The Presence of Christ at the Table

Spurgeon was definitely speaking from his experience with the sacred text, though a baptist.

The Lord’s Supper (Eucharist, Holy Communion, etc) has been a preoccupation of mine over the years, especially the questions of how often we should observe and the issue of the presence of Christ at the Table.

The Victorian Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon is reported to have said that Scripture expands with every engagement (I’m also paraphrasing here).

Currently I hold to the Reformed view of the spiritual presence of Christ at the Table. See the following reasons:

1. Transubstantiation doesn’t fit the night of the Last Supper. Here is why: Christ was physically present with his disciples when he instituted the Supper. Sometime that night he told them that it would be better for him to physically depart from their presence and for the Holy Spirit to come (John 16:7).

The Holy Spirit would mediate the presence of Christ in his physical absence. Though physically absent, Christ would be spiritually present with his followers through the mediation of the Spirit.

During the Last Supper when Christ instituted the Supper and said “This is my body,” he had not died as yet. He was physically present with them.

2. Paul says that our observance at the Table is a participation in the body and blood of Christ at the Table (1 Corinthians 10:16).

“Participation” translates the Greek koinonia, which Paul uses elsewhere in either a spiritual or natural sense, with context deciding usage (1 Cor. 1:9; 2 Cor. 8:4).

But I believe we have a more approximate meaning of what Paul means by “a participation in” the body and blood of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, Paul speaks of spiritual food and spiritual drink. The spiritual drink came from the spiritual rock that followed them, was Christ (v. 4).

When we read the original texts of the Old Testament, we encounter a physical rock (Exod. 17:6; Num. 20:11; Neh. 9:15).

However, after the death and resurrection of the Christ, the veil had been removed, so that when Paul rereads the OT, Christ is present everywhere, not because he wasn’t there.

Rather, a veil prevented mere mortals from seeing what theologians and biblical scholars call OT christophanies, “appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ.”

As I bring this post to a close, Christians are united to Christ spiritually, not physically (1 Cor. 1:9). The same Holy Spirit who unites us spiritually to Christ also mediates the presence of Christ at the Table-though only spiritually.

This is where Scripture and reason have brought me.

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Come to the Table

“We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry we were thirsty
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us

He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free

Come to the table

Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thieves
There’s no one unwelcome here
That sin and shame that you brought with you

You can leave it at the door
And let mercy draw you near…”

I heard Come to the Table from Sidewalk Prophets on my way home this week.

The song really resonated with me.

When all is said and done,

we are all just a “motley crew of misfits,”

and

“sinners who have been redeemed.”

So when we take the bread and the cup, we must remember we are sinners who have been redeemed.

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Whatever Happened to the Jesus Creed?

The Jesus Creed is found in Matthew 22:37-40,

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (NIV)

Simply put, the Jesus Creed is loving God and loving others.

When we follow the Jesus Creed, we are truly Jesus followers.

When we follow the Jesus Creed, we are more like Jesus.

When we follow the Jesus Creed, there will be a clear demarcation between kingdom politics and worldly politics.

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The Answer

The following is from the heart.

As I look around.

As I listen to the news.

As I view what is projected on the screen.

As I travel.

As I step in to a Walmart.

As I read.

My heart is heavy.

My heart is broken.

Why?

Because of the brokenness that I continue to witness and see all around me.

It is existential.

This existentialism is surely by design.

How can I ignore what I truly experience as a human being.

I can feel, smell, touch, see, hear, and touch it all.

But my existentialism has informed me that Jesus is the only ansswer.

If we truly believe in the incarnate God of Christmas and Easter, then we must shout, “hallelujah!”

Jesus is the answer.

We must look to him for transformation and lasting change in our world.

The answer is not with our politicians. Scientists. Academics. Doctors. Pastors.

I am so tired of where we continue look.

Look to Jesus.

We must let his life flow through us to bless the world for his glory.

Amen.

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