Thursday, August 1, 2013

Come to the Table

  So, last night Claude and I got the front half of the roof done.  There's not much left to do, Friday night we'll finish it all off and be done then this weekend I'll probably get the rest of my junk packed and the basement looking a hell of alot tidier than it has been in years.

   Thank god it's a long weekend, I'm looking forward to it.  We'll be putting the house on the market on Tuesday and we'll see how long it takes to sell.  Lots of changes and excitement in our lives these days.  It's exhausting though, but in a good way.  We sleep deeply lately, the kind of sleep you get from putting in a good day of work.

Come to the Table

  I did some googling and found that most churches reference the same group of verses regarding communion.  Unfortunately, it takes effort to shrug off the preconcieved traditional ideas when you read these verses.  Typically when we read communion, and "the Lord's supper" we STILL think of the small thimble sized cup of grape juice or wine, and a platter with crackers on it.

  This isn't at all what was intended when these verses were set out to begin with.  So, let's get started.  I'll go through only verses directly related to communion.  There are others that the Church reads into out of context that make oblique references to the blood of christ, his broken body, etc. etc.  Typically these ones are in reference to his actual sacrifice on the tree.  It has nothing to do with communion, I'm not even going to waste my time with these.  We'll see how much I can get done today, I may have to break this up into a second posting.

  Matthew, Mark and Luke all have an account of the first communion.  Here is one of them;

Matthew 26:26-30
26 Now at their eating, Jesus, taking the bread, and blessing, breaks it, and, giving to the disciples, said, "Take, eat. This is My body."
27 And taking the cup and giving thanks, He gives it to them, saying, "Drink of it all,
28 for this is My blood of the new covenant, that is shed for many for the pardon of sins.
29 Now I am saying to you that under no circumstances may I be drinking henceforth of this, the product of the grapevine, till that day whenever I may be drinking it new with you in the kingdom of My Father."
30 And, singing a hymn, they came out to the mount of Olives.

  Now generally, I take the Bible literally, except when it's obvious that it's being used figuratively or symbolically.  Here Jesus is offering his flesh and blood to the disciples.  Obviously he's not being literal, they are not suddenly taking up vampirism.  No doubt, this is a little odd to them.  Fortunately, I think they understood how he meant it figuratively, while not completely grasping the huge significance of this event.  He had said something similar to this prior.

John 6:47-59
47 Verily, verily, I am saying to you that he who is believing in Me has life eonian.
48 I am the Bread of life.
49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
50 This is the Bread which is descending out of heaven that anyone may be eating of it and may not be dying.
51 I am the living Bread which descends out of heaven. If anyone should be eating of this Bread, he shall be living for the eon. Now the Bread also, which I shall be giving for the sake of the life of the world, is My flesh."
52 The Jews, then, fought with one another, saying, "How then can this one give us his flesh to eat?"
53 Jesus, then, said to them, "Verily, verily, I am saying to you, If you should not be eating the flesh of the Son of Mankind and drinking His blood, you have no eonian life in yourselves.
54 He who is masticating My flesh and drinking My blood has life eonian, and I shall be raising him in the last day,
55 for My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
56 "He who is masticating My flesh and drinking My blood is remaining in Me, and I in him.
57 According as the living Father commissions Me, I, also, am living because of the Father. And he who is masticating Me, he also will be living because of Me.
58 This is the Bread which descends out of heaven. Not according as the fathers ate and died; he who is masticating this Bread shall be living for the eon."
59 These things He said, teaching in a synagogue in Capernaum.

 Most translations say eat instead of masticate.  To masticate simply means to chew.  It's the only conciously active act that we do when we eat.  Every other part of digesting a meal is involuntary.  Again, Jesus is using the figurative.  He's not requiring that we find his body and tear chunks off it and plug him for blood.  He's talking about partaking in his life, in who he is, and his sacrifice.  We are to conciously meditate on him, on his promises and who he is.  We are in effect "chewing" on Jesus.

John 6:60-69
60 Many of His disciples, then, hearing it, said, "Hard is this saying! Who can hear it?"
61 Now Jesus, being aware in Himself that His disciples are murmuring concerning this, said to them, "This is snaring you?
62 If, then, you should be beholding the Son of Mankind ascending where He was formerly -- ?
63 The Spirit is that which is vivifying. The flesh is not benefiting anything. The declarations which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.
64 But there are some of you who are not believing." For Jesus had perceived from the beginning who those are who are not believing, and who it is that gives Him up.
65 And He said, "Therefore have I declared to you that no one can be coming to Me if it should not be given him of the Father."
66 At this, then, many of His disciples came away, dropping behind, and walked no longer with Him.
67 Jesus, then, said to the twelve, "Not you also are wanting to go away!"
68 Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we come away? Declarations of life eonian hast Thou!
69 And we believe and know that Thou art the Holy One of God."

  This was likely the first time the disciples had heard of this and it confused them.  Jesus explained his meaning to them, if somewhat cryptically.  Some of the disciples Jesus had couldn't accept this teaching and obviously left him.  However, Peter grasped, if not completely, what Jesus was teaching when he declared "Life eonian hast thou!"

  Jesus wasn't talking about a communion rite here.  He was talking about himself being the only way to the eonian life.  He is the ONLY way to life after this eon.  

  Tomorrow I'll go into what Paul has to say about "The Lord's Supper" and what that means to believers today.  

Have a great Thursday!



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