Jesus knew He would be abandoned
On the night He was arrested, Jesus knew His disciples would abandon him and scatter. "Scatter" means that not only would they be separated from Him, but also from one another. Nor would this be a one-time event, but an ongoing tendency. Scattering is what sheep do. That very night, to prevent the scattering of his followers, Jesus did at least three things:
- He washed their feet, setting an example of humility and service;
- He prayed for them to be united, establishing both a path and a destination; and
- He established the Lord's Supper.
The Lord's Supper not only unites us to the Lord as we remember His death until He comes, but because we share in this symbolic meal, it also unites us to each other.
As Paul said, "Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf" (1 Cor. 10:16-17).
Acts 20:7, the passage that suggests the first-century disciples were in a habit of weekly communion, says, "On the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread?"
In this verse, not only is the first day of the week and the breaking of bread an important pattern, but also the coming together. "On the first day of the week, the disciples CAME TOGETHER to break bread." The disciples were scattered throughout the region around Troas, and the Lord's Supper brought them together.
With an attitude of humility, with a willingness to serve, with a willingness to follow the Lord's path toward His destination, let us "come together" and share in the bread.
What Jesus Predicted Came True
Jesus knew what would happen and it did: all of his disciples deserted Him and scattered. Can we read the gospel accounts, witness how the disciples abandoned Jesus and yet, like Simon Peter, claim, "That's not what I would do! Even if everyone else deserts Him, I never will"?
No, if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we are just as weak as they were. When the pressure is on and the stakes are high, when we are called upon to take a stand for Jesus, how often do we turn and flee?
Instead of standing together, united with Him and with each other, how often do we abandon Him and in our shame, avoid each other?
The cup we share symbolizes the blood of Christ, God's provision for the forgiveness straying sheep like us need. Paul said, "Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16).
Once more, in becoming one with Christ's death, we all converge on Christ Himself, and in doing so, we also draw closer to one another.
Here is a dynamic means of changing the world. Christ inspires us first to love Him and then to love each other; to unite with Him, which unites us with one another; to seek forgiveness from Him, and then to forgive and seek forgiveness from one another. The love we celebrate in the Supper is the love a bleeding, groaning world needs so badly.
Copyright ? 2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.
Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.
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