Jesus has become a religious icon but he actually was and is a relational icon.
Jesus said that he broke bread as a representation of his body and he gave wine as a representation of his blood.
Communion isn't remembering something that's happened, it's proclaiming something that's happening.
Communion isn't so much or simply just about how much Jesus suffered but about how much he loved.
Communion is high priority.
Don't take Communion in unworthy manner, take it with glad and sincere hearts.
I don't need to take communion only in church. I can take it in my home too.
I don't need to get the communion only from priest.
I don't need to take communion to deal with my sin/failure.
I don't need to take communion to pursue prosperity.
Jesus wants to meet us in our normality.
Religion has reconstructed much of what Jesus came to deconstruct.
Communion is something glorious, something great, something that should fill our heart with reverence and our eyes with tears but also our soul with joy that Jesus took on our punishment far beyond what we could ever imagine, far beyond what we would ever like to admit. He became unrecognizable so that God would recognize us..
How the church got communion wrongIt is great that you've joined us, because we are in the middle of a series about the most amazing, most incredible person that has ever lived, continues to live, his name is Jesus. This series is all about coming back ground some of the profound truths of who he is? what he did? what he's continuing to do? and to bring out some profound revelation that's going to make a difference to our Monday.
I'll choose they always say that it's gonna make a difference to the way that we treat one another, it's gonna make a difference in our marriages it's gonna make a difference with our children.
Jesus is not a historical figure. Jesus isn't in history, he's writing history. We believe that he died but rose again. and so it's not just about what Jesus did? it's about what he is doing and continues to do?
One of the things that I love about Jesus is he was so much more normal than we actually really realize. What was the trade that he chose to do? carpentry. He was born out of wedlock in a town that had no significance. He really came down to our level and lived life with us and he embraced it.
We've sadly made Jesus this untouchable kind of religious icon, we've stuck him back on the stained glass windows, we've stuck him back on the statues at the front of church, we stuck him back on the jewelry around our neck.
Actually he came to do life with us, he came to do life in the normality of our days.
One of the things that I think points towards this truth is just how much he loved food. There's more interactions Jesus has around a dinner table, around food ,almost anything else. Jesus loved to eat.
Food sustains life:
Everybody likes food. Food is actually something so powerful because in essence food first and foremost, it sustains life. doesn't it? Every single organism on the face of planet needs to eat to consume something to stay alive.
Food brings enjoyment to Life:
Food actually helps us to enjoy life, it brings an enjoyment to life. I know for some of us in our locations right now, you might be in a position of life where you're thinking where's my next meal coming from? but and we want to help and we want to support, please reach out to some in our church, if that's the case for you. But for the vast majority of us actually food is about what we want? or what we would enjoy? It brings extra dimensions to the things that we do.
Think about going on holiday. Often we pick and choose where we're gonna go on account of the cuisine, you think about where you're gonna go on a date night because of what you want to eat, in fact, for most guys date nights more about what they want to eat? then the conversation they necessarily want to have. It brings an enjoyment to life.
Eating together engages us in relationship:
When Jesus engaged around the dinner table, we think that he was serenely silent, just eating like one little bit because he didn't need to ,because he was the untouchable Jesus that just floats into every season. No, I reckon he probably had a favorite dish, I reckon he enjoyed it. There's a moment and when he sits around so many tables it was far more normal than we realize, but one thing that's really powerful when it comes to food, especially in the context of how Jesus did it is that when we eat together it actually engages us in relationship. It's something that we share together.
I've had some meals that in and of themselves weren't very good but the moment that I had them with the people, in the environment is a connection of relationship far more than just sustaining of life or something that I enjoy eating.
