7-3-2022 The Lord’s Table
AS I prepared to eat my breakfast this Monday morning, Father started sharing ‘things’ about the Eucharist (the Lord’s Table) with me.
My son is in his forties now, but back in the mid-nineties, my wife, family and I spent some time in the Roman Catholic Church. During that time, Father Jack, a widowed catholic priest, played a major and important role in my wife’s Spiritual and physical healing. Father Jack was transferred to another area and even though the other priests were OK, they weren’t Father Jack. He was one of a kind. We drifted away.
Now, mind you, my wife and I have a Southern Baptist Background and after we married, as we grew, we encountered experiences in many churches. Presbyterian, Independent Baptist, Church of God (Pentecostal), Assemblies of God and many independent full gospel churches.
About thirteen years ago, Father put me where I am today. No, my wife and family haven’t joined me in my current church. My wife went to be with the Lord in 2005 and Father told me, in 2009-2010, this is the church where He wanted me. So Here I am.
Yesterday morning, my son was on the road (a truck driver) and I was getting ready for church and he called and we talked for more than half an hour. Father has taken him back into the Catholic Church and he was telling me about how God is clearing some things up in his mind and he mentioned the Eucharist. Of course, Roman Catholics believe the ‘blessed’ Eucharist actually becomes the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Father used this conversation to get the ‘juices’ flowing in me.
Each morning and each meal, I thank the Lord for providing, whatever I have before me, out of His bounty for my nourishment. I also thank Him for nourishing my spirit as well (as I look at my bible) and that is when Father started sharing with me the concept of the Eucharist as compared with circumcision.
Paul ‘discussed’ the issue of circumcision with the apostles and disciples more than once. I think that once we get a reasonable understanding about circumcision, we may understand, a little better, the ‘deal’ with the Eucharist.
God explains His covenant with Abraham that circumcision is a ‘token’, a symbol, of His covenant with man (Gen. 17:1-11). A physical act represents a Spiritual reality. However, we’re not discussing the covenant (pact, agreement) here.
The apostles were accused of neglecting the Greek’s widow and orphans so Peter told them to select seven men from their own people who were filled with Holy Ghost, wisdom and who had a good reputation and set them over the matters. One of these men was named Stephen (Acts 6:1-5).
Later, Stephen was preaching to the people and caused quite a disruption as (in part) he reminded the Jews of the covenant (circumcision) passed on since Abraham (Acts 7:8).
A conflict arose about requiring non-Jews, who converted to Christianity, to be circumcised. The Jews, who converted to Christianity, still practiced circumcision and thought the non-Jews should also be required to do so. Peter stood up and argued that those non-Jewish converts had received Jesus just as the disciples (Acts: 15:1-11). After all, Cornelius (a Roman Centurion) and his family received the baptism of the Holy Ghost even before water baptism much less being circumcised (Acts 10:1-48).
Paul argues circumcision vs uncircumcision is concluded when grace is given by faith [in Jesus] (Rom. 4:1-25). As we receive Jesus into our heart, circumcised or not, there becomes no difference.
Paul confirms this with the Corinthians (1 Corinth. 7:18-19) concluding that there is no difference to circumcise or not as long as we have received Christ and keep the commandments of God. And just what are those commandments? Love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and then love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-31). Jesus tells us that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (the Law - John 14:15). AND this love is ‘agape’ (Strong’s G26) love, a giving, caring, edifying others type of love. And this love overrides circumcision, Y or N!
Paul again confirms that whether we are to be circumcised or not is not the real issue, but where is our faith (Gal 5:1-6) - not in the traditions of man (Eph. 2:19-13).
Jesus circumcises our heart (Col. 2:10-12).
So we see that circumcision of the flesh gains us nothing but when our hearts are circumcised by faith in Jesus Christ, we have eternal life! Amen? Circumcision exposes, physically, the innermost part of a man while Jesus is more interested in the innermost part of our heart. We worship Him in Spirit and n truth (John 4:24).
Partaking the Eucharist, observing the Lord’s Table, compares to ‘circumcise or not to circumcise’.
So when we partake of the Eucharist, take the Lord’s Table where is our heart? When we take the bread or cracker or wafer and the wine, grape juice or water, understand that whether or not it actually becomes the body and blood of Jesus is not the issue. So what does this mean to us?
Do those who believe the Eucharist actually becomes the body and blood of our Lord gain anything over those who don’t? Again, where is our heart?
Let’s take a look at what Paul told the Corinthians:
Jesus said “Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Do this remembering Me.” Then He said “This cup is the New Testament in My blood, as often as you do this, remember Me.” Paul continues: Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup, we remember the Lord’s sacrifice until He returns for us. If we partake the bread or the cup unworthily, we are guilty of the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. If you will, we demonstrate our unbelief because we re-condemn Him do death, again, just as he Jews did 2000 years ago. So we need to examine ourselves (no outstanding sins that need confessing) because in unconfessed sin there is weakness, sickness and even death as the bread and cup (then) are taken unworthily (1 Corinth. 11:24-31). Again, a matter of the heart. And is demonstrated by our actions. Not cleaning our hearts leaves us to just performing empty actions and not solidifying our relationship with our Lord.
And keep in mind that as Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples, He did not pull strips of flesh from His body and give them to eat. He did not slice a vein open to give them drink. Jesus’ body IS the bread of life (John 6:35), the life of the creature is the blood (Lev. 17:11). Jesus is the “Word” (John 1:1). Being the Word, His body (the bread of Life) becomes nourishment for our body. The blood takes the nourishment from the bread throughout the body to sustain sustain life. So the bread and blood of our Lord are the things that represent our relationship with the Lord. They sustain our spiritual life.
The apostles agreed with Paul that the Gentiles should not be forced to be physically circumcised for their hearts were already circumcised. Their relationship with God through Jesus was already established so they didn’t need an ‘outward’ indication of their faithfulness.
Jesus shed His blood once on the cross giving us our eternal redemption (Heb. 9:11-14).
Observing the ‘Lord’s Table’ helps us remember His sacrifice for us and the closeness of the relationship He desires with us.
Whether the Eucharist actually becomes the body and blood of Christ, I can’t say, but I can and will say that through our observance through the ‘Lord’s Table’, we openly proclaim our unity with our Lord, Jesus Christ, until He returns for us. As often as we do this (1 Corinth. 11:25), we come before God with a clean heart, again, committing our lives to our Lord Jesus. If you will, through the Eucharist, we are proclaiming a renewal (confirmation) of our vow to give our lives to Jesus and live for Him.
This act should display the truth of our lives and that is unity with our Lord, Jesus Christ. A relationship that cannot be broken.