FEED ON HIM IN YOUR HEART
Mighty God, you are immortal, invisible, and “God only wise”. I acknowledge your greatness and give you my praise.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 10:14-22
Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank God for some of the different ways he has graced your life.
Most readers will be familiar with the words of verses 16 and 17, since they are often spoken when Communion or the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. The word rendered ‘participation’ in the NIV is koinonia. Elsewhere this word is translated ‘fellowship’.1 This underlines the truth that remembering our Lord is a communal act: ‘communal participation’ is a good translation to use here. Both the vertical and horizontal dimensions of koinonia (that is, participation with God and with other Christians) are in view. No wonder sharing the Lord’s Supper is a significant event. That’s why celebrating it while continuing to participate in idol feasts as the Corinthians were doing was anathema (vs 14,21).
The horizontal element of communal participation is vital and will be unpacked in a subsequent reflection. The vertical dimension – fellowship with God himself – is our theme today. What does it mean to know koinonia with our Lord as the bread is broken and the wine poured out? Many Protestants speak of the bread and wine as ‘mere symbols’, in reaction against the high church teaching which speaks of the real presence of Christ’s body and blood and calls the table an ‘altar’. There is an alternative view, however, articulated by John Calvin and propounded by later evangelical thinkers such as CH Spurgeon. They and others hold that Communion is a ‘means of grace’. Yes, the bread and the wine are symbols and no, Jesus is not physically present, for he is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven.2 Yet, by the Holy Spirit he meets with us. Thus, Spurgeon spoke of the ‘real’ yet ‘spiritual’ presence of Christ at the table and wrote a Communion hymn entitled ‘Amidst us our Beloved stands’.3 Is this your experience? Next time you share Communion, reach out to him and know rich fellowship with your Lord.
How will it alter your attitude to Communion to see it as a ‘means of grace’?
These are the gifts of God for the people of God. I thank you Lord Jesus for the bread broken and the wine poured, Christ’s body and blood given for me.
1 Acts 2:42 2 Heb 8:1 3 CH Spurgeon, Till He Come, Passmore and Alabaster, 1896
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