Think about Zacchaeus, is a Bible character he was a tax collector and that means he was basically a bad man, he had stolen from his own people, turned his back on his own people, and he was a corrupt individual, he was also profoundly short. Jesus comes to his town and he wants to see Jesus that everybody's talking about. So he climbs up a tree and he sees Jesus. He's the last person that Jesus should have been interested in, and yet he's the first one that Jesus notices. Jesus says get down, I want to go to your house. What did they do in the house? they ate. Jesus again didn't sit in the corner silently as the Zacchaeus was transformed just merely by Jesus's silent presence. I reckon Jesus was like, Zacchaeus these olives are amazing, where did you find them? and they Zacchaeus like boughs his head in shame said I stole him. I reckon he was there you know we'd like that mint dip and secure who made this oh it's my mum's secret recipe and then he realized he's the son of God it's not a secret to him. They ate around the dinner table and what happens? he meets Jesus and it's the Zacchaeus turns around and he says I'm gonna turn my life around, everything I've stolen I'm gonna give it back four six seven forth I'm gonna be transformed. why because Jesus met him in his normality.
Jesus has become a religious icon but he actually was and is a relational icon:
But sadly what's happened is, we've taken Jesus and we've made him a religious icon, when actually he was a relational icon. We've put him back up on the altar, back up on the stained-glass window. Actually if he was here, you'd sooner find him in the local pub talking to people that feel that they are a mess and a wreck. He didn't stay in the temple waiting for people to come to him, he went. It got him in trouble. He went and associated with people that he shouldn't.
What was Jesus doing, when he was doing that? he was eating sitting around a table meeting them in their normality.
Religion has reconstructed much of what Jesus came to deconstruct:
Religion actually has reconstructed much of what Jesus came to deconstruct. You might say if you're here for the first time and you're not used to church you might say but aren't you religious? heck no I'm not one bit religious, because religion is about a state of rules and regulations, a process of traditions that you have to keep up with just to be okay with God. I'm in relationship with Jesus. I meet him when I'm brushing my teeth. I meet him when I'm driving down the road, I meet him when my kids are screaming on the school run, I meet him in the night, I meet him around the barbecue.
Because actually he came to deconstruct these ideas that it's got to happen in a church or it's got to come through a particular priest.
Jesus wants to meet us in our normality:
Jesus wants to meet you in your normality and so many of us are waiting for Sunday. We're waiting for Sunday or were waiting for the next big conference or the next big event or were waiting to get back to the cave when actually if we realize Jesus wants to meet us every day in our normality.
We're gonna talk about one thing that he gave us as the church that we can do that helps us engage with that in such a powerful way but sadly something that has become very religious and separated from what it really really was meant to be.
Because there were lots of meals that Jesus had. I mean think about the feeding of the 5000. It was a big meal. You think about when Zacchaeus, you think about Peter and Jesus restores him what is it? it's around a barbecue. You think about when Jesus washes the feet of the disciples it's after a meal.
Last Supper is a Communion:
But probably the most famous meal that Jesus ever hosted or was a part of was the Last Supper. This is probably one of the most famous images da Vinci's Last Supper. It's amazing picture but at the end of the day, it's actually a very inaccurate depiction of what the moment would have actually been like.
Firstly they're all white. Secondly they look a bit proper. Think about it, these guys were the most uneducated, most unworthy fishermen, tax collectors. These were the roughest lads. Actually it was far more relational than sat down on a big table. They would have been reclining on the floor on cushions, leaning back food their hands everywhere, they wouldn't have been knives and forks, it would have been very civilized. But actually it was also a meal that they were very used to. Because the meal was the Passover.
They would do this every year and they would have had this meal 20, 30 maybe 40 times depending on how old they were. In other words it was a bit like Christmas day. You know what's gonna come out the roast potatoes, the turkey, the gravy, the cranberry juice there would have been such a familiarity to this meal that we miss. But he was a profound moment.
They eat and then Jesus drops a bomb because he says one of you is gonna betray me. Can you imagine that's gonna give you indigestion. You filled yourself with you're nice you're gonna mint and like a fistful of Olives won't flip stone right, and he says one of you is going to betray me, and then they think it's a good time to ask Jesus, who's gonna be the greatest then? they have this discussion but the most famous moment in the Last Supper is when Jesus leads the first ever communion. But sadly something that was so relational, so normal, so profound has become so religious, so separated from its original intention that we miss the profound nature of it
Even the fact that I said right we're going to talk about communion, some of us have switched off inside. oh yeah okay communion. But actually we're gonna unpack the power of what Jesus was doing in this moment where he breaks bread.
