered communion no less than four times a day on his satellite network.
Armed with fresh insight, I take another look at Paul’s 1st Corinthians 11 teaching in the light of the Cross.
Jesus chose the breaking of bread to represent his dying on the Cross. Is there anything more common, routine and necessary than eating? We’re to remember the Cross as often as we eat. This drill could become automatic at every cross-road we encounter:
A.Jesus died for that particular sin that hangs in the balance in the valley of decision
B. I was united with Jesus on the Cross for that particular sin
C. Therefore I died to that sin looming in front of me
D.Jesus overcame that sin through death, burial and resurrection and through entanglement.
E. I overcame that sin through death, burial and resurrection, clinging to Jesus all the while
The multi-step A=B=C=D=E process doesn’t lend itself to an easy formula. So lazy brains that we are, we will try to dumb it down. If we’re not carefull, we’ll soon have another ritual on our hands.
Note that we risk our health and our very life if we trivialize the Cross. Paul warns, “that is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.” The key is properly “discerning the body.” We need to know what really happened to Jesus on the Cross.
Gene Scott stressed this discernment process Paul speaks of in verse 27. “Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner...” That doesn’t mean we should fret about whether we’ve sinned or whether we’re good enough to partake. No, it means contemplating and pondering Steps A through E, concluding that Jesus has done it all for us. It’s his righteousness that clothes us, not our own “good works” we pass off as righteous.
The same holds for the cup which represents the shed blood of Jesus.
So we’re to remember daily. Many times a day we’re to “proclaim the Lord’s death.”
It’s at the Cross we get the grace, we get the power to choose a godly over a fleshly path. Peter nails this point in 1st Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
The first time I unveiled this concept, I was on a Christian-centered internet dating site. One woman’s profile had caught my eye because she was a musician, artsy and local. But her profile didn’t mention God. So I sent her an email explaining what my vision of heaven was like, pretty much the story you’re about to read. Within 24 hours she had disappeared. Terminated her membership. Gone!
Anyway, for the past year I’d been thinking about the Cross and what might have happened there. One day I read Del Washburn’s take on Revelation 13:8, speaking of “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” His ideas lit a fire in my head. “What?” I thought, “Jesus was crucified in the beginning?”
Are you ready?
Scene 1: Heaven. Time hasn’t begun yet.
Every soul that will ever exist is sitting around, doing what souls do, praising God. They look like “orbs” of light. No flesh and bone yet.
Satan, God’s right-hand man, has been given the task of transcribing in minute detail God’s plan for each soul’s earth life. In other words, our “book of life” is being assembled letter by letter, line by line, moment by moment from start to finish.
It’s Satan’s job to lay out options at each “cross road” in our upcoming “free willed” life. One fork is God’s fast track where we do His will, the right thing. The other choice is to sin and follow our flesh.
Of course we don’t know what sin is yet. But it sounds like fun as Satan describes it to us. It has a certain appeal.
So Satan dutifully writes down our choices. At 4:05:23 on January 23, 2019 we will choose to sin by doing _____. At 4:08:20 on the same day we will choose to sin by saying ______. And so on and on and on.
After what is truly an eternity our book of life has been constructed. Before Satan leaves to go to the next soul-orb, he says “God wants me to tell you that all those sins you chose to do...there are terrible consequences. Come over here and see.”
Instantly we’re in the middle of heaven where the Cross is. Jesus, part of God, is hanging there. As Satan reads off each sin, we see Jesus writhe in indescribable agony. We see him die by separating from his Father. In fact, we are no longer spectators as we die with him. We accompany Jesus as he descends into Hades. We follow in his train as he then ascends back to heaven.
For each and every of our millions of sins we watch, we die, we descend, we ascend. Incredibly, we are entangled with Jesus face to face on the Cross. There is no separation. He dies, we die. He was ultimately victorious over that sin, we were virtually victorious over that sin.
After more eternity, our time line with its “cross road” moments of either overcoming or succumbing are written.
Satan asks us, “Now that you’ve seen the consequences of sin #_____, are you sure you want to keep that sin #_____ in your book?” We say, “Yes, I’m sure.”
So it was for each and every sin.
After processing 18 billion orbs, Satan becomes so familiar, so casual with sin and Jesus’ reaction that he decides to explore some loopholes. Simultaneously Earth materialized and Satan’s darkness was drawn to it, along with his rebellious followers. A whole new battlefield has been established.
Later on in eternity all of us orbs were looking down upon the earth God had created. Someone said, “There’s the Garden of Eden.” Some other orb cried out, “There’s God’s created humans, Adam and Eve.” A hush, odd for heaven, came over all of us orbs as one said, “There is Satan!”
His temptation led to the Fall.
God pronounced the Curse.
At that instant our orb memory was wiped out. We couldn’t remember heaven...or the Cross...or choosing all of our sins. The next thing we knew, we were being born in flesh and blood bodies.
Our timeline was now unfolding rapidly, “choosing” to sin at “cross road” #1, #2...#45,009...#1,056,745. At a pre-ordained age and time we, you “chose” to follow Jesus. Now we have the power to overcome at those “cross road” junctions.
Now can you understand why the internet lady fled from me?
What’s fascinating about this scenario is its simple explanation for what we call “free will” here on earth.
It also explains how we could be crucified (past tense!) with Christ as the first 8 verses of Romans 6 says. Just so we’ll get it, God creates the Cross experience three times. First, in heaven, before the Fall. Next, during the darkness at the Cross in 32 AD. Finally, on a presumably daily basis here and now.
This gives some insight into the occupational hazards of Satan’s profession. It unfortunately planted a seed which led to his being kicked out.
Here are scriptures to connect some of these dots:
Perhaps Jesus was presented as Savior to everyone–all orb souls–in heaven before time began as 1 Timothy 4:10 and Hebrews 7:27 suggests. But not all orb souls perceive him as Lord during the darkness of the Cross in 32 AD as Hebrews 9:28 says.