Yesterday, being the first Sunday of the month, was communion Sunday at New Life. At the end of service, the bread and the cup was passed. It took me back to one of the few very familiar events of the trip to India.
We had very little familiarity in India. In every detail imaginable, and some not imaginable, things were opposite of the way it is in the West, at least very different. A car is driven from the right seat…on the left side of the road, mostly. Writing is from right to left. An affirmative head shake is side to side not up and down. They are dark skinned, we are light skinned. Marriage is arranged. Funerals are a celebration, in deed as well as word. Their night is our day. Time is irrelevant. We couldn’t even begin to understand the language even in the richest of context.
However, on that first Sunday service, when the table cloth was lifted from the pulpit to reveal a plastic pitcher of grape juice and a loaf of bread, a flood of familiarity rushed in. We knew exactly what this meant! We knew that we were doing this in remembrance of the focal point of all of humanity.
We were remembering the cross. Christ’s death on the cross was the climax and culmination of the history of the universe to that point. From that point on, the single most determent point of all history to come, to be complete in the second return and judgment of the earth.
At the cross, all of God’s wrath for sin was poured out on Jesus. God’s wrath that moved him to destroy every living thing on the earth in Genesis 6. God’s wrath that will bring about eternal judgment on the last day. The wrath for every sin of every man for all of human history and humanity’s future was stored up in God’s cup of wrath and poured out on His sinless son at the cross.
That means my sin was in the cup. All my sin! When I first grabbed a toy from my sister and declared, “MINE!” When this morning I chose to sleep-in rather than lead my family in pursuit of the knowledge of God and His glory. Even when I… (fill in the blank)… but my intentions were not to bring glory to God but so that I would receive glory! In my first breath I was a sinner deserving the wrath of God as a participant in the Sin of Adam. When I draw my final breath, my flesh will draw it finally, in rebellion to God. All of it, foreknown by God, was stored up in His cup and emptied on my savior.
My sin puts me at the cross. My sin has me and over 100 billion others represented at the cross 2000 years ago. But in my communion reflection I am at the foot of the cross kneeling, humbled, broken, contrite, crying out for forgiveness. I kneel there with my own cup. It is the cup of repentance and it is filling up and overflowing with Jesus’ blood, drop by drop as it flows from his pierced side. Jesus took my wrath, all of it. And he gave me His perfect, blameless blood, which is perfect and wholly sufficient for the covering of my sin. I am eternally grateful and I drink it through tears of contrition and tears of gratitude. I drink from His great mercy. When I partake in the symbols of His blood and body, this is my reflection.
-For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. (Leviticus 17:11 ESV)
– So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (John 6:53-58 ESV)