We took something relational and made it a religious act:
When it comes to communion we took something that was relational and we made it a religious act. We took something that was actually meant to be shared in homes between brothers, between families, between husband and wife and we made it a religious act which has completely sucked out all the profound reality of what it actually is.
Myths of communion:
What I want to just kind of walk through is just a myths around communion. For some of us this is going to be quite challenging particularly if maybe you came from a more orthodox or a high Anglican or a Catholic background because actually there are some practices we have in church that aren't actually biblical, there are actually some practices or some concepts we have in church that aren't actually what Jesus intended.
1.Only in Church
So the first is that sometimes when it comes to communion we think it only happens in church. Jesus did this in an upper room with his friends, with his brothers. In fact in a moment we're going to look in the set and we're gonna see that the early church didn't break bread in the temple, they broke bread in their homes.
Even for those of us who maybe have come and been brought up in a slightly more charismatic or free church background, we still have that in us. We still think the first thing as soon as I start talking about communion, some of us immediately thought yeah we don't take that enough in church. When was last time you took at home?
2.Has to come from priest:
Another one is that it has to come from the priest. In other words I've got to go up to the front and I've got to get it from somebody who's worthy enough to give it to me. When actually Jesus said No, you take this bread and wine in your mess, in your unworthiness together relationally.
3.To deal with sin/failure:
Sometimes we think that we got to take communion just to deal with our sin and our failure. Maybe I'll let out a bit of a swear word or maybe I had one too many beers I'll go to church take communion sort it out.That's so unbiblical, it's so not what Jesus intended.
4.To pursue prosperity:
But you actually also have other people that do the opposite, they do it to pursue prosperity. If I take communion, God's gonna love me a bit more and he's gonna favor me.
We've taken something that was relational, profound life-changing and we turned it into a religion just act.
Actually there is something that we are seriously missing out on when it comes to the power of this. If we go to Acts 2, you'll see that we talk quite a bit in the modern church about the early church. I wish we were more like the church in Acts. I don't, because the Bible says that the church is end is better than its beginning. So we keep banging on about acts. Why aren't we treatment for more? oh if only we could see 3000 saved in a day? No, actually what the Bible says is you could believe to see 10000 saved in a day. But just look at this because there is something profound about what they did because actually was very simple
Early Church devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching:
It says that they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching. Let's just pause there for a second. How devoted are you to the teaching that comes out from this house? I'm not saying that because I'm here preaching how devoted are you to my message. But the church devoted themselves the Apostles teaching. Let me tell you what that meant is that when they left the gathering it didn't go in one year and out the other. They talked about it in the week, they went back over their notes that they made, they actually came out of that and say Jesus what do you need me to change. They could remember it, because they've been purposeful, they digested it, they were devoted.
I think so many of us turn up for another bit of steak and we haven't done anything with the first bit. I think our church will grow more if we more devoted to what we get taught here and actually on a Sunday.
I know people that are struggling in their walk with Jesus or maybe not growing and they look at somebody else who's growing. They get despondent or frustrated towards them. Here's the difference, the one who's growing is doing something with what that's all often the one who isn't, isn't.
It says that they devoted themselves and to fellowship. In other words, they did life together and the breaking of bread and to prayer for things that's all they did.
Early Church did life together:
They listen to the teaching and did what it said, they did life together, they cared for one another, they broke bread it's one of the essential parts and yet we do it potentially in church far too rarely, at home really far too rarely but actually did it almost daily, and then they prayed and get this everyone was filled with all that are the many wonders and science performed by the Apostles.
So those things the Bible is teaching us that they produced an atmosphere of faith where miracles were abounding. We pray we want to seek more miracles yet we're not devoted. We want to see more miracles but we're not breaking bread, wanna see more miracles we're not praying together, we wanna see more miracles we're not actually doing life together. We can't claim a promise, if we're not doing the thing that actually makes that promise come about.
