December 11, 2017

The Mirror in the Cross: The Preaching at the Table

By Tim Mize

We eat the Lord's supper as Jesus taught us to, "in remembrance" of him. In this frail and broken bread, we remember his frail, fleshly body as it hung on the cross. In this poured out drink, we think of his own life's blood poured out for our sins.

In eating and drinking, then, we do more than eat and drink. We preach the gospel to one another. The Bible says that "as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord's death till he come" (I Cor. 11:26, ASV). As we eat, we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, that "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3).

Sometimes, people complain that we do not preach the cross. I have never understood that complaint. True, a sermon may go by without mentioning it explicitly. But never a Lord's day passes unless we preach the cross in eating this supper.

Why proclaim it so constantly? Hasn't everyone heard already that Jesus died on a cross? Even if they had, it would still need proclaiming again and again. For one thing, the many distractions of life cause even us who know to need reminding. For another thing, it is good for us to meditate often, so that our understanding might deepen as to what this means, that "Christ died for our sins."

We can see, then, the wisdom that has taught us to eat it on every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Some would say that this is too often, that it cheapens the supper to eat it each Sunday. But it no more cheapens the supper by eating it every week, than it cheapens the gospel by preaching it every week. So we are glad to eat the supper every Lord's day just as the apostles have taught us.

The only real danger in such regular eating is that the supper might become a mere habit or a cold ritual to us. May it never do so. What does this supper proclaim, after all? It proclaims how our Lord and Savior, "the Word made flesh," was tortured and killed by sinners. It pro-claims how Christ was "wounded for our transgressions" and "bruised for our iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5). The supper should never become an old, comfortable ritual, because the word that it preaches is always fresh and new, and never comfortable.

This is the supper that lies before us today. In our eating and drinking we "proclaim the Lord's death till he come." Let us eat it now, and, as we do, let us hear and believe the word that it preaches.

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 24, p. 14
December 16, 1993

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