Friends are never hard to find. Friends are always near. They are always ready and willing to help. They serve and give without ever expecting or asking anything in return. Nevertheless, within friendships there is always a sense of reciprocation. It’s not so much a matter of fairness or each friend giving as much as the other. It’s really more about each friend meeting the other friend wherever they are. Jesus meets us where we are but in a similar sense, we meet Jesus where He calls us. Psalm 25 has been on my mind lately. Verse fourteen tells us that “the friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them His covenant.” As I meditated on this Psalm, I realized that “friendship” can also be translated “secret counsel”. My mind immediately went to the upper room where Christ bestows His covenant love to His twelve disciples with the bread and the cup.
For the past few years, every time I approached the Lord’s Supper it seemed that I was missing out on something. I knew this was supposed to be a spiritually nourishing experience. This was supposed to build up my faith and assurance but for some reason I didn’t get it. Eventually I lighted on the heart of the problem or at least near to the heart of the problem. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my relationship with Jesus feels one-sided. I’m doing all the talking. I’m doing all the reading, praying, searching. Sure, I’m trying to “hear from Him” but it all seems so ambiguous and uncertain and I’m constantly left empty and confused. This year on the Sunday after Valentine’s Day it finally clicked in my brain.
The previous Saturday my friend Missy hosted an incredible Valentine’s Day celebration feast for several of her single lady friends. It was a beautiful time full of delicious food, music and wholesome conversation. The next day our congregation celebrated the Lord’s Supper. Then it hit me. This was Jesus’ party. This was His feast, His gesture of friendship to us! Just like Missy's gesture of friendship and love with her Valentine's Day feast, this was Jesus' feast for us. He was the host and we were the guests, His intimate friends. This was Jesus’ way of saying “you are my best friends”, His way of communicating to His saints that He loves us. This is where Jesus calls us to meet Him.
I grew up with an understanding of God’s means of grace. This is a phrase you have probably heard before. If not, it basically means the ordinary, predictable ways that God communicates His grace to us.
See, God has instituted ways and means by which He communicates grace to us. There are places we can go and expect to find Him, correct? We know this. We know that while God communicates His glory generally through His creation, we cannot expect to find a knowledge and understanding of His grace wherever we want to. We must seek an understanding of God's grace where God has revealed it. One way God communicates His grace to us is through His Word, the Bible. This is the essential means of grace. Other means of grace include prayer and the sacraments (Baptism and the Lord's Supper). The Lord’s Supper is a special means of grace wherein through the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus reassures His saints of His love.
There’s a time to seek after Christ. There’s a time to pursue Him, run to Him in prayer, find Him in His Word. But there’s also a time to simply receive His love. There’s a time to revel in the joy and satisfaction of being found by Him. And the amazing thing is that God has given us opportunity for both. He gives us His Word, worship and prayer, means by which we can seek and find Him. But then He also gives us Baptism and the Lord's Supper, means by which we humbly receive His mercy and revel in the joy of His covenant love. It's easy to miss the point of the Lord's Supper if we think of it as something we're supposed to do or something we can do if we feel like it. Don't miss the spiritual necessity of this sacrament.
This is about remembering Jesus' death on our behalf.
This is a reminder from Jesus of how much He loves us.
It's a means of assurance for our faith in Jesus.
Don't miss it. If assurance is something you wrestle with, I submit to you that you need to reexamine the way you are receiving the Lord's Supper.
Let's not forget that Jesus designed and instituted this celebration and He is the one who invites His disciples--us, the redeemed--to celebrate with Him.