It says all the believers were together they were United. There's something about communion that brings us together.
Think about what I said earlier, food engages us in relationship. The most important meal that we should be having together is actually communion.
I want to unpack this in a bit say they had everything in common. In other words, they got on, there was unity in the church, they liked each other, oh my goodness wouldn't that be good. What would be good if in churches people actually got on and liked each other? churches would grow a lot quicker. wouldn't they?
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need that was radical giving, radical generosity, radical sacrifice because of these things that they were doing but they continued to meet together in the temple courts. What I'm talking about breaking bread in our homes, it doesn't mean you don't come to church. They continue to meet even daily but then it says this they broke bread, where? in their homes and they ate together.
It wasn't a religious act that they had to go to church for, it was something they broke bread in their homes and ate together with what glad in sincere hearts.
In other words, when they took communion they were happy about it, they discovered something. When you take communion it's about breakthrough, when you take communion, it's about celebration, when you take communion it's a proclamation of what God has done not just some somber thing that makes us feel more guilty than we already did.
One of the reasons I think that they had so much power or there was so much power in them taking communicators they really understood what it actually meant. But it's been so lost, so so lost and that's what I want to unpack for us today.
We know that communion meant that Jesus said that he said that he broke bread as a representation of his body and he gave wine as a representation of his blood, and we're gonna dig deeper into what those two things mean.
But before we do that I want to just bring a little bit of tension to our conversation because Paul writes to a church in Corinth in two books in the bible 1 Corinthians and to clean this now. Corinth is a bad town, it's like the Vegas of the Bible. It was full of prostitution temples, so basically what you would do in order to go and worship is you go and pay a prostitute, sleep with her and that was the act of worship. It was such a town of degraded behavior. within 150 years , the City burnt itself to the ground twice. Because there was that much of violence, there was that much debauchery in this city.
So when Paul writes in Corinthians and we see him writing about marriage and love and the fruit of the Spirit. We think about that marriage passage that's quoted all the time love is patient, love is kind comes from Corinthians. He's talking to this place but then this happens in the first book because 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Paul starts to speak to the church about the power of communion and it messes with our understanding.
Communion is high priority:
Because I've always thought that communion is just a symbolic act, isn't it? it doesn't really have a power in and of itself it's just something we do to remember what Jesus did. But actually, look at this interaction that Paul writes he says if I receive from the Lord what I also passed on to you. In other words, what he's saying is that this is such a high priority I'm passing it on, it was one of the priorities and as a as a pastor in our church I don't really think of the last time that I made a priority to say to a new believer you got to learn to start taking communion. But Paul with the churches like this is really important you got to do this quite regularly, this is something you've got to get in your life, the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and when he given thanks he broke it and said this is my body which is for you do this and remembrance of me in the same way after supper he took the cup and he said this is the cup my new covenant my blood do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
What Paul is teaching them is that communion isn't remembering something that's happened, it's proclaiming something that's happening.
When we take communion we are speaking into our present and we're speaking into our future not just thinking about something that happened it's a proclamation not just the remembering.
Don't take communion in unworthy manner:
But then it goes on and it says this so then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner we're going to come to that in a moment we'll be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat the bread and drink from the cup.
In other words what Paul's saying is there's such a weight to what communion means? you can't just take it lightly you've really got to remember the power that doesn't mean Sambar but it does mean worthy.
What's really interesting is, in the church in Corinth they had a big social demographic divide, it very rich people and very poor people. what happen is when they had communion, everybody brought their own bread and their own wine. The rich people were bringing so much bread and so much wine to show how rich they were and they weren't waiting to share with the poor that they were even getting drunk doing communion. It's hard to believe, isn't it?
But there was something the poor saying I've heard that you do this in an unworthy manner, you're not thinking about your brothers, you're not really remembering what this was all about.
In other words, what they were doing is they were doing it for the wrong reason and they were doing it in the wrong way but then it goes even further with the next verse because Paul then says for those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you, many just think about that word not some, not one or two, many among you a week sick, and a number have fallen asleep.
