A few months ago I gave a meditation on our preparation and response when we receive Communion or The Lord’s Supper. I looked at two verses of Scripture that speak life to me, as I’ve struggled with some health issues. My faith is based on God’s Word and I cannot take of the Lord’s Table without thinking of these verses. I’ve copied them from several translations to get the most out of their meaning, so that it touches my heart and hopefully yours as well.
Most of the verses say He, meaning Jesus, so I’ve inserted His name. I can then picture Him more than simply repeating He continually. Where the verses use we or our, I substitute I or my, making it more personal. If it’s not personal, it does me no good. While I’m not guilty of obvious physical sins, and probably you’re not either, I consider my thought life: is it positive or negative? Do my words breathe life or death? Do I show the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23a) or do people avoid me? What is my relationship with God? Is it distant, intimate or somewhere in between? These are the sins I must guard against and maybe you also. All references within the verses come from that translation.
Good News Translation: But Jesus endured the suffering that should have been mine, the pain that I should have borne. All the while I thought that His suffering was punishment sent by God. But because of my sins Jesus was wounded, beaten because of the evil I did. I am healed by the punishment He suffered, made whole by the blows He received.
Jubilee Bible: Surely Jesus has borne my sicknesses and suffered my pain: and I considered Him stricken, smitten of God and cast down. But Jesus was wounded for my rebellion; He was bruised for my iniquities; the chastisement of my peace was upon Him, and by His stripes healing was provided for me. (My note: please see Shalom on page 2 for a fuller meaning of peace.)
New English Translation: But Jesus lifted up my illnesses, Hc carried my pain; even though I thought He was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something He had done. Jesus was wounded because of my rebellious deeds, crushed because of my sins; He endure punishment that made me well; because of His wounds I have been healed.
The Message Bible: The fact is, it was my pains Jesus carried – my disfigurements, all the things wrong with me. I thought Jesus brought it all on Himself, that God was punishing Him for His own failures. But it was my sins that did that to Him, that ripped and tore and crushed Him – my sins! Jesus took the punishment, and that made me whole, though His bruises I get healed.
The Voice Translation: Yet it was my suffering Jesus carried, my pain [Matthew 8:12] and distress, my sick-to-the-soul-ness. I just figured that God had rejected Jesus, that God was the reason He hurt so badly. But Jesus was hurt because of me; He suffered so. My wrongdoing wounded and crushed Him. Jesus endured the breaking that made me whole. The injuries He suffered became my healing.
1 Peter 2:24
Amplified: He personally carried my sins in His body on the cross [willingly, offering Himself on it, as on an altar of sacrifice], so that I might die to sin [becoming immune from the penalty and power of sin] and live for righteousness; for by His wounds I [who believe] have been healed.
New Living Translation: Jesus personally carried my sins in his body on the cross so that I can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds I am healed.
The Message Bible: Jesus used His servant body to carry my sins to the Cross so I could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. Jesus’ wounds became my healing..
The Passion Translation: Jesus Himself carried my sins in His body on the cross so that I would be dead to sin and live for righteousness. My instant healing flowed from His wounding. [This healing includes the body, soul, and emotions. It was fulfilled in two ways: first by the healing ministry of Jesus, and second by the blood of Christ’s wounds. See Matthew 8:16-17; Isaiah 53:5].
According to Isaiah 53:4-5 and the note in the Passion Translation on 1 Peter 2:24, Jesus’ sacrifice covered EVERY AREA of my need! He had spiritual torment for my sins when Father turned His back on Jesus when He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus had mental distress for my worry, care and fear, as well as physical pain for my sickness and disease! Therefore, Jesus by His crucifixion gave me Shalom.
Shalom means not only peace versus war, but inner peace, freedom from disturbance whether outwardly or inwardly. It means primarily soundness, health, well-being, comfort in my mind and emotion, goodness in my relationships with people and with God. Shalom has also come to signify prosperity. (Paraphrased from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
1 Corinthians 11:28-29 Passion: Let me first evaluate my own attitude and only then eat the bread and drink the cup. For continually eating and drinking with a wrong spirit [unworthily or irreverently] will bring judgment upon myself by not recognizing the Lord’s body.
I ask forgiveness of any sins I remember when I take the Lord’s Supper and ask Holy Spirit to remind me of any I forget. I know if I’m holding a grudge against someone or have gossiped, so I confess these or other sins. However, I don’t always think to judge my thoughts about my physical, emotional or mental well-being. How do my emotions and thought life stack up? Do I need to repent in this area?
1 Peter 2:24 mentions being dead to sin and alive to righteousness or right standing with God. What sins do I need to give up? What about my lifestyle or my thought life do I need for leave behind? Do I strive to live a life pleasing to God? What do I need to do to correct that?
I should judge myself in every way. Am I complaining about lack of finances, family or job? What causes me to worry? What makes me angry? Do I need to leave behind some baggage? The verse below tells me to leave sin because it slows down my God-planned life, the one best-suited and most fulfilling to me.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Living Translation: Therefore, since I am surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let me strip off every weight that slows me down, especially the sin that so easily trips me up. And let me run with endurance the race God has set before me.
When the first Passover was given, all the lamb had to be eaten; none could be left. I should do the same with Jesus’ Supper that’s my Passover from death to life. Let it renew me each time I take of it. Jesus came to give me life more abundantly according to John 10:10, and I can hinder that life by not realizing everything contained within the Communion. When the Israelites left Egypt, they were ready to go: eating in faith, dressed for travel, ready to receive deliverance BEFORE they ate. I should do the same thing.
No matter what I may face – sin, sickness, drugs, a weight problem, job, family, worry, strife, old habits – I can be delivered through properly receiving the Lord’s Supper because the body and blood of Jesus cover every area of our lives. By discerning (recognizing and identifying as separate and distinct) Jesus’ body and judging myself before Him, I can receive my deliverance.
I may see instant changes, and I have sometimes, but also I may have to learn to think new thoughts or change old habits before that newness comes. The Communion is not a panacea or magic, but as I take it more seriously, the more benefit I get from it.
Obviously, I don’t have time to meditate on all this when I’m at church, but often I know beforehand when the Supper will be served so I can prepare at home and anticipate with gladness this special time between my Lord and me.