The Lord’s Table (cont. 3rd message on subject)
(Phil. 3: 4-9, 1 Cor. 5: 7-8, John 13-17)
Paul declared himself as one who in pursuit of Christ, left behind all his religious and earthly background. I think they were of some benefit but his focus was fixed on Jesus. He said he now considered them to be no more help. In fact he writes whatever was of profit, is now rubbish. The original meaning is, I understand, closer to human waste. He had eaten from these and they had some benefit but his gaze was now fixed on Christ Himself.
My title continues to be the table of the Lord. I am still meditating on this reality that I have this close communion with the Lord. He is always ready to share and feed us with good spiritual food. As I was writing this, I came upon a booklet I received recently that provided a message on the table of the Lord. It addressed the subject from a very mature spiritual perspective. The writer T. Austin-Sparks (I have mentioned him before and you can visit a FB page to learn more about him) points out that the table represents the Lord Jesus being broken for us. Paul writes that as we share the covenant meal, we are participating in that life, and death of Christ. We share in that brokenness.
I am still on the words of Paul, “In the night in which He was betrayed.” Betrayal by a brother. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers; Jesus was sold by Judas. That last man was lost as Jesus says in John 17. Joseph’s brothers were restored. The end of their story is reconciliation and provision for all. God is the judge of the betrayers, not we. We are called to love our enemies. I have heard it said, and believe it, that Jesus still loved Judas even as He sent him out to accomplish his work of perdition. Such love is awesome in the truest sense of that word.
Now consider that the entire passage of John 13-17 is at the table. For them it was the Passover table. I urge you to consider that this was the last Passover of the old covenant. For Christ Himself says, as He shares the cup with them, that “this is the new covenant in my blood.” It is a sharing of His brokenness and His sufferings. Are we pressing on to know Him? Do we really want to know and participate in His death? What is that? The Holy Spirit leads us into that. Those who are led by the Spirit, they are being matured, they are being molded into His very likeness.
John writes in 1 John, that if we say we abide in Him, we ought to walk even as He walked. Communion with Him includes walking alongside Him. But we find we stumble. James writes, we all stumble in many ways but if a man can control His tongue, he can control his whole body also. How I stumble in that category! And I find as I go on to learn to walk with Him, as I stumble, He is walking with me and steadies my feet. He is so faithful to maintain the communion He initiated with that shared cup.
We know that the goal of the Lord is to have a bride prepared and complete for His appearing. I think it may not look like we expect. Only the Father will know when she is ready. We also hear this fullness expressed as many sons coming to glory. The mark of a true, mature son in Jesus’ own words, is that we love our enemies and so prove to be sons of our Father in heaven. So, as Paul did, let us press on in communion with Him, leaving every other device and means behind. As we do, He provides a table for us in the presence of our enemies.