Let me just tell you what that falling asleep means they're dead. So Paul is actually connecting that the way that we understand communion is linked to us seeing the wholeness and the fullness and the healing and the health of Christ in our lives, and yet it's just a symbolic act, isn't it? Jesus is actually saying that this is such an important act that when you do it there's so much power in it.
If you do it for the wrong reason in the wrong way actually you step out of God's best. It's not a punishment, the next verse goes on to say that it's not punishment it's discipline. Paul says it's so that you learn and you realize where you're getting it wrong.
When I read that verse, it's quite challenging, isn't it? messages with your thinking, it's just a symbolic act, isn't it? bit like baptism it doesn't save us and yet there's so much power in it but then what excites me is this. Surely we can assume the opposite that if we take communion, the right way for the right reason that we can believe for greater health, greater life, greater prosperity and our even in our physical beings because surely we can assume that, surely we can.
When I was reading this there's something so powerful about I was like we've got to look at this as a church, because we get so frustrated that we don't see the health and the wholeness. But I think that what was the early church doing? they were breaking bread, when's the last time we broke bread?
Executive Pastor Dave Thomas - The Cave - Communion
This was really powerful for me because we have an event every year called "The Cave" it's like a conference we don't like to call it a conference because we want it to be something different but it's like a conference. We have one in there in Europe and then in Africa in Asia. I was ill the week before and many of you guys will know that I had the privilege of being part of our worship teams and who's singing at the cave which is a great honor. But by Thursday lunchtime, I had no voice. It wasn't the case that I couldn't sing very well like I couldn't even get a note out. By Thursday evening, we'd already made the decision that I wasn't going to sing, I'd passed on the songs that I was gonna sing to our team and I was cool with that. It's not about me, I've got a great team but I wasn't frustrated to some degree, because I was like I know God that there's something more I want to be healed I want to be okay in this. Our campus pastor in Cardiff Tony came up to me and she said Dave I don't want to seem religious because when we start talking about communion we think it's religious she said. But I just feel convicted, I think you should maybe take communion. When she said it, initially internally I was, I really that's a bit you know I'd take communion and it all sorted out, but what she decided to say no I really think you need to just commune with Jesus and just trust him. So secretly I took communion about five or six times across the weekend of the cave. I not only had a voice on Friday night my voice was stronger at the end of the cave than it was all week.
Something that was really ironic is that the only one I could find was mulled wine and the only thing that resembled bread was a mini cheddar so it was the most disgusting communion you could ever imagine. But what was amazing was I was there and I was having these moments with Jesus where I was just getting on my knees I was just saying I know your body was broken so that I would be whole, I know that your blood was shed so that I could be close to you. Yeah I was also wise I drank herbal teas, I did all those things. But here's the thing I've done that before and not had a voice the only thing I did different was communion and here's the bigger testimony. I basically am responsible for the cave and it's awesome what an honor. It's also quite stressful and there have been many years where I haven't actually enjoyed the cave because I've been so focused on it, and they've been years where I haven't really been that connected to people because I've been so job focused at the cave. This year was the most peaceful, enjoyed it the most and was the most connected to people than I've ever been. why because I was getting around the table that meat connected me to Jesus and connected me to people. I was getting around the table that brought healing and health to my body but it also brought closeness for me with the rest of the church.
We've got to realize that there's so much more power and let me tell I'm gonna just spell it out let me tell you who has tried to diminish the power of communion? the devil, because he knows that if like the early church we were just devote ourselves to the teaching, really do life together, break bread in the way that we should and pray thousands will start getting saved, many miracles are started to happen.
First Miracle of Jesus:
So in these kind of final few sort of minutes of this message I want to unpack communion and I want to do that first by taking you back to the very first miracle Jesus ever did. Because shortly after the cave, I had this experience, I started reading through John's Gospel again. In Chapter two, we see the first-ever miracle Jesus did. some of us will know this and some of us won't. But basically what Jesus does he's at a wedding, they run out of wine, Jesus gets a little water turns it into wine and the party keeps going. Who's heard that? who's heard that kind of story? who's read that story in our locations who's heard that? okay quite a few of us. I've heard it a lot and I've heard some great messages on it, things like Jesus saves the best to last, and he cares about the small things and you know the servants did it.
