Sunday, March 25, 2007

Communion Mediation-Dead Fathers

John 8:51-58 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

The point here is that Jesus is life and they cannot see it. Life is standing before them and they cannot see Him. Yes, Abraham died. Yes, the prophets died and they offered words of life. But, now, the very Word of Life is standing before them. These skeptics liked to honor their dead father’s tombs, precisely because they were dead.

Jesus calls us to another level of faith. We have a great heritage in the reformed faith. Our forefathers were blessed of God to see truth in the Scriptures that had become rarely taught or believed in the church. They also corrected many errors that had crept into the practice of the church.

Some of these errors were in the Lord’s Supper. They corrected misunderstandings and superstitions. We are thankful for that and want to uphold that heritage. But then a tradition grew up around the careful fencing of this table to keep out those who would profane it or to protect those who might eat and drink damnation to themselves. In some churches, even taking communion became a very rare practice, perhaps once a year. And this was defended as a high view of the sacraments. Is that not odd? Not taking the Lord’s Supper is defended as thinking highly of the Supper?

Obviously something got messed up along the way. Maybe it was logic class. What do they teach them in these schools? It was also defended as descending from our reformed fathers. But this is not true. Luther and Calvin had a very high sacramentology. Perhaps we disagree with Luther, somewhat, but he was trying to maintain a high view of communion with God, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. But Calvin also had strong views about the very real presence of the body of Christ in the Supper.

My point in relating all of this is that we ought to see Jesus, the very Word of Life, when He is standing before us. He is here. He is in this meal. He offers us Life. In denying superstition and misunderstanding, we need to make sure that we do so in a way that is consistent with Jesus and not in building the tombs of our dead fathers. When we take and eat and drink, believing, we have the very promises. God is faithful.

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