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.”