John doesn't call it a miracle he calls it a sign:
But as I read it after realizing something about communion, the Holy Spirit showed me the profound message in this miracle. if actually John doesn't call it a miracle he calls it a sign and what's the interesting thing is only a very small number of people actually knew about it. It wasn't proclaimed to the whole wedding people, it was for a very small number of people.
Here's some of the things that you pull out from the scripture it starts first miracle happened on the third day of a wedding. What happened on the third day? We got to realize Jesus was making more than just the party carry-on. He then it says this that Mary asked him to do it and he says okay take these six jars thirty gallons each filling with water and then they take the war on his turn to wine.
Jesus turned our dirty water into the best wine:
But we miss this, Jesus says take these ceremonial jars. so the jars that Jesus got them to fill were the dirtiest jars possible. There was symbolically dirty and they were practically physically dirty. Because the mortar that they would use from these jars, they would use to wash their hands washed if he wash the rest of their body as a symbol of getting clean from their sin.
So the water in these jars would have been deemed unworthy it would have been it represented our sin, our mistakes, it represented people's adultery, represented people's greed, it represented people's failure, it represented people's weakness, it represented all sickness and illness that was the water Jesus decided to turn into wine.
It wasn't just some water that came from the tap. Jesus is boldly making a statement saying I'm gonna take your dirty water and turn it into the best wine. when they take the cup and they take it to the master of the house. The master of the house drinks it and says this is the best wine why have you saved this?
But there's another little detail it says that he didn't know where it came from. Why? because if he knew it came from those jars, he wouldn't have let her drop touch his lips.
When you drink this wine, we just oh yeah its Jesus's blood thank you lord. No when you drink this wine, it is your transform failure, it is your transform lack, it is your transform mistakes.
He doesn't just deal with it he transforms it, turns it into the best that's why the early church could take communion with glad and sincere hearts.
They weren't there going, they would have had reverence we're gonna come to that in a moment. They weren't taking it I'm such a failure, No they were taking it going I was such a failure, but now you turn my life into the best wine and it keeps flowing and it changes the party and it keeps it going and actually my life is a celebration now not a mistake.
If we start to realize that this is communion, Why wouldn't we take him more? My family did it last night before we had a meal, there was reverence, there was power but there was so much celebration. We declared together, you took our dirty water and you turn into the best wine, you took our failures and our mistakes and you've given us hope.
Here's the thing you might say I don't feel like that, start taking communion, start proclaiming. It's a proclamation, it's something that says I am this whether I feel it, I am this whether I know it, I didn't feel healed when I was taking communion, I don't feel strong, I didn't feel like it would come through. But God starts to do a transformation work.
This link with water and wine, water and blood is fascinating, because in 1 Corinthians 10 Paul actually starts by saying remember the Israelite walking in the desert, what did they eat? bread that they broke every day. What did they drink? water that came from the rock that was struck, what's that represent? the rock of Jesus that was struck on the cross. So all the way back in the desert, they were taking communion. Do you realized that? daily connecting in relationship with the father and connecting in relationship with one another.
The Passover what would happen is that they would sacrifice so many lambs they had to dig a trench out of the temple but they connected that trench to the water trench and so water and blood went out the side of the temple what comes out the side of Jesus when he's pierced.
You got to realize that this is so much more than just a little symbol. It's something that we remember, this is something that represents the very washing the breaking of every sin and failure. When you take this it's a celebration, it's a declaration. He's signed to see the power the profound power.
The thing is though Paul doesn't challenge the church on their revelation about the wine, he challenges the church on their revelation around the body. He says it's not that you don't get the wine it's that you don't get the body. so let me show you what he means, Isaiah 52 is prophetic word that describe what happened to Jesus and every word of this prophecy came true.
In these moments I'm going to talk about some stuff that's going to be very challenging to hear, it's going to turn your stomach but I would rather tell you the truth so that you can take communion in a way that really means something.
