Hey, Did I Wash My Hair Just Now When I Was in the Shower: Mindless, Robotic Acts and Why This Should Never Be at the Lord’s Supper

Posted: May 11, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 22:14-30 — Have you ever done something so many times that it has become mindless to you. Like for example, taking my shower each day. There is the initial rinse. The lathering up your body with soap. The second rinse. Then, there’s the washing of the hair and the third rinse. Have you ever been in the shower and just finished one of these steps so mindlessly that within seconds you can’t remember whether you have done it or not. Sometimes, we take one of the Jesus-commanded ordinances of the church in this way.

The Lord’s Supper. One of only two Christ-commanded ordinances of the His church, baptism being the other. Therefore, it must be really important. But for the most part, many of us miss its significance. We go through the motions. We know about the ways that we do the bread. Sometimes it’s wafers. Sometimes it tiny squares of bread. Sometimes we tear bits of bread from a loaf. We know about the wine. Some churches use real wine. Some use red grape juice. Some churches give you miniature glasses of wine or juice from a silver tray specifically designed for this purpose with little cut-out circles to hold the wine or juice miniature glasses. The miniature glasses are just large enough for what we call a swig in the South. Some church will have a chalice in which the wine or juice is contained and participants dip their torn-off piece of bread in it as you pass by the pastor or priest. Some churches have modern-day disposable communion packets. It is a plastic container of grape juice with a prepackaged wafer of bread sealed on top of the tear open seal for the container of juice. We all know the ways we participate in the Lord’s Supper. But do we understand its significance? Do we really understand its significance. We have done it so much in our past that it may have become repetition to us. Like forgetting whether or not you shampooed or not seconds after you did it, we may have lost the beauty and importance of this most important ritual.

There is such beauty in the Lord’s Supper. And there are things we should understand about the meal that are important to the everyday life of a Christ-follower. esus instituted the Lord’s Supper at his last meal with his disciples as part of the Jewish Passover (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20). Unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine were part of the meal. Jesus indicated that the bread was symbolic of his body and the fruit of the vine symbolic of his blood.

The unleavened bread symbolizes the purity of Christ, for he was without sin (Hebrews 4:15) and thus his body was an unblemished sacrifice for our sins. Leavened bread has yeast in it and just a dab of yeast mixed in bread dough and kneaded with spread throughout the dough. Sin is that way for us as mankind. Many think that if we just do more good that bad then we will be ok and get into heaven. Ask anyone who knows anything about baking bread from scratch. You cannot remove yeast from bread once it is mixed in it. The form and structure of the dough is forever changed by the presence of the yeast. Sin with the first one committed changes us our form to be a distortion of the image in which we are made and disqualifies us from being in the presence of God for eternity. Thus we need to replace our damaged dough with the purity of the unleavened bread of Christ. When we eat the bread of the Communion, it does not somehow transform and give us salvation. It is symbolic of that which has taken place already. It reminds us of the fact that Jesus was pure and spotless and his body was given for us on the cross to make us pure and right with God once again. His purity becomes our purity. The symbolism of ingesting the bread of communion is that at the moment of salvation we take on the purity of Christ. At the moment of salvation, we become part of the body of Christ. When we take the bread of communion into our bodies, it represents our unity with the pure and spotless one, Jesus Christ.

The juice from crushed grapes symbolizes the blood that Christ shed for us. In Old Testament (OT) times, God agreed to forgive people’s sins if they would bring animals to the priests to sacrifice. When the OT system was inaugurated, the covenant between God and His people was sealed with the blood of animals (Ex. 24:8). But animal blood in and of itself did not remove sin (only God’s forgiveness can do that). As such, animal sacrifices had to be repeated day after day and year after year. Jesus completed the covenant and called it a new one. Jesus would die in the place of all sinners for all time. Unlike the blood of animals where it was imperfect and had to be repeated, Jesus’ sacrifice finished and completed the OT system and established the new covenant. His sacrifice of blood, because He is God in the flesh, was perfect and final and need not be repeated again. It would be good for all eternity. Thus, when we see the wine or grape juice, it is symbolic of the blood of the slain, sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ. His blood was shed on the cross to atone for our sins. For this is what God said the purpose of the cross is. The OT sacrificial system was practice for recognizing what Jesus was to do at the cross. When Jesus died on the cross, he spilled His blood for us. He sacrificed his life so that the penalty of the law would pass over us. We are made imperfect by our sin. Like a drop of flavored water enhancer into a bottle of water forever changes the contents of the water and stains it, we are so stained by sin. We are not pure clear water any one. One drop changes the color of the water just as much as multiple drops. We are sin. God is sinless perfection. Sin cannot exist, any one sin, cannot exist in His presence. We would be destroyed. We need help to turn us back into pure clear water. Jesus’ was the perfect solution and completion of the OT sacrificial system. His sacrifice, the once and for all sacrifice, seals our purity through His blood. All you have to do is to believe that Jesus was indeed the Son of God and did this for you at the cross because you and I are sinners and are incapable on our own of making ourselves right with God. At that moment, you are saved. So when you drink the wine or grape juice at the Lord’s Supper, be forever reminded that it is a symbol of what Christ has done for you at the cross. The Christ follower should be humbled by the drinking the wine or grape juice. Jesus Christ, friend of sinners, loved you so very much that He willingly shed His blood at the cross as the atonement for your sins so that you could be made right and pure before God. Think on that when you drink the symbolic wine or juice.

Just because these things are symbols of Christ does not mean that they in and of themselves are insignificant. They are important because of their divine origin. They are not human creations but given by God to assist us in declaring and sharing the gospel (1 Corinthians 11:26) and motivating us to live the Christian life (1 Corinthians 10:16-33; 11:29). Because of the significance, there is great debate among believers as to whether nonbelievers should participate in the Lord’s Supper. However, with it being symbolic of what Christ has done for us, it is my opinion that non-believers should respect the symbolism and wait until they become believers to participate in this symbolic act. Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 that we have in partaking of the Lord’s Supper we are symbolically showing our fellowship, our participation, our communion with Christ. As with baptism, we are declaring our communion with Christ, our oneness with Christ. Thus, honor should be given to it by the Christ followers who participate in and respect should be bestowed upon it by non-believers by not participating in it until they, themselves, become believers. That in and of itself should push us toward evangelism and sharing the gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. We take baths robotically and mechanically and mindlessly. So much so, we sometimes forget whether we did all the steps in the process. Did I really wash my hair five minutes ago when i was in the shower? Let us never robotically, mechanically, and mindlessly participate in the Lord’s Supper. It is so beautiful. It is so remindful. It is so symbolic of what our Lord and Savior did for us at the cross. Let us approach communion with honor, with humility, with remembrance, with thanksgiving and most of all with the highest of praise. We should walk out of church on the days that the Lord Supper is offered shouting to the heavens in thankfulness and honor for what were just a part of! Amen and amen.

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