Because Isaiah says this, just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured. He's talking about Jesus when he was beaten so disfigured beyond that of any human being, his form marred beyond any human likeness.
A few years ago there was a film called The Passion there's a very gruesome depiction of the cross and his death. For those of us who've read it and those of us who've seen it, sorry it's hard to watch. But here's the reality it doesn't go far enough. Jesus was beaten so badly, torn limb skin says they parked out his beard, says they put a crown of thorns on his head. So much so that when they hung him on the cross, somebody didn't even think that he was a human being anymore. Think about those Roman soldiers arguably the strongest, most intimidating soldiers that have ever lived spending years moving swords and shields, think about the power in those arms and shoulders to strike his face, so much power.
Jesus became unrecognizable so that the father could recognize us again:
But here's the thing, he didn't just become unrecognizable as a human being, he became unrecognizable to the Father. As scripture says that in that moment the father turns his face away. Because Jesus didn't just take on our beating, he took on our sin. He became unrecognizable, he took on every one of our failures, everything that's in the closet he took it on, every mistake we've ever made he took it on. Even the father couldn't recognize him anymore because he became our sin. Jesus became unrecognizable so that the father could recognize us again.
When we break bread, there is something sober, something challenging. But something glorious, something great, something that should fill our heart with reverence and our eyes with tears but also our soul with joy that he took on our punishment far beyond what we could ever imagine, far beyond what we would ever like to admit. He became unrecognizable so that God would recognize us.
But he goes one step further because in the next chapter of Isaiah 53 it says in fact he has borne our griefs and that word grief doesn't actually mean grief it means sickness illness and disease.
So when his body is being broken, you see the blood dealt with sin the body dealt with sickness.
It says that he carried our sorrows. The word sorrow doesn't mean sorrow. It means emotional pain, I even would go as far say it means depression, it means our mental health issues.
He bought everything and when he's beaten, every cancer, every addiction, every failing he is beaten.
Paul was saying to the churches you don't understand what this means? that's why you're still sick, that's why some of you have even died early because if you just understood you were proclaiming faith and because you proclaimed in faith you would see more of that health and goodness.
I'm not saying you take communion every day and you're not gonna get sick. I don't know what the will of God is for your life, but what I am saying is that if we can learn anything, we've got to discern what this body really meant that he bore it for us, that we proclaim.
If you wait to get sick to take communion, you're making you're missing the point. This is about waking up daily and saying, because your body was broken I live in wholeness, I live in fullness, I speak it out over my life even when I can't see it, I speak it out over my life even if it doesn't happen, I still believe it because I'm gonna make a proclamation until the day you return.
Yet we assumed that he was stricken struck down by God and degraded by humiliation, but he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our wickedness, the punishment for our well being and by His stripes we are healed.
Its a time to take on new meaning, its a time to take on new priority, its a time to be something that you need to share around the barbecue, around the dinner table with your kids, with your friends. Because here's the thing, it's not a religious act, hey let's take communion, oh that's a bit churchy isn't it? no I'm gonna declare but the God's taking my dirty water and made it the best wine, but God's taken my brokenness and brought me healing
Communion isn't so much or simply just about how much Jesus suffered but about how much he loved:
It's about recognizing that when we take that wine, we're declaring freedom, peace, a one with God. When we break the bread, we're declaring our wholeness, our health, our right standing with God.
Church we're gonna start taking communion more in these gatherings but here is the last place it should be happening, it needs to happen in our homes, it needs to happen before you're going into that boardroom meeting that you're nervous about, Not, I'm gonna take you mean you can you make sure it goes okay god, No I just want to do this with you, I want to get around the table, I want to talk with you, I'm gonna share a meal with you Jesus, because I want to be close to you, I want to know you in my trial and needs to happen around the hospital bed in faith but also in trust.
How many husbands and wives on the day that they got married took time in the party maybe just take communion. oh I'm provoking in us church is it's not a religious act, it's a relational one. It is not just symbolic, it has within it great power when we believe and we proclaim. if we as a church could resurrect its true purpose, I believe we'll see the kingdom come.