I Come Expecting Jesus

For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NLT)

The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is not without controversy. There have been debates over its meaning and significance for centuries. There have been various interpretations regarding the elements of Communion. Segments of the church believe them to be literal, while others see them as only symbolic.

The result is that there are churches that have deemphasized The Lord’s Supper to such an extent that it is thought of as a memorial and something that must be “checked off” periodically.

One of the arguments often heard in opposition to a frequent celebration or remembrance of Communion is that it will become a rote, dry ritual devoid of life and meaning. Indeed, that is a possibility, but it cannot be attributed to a frequent observance of the Lord’s Supper.

I will not presume to speak for you but let me put it this way. I enjoy kissing my wife. We have been married for 38 years, and I still look forward with great anticipation to kissing her. It doesn’t get old for me, and it doesn’t take on the form of a ritual or routine because we are in love. It is not just about the kiss but about the person I love.

If Communion has become routine in mundane, it is not the observance of Communion, but instead, it is because we are not as much in love with the Lord as we once were.

A Time of Remembrance and Examination

“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24 (NIV)

Life is busy and full of distractions. Communion is when we can direct our hearts and minds to what should have tremendous significance for us as followers of Christ. The sacrifice that Christ made at Calvary brought us life and hope. Communion is a time for remembrance and reflection but also for self-examination.

When I was young, there were times when I looked at the communion table with dread because they would often read from 1 Corinthians 11:27. In the King James, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”

To younger, less sophisticated minds, there is a world of difference between partaking unworthily and unworthy, as translated in more recent versions. I would then begin to think of all the times I fought with my brothers and sisters or was disobedient to my parents and wondered if I should just let the elements go by.

Paul did not write this warning to discourage people from participating in Communion. Still, instead, we are to make an effort to examine ourselves as far as our inward life is concerned. We must consider our relationships with others in the body of Christ and, most importantly, have a deep and abiding appreciation and thankfulness for what was accomplished by Christ on the cross.

Heaven Meets Earth

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Matthew 10:7 (NIV)

The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper should be a time when we sense the presence of Jesus in a real and powerful way. We know that he has always promised to be with us, and when we gather together, he is present.

Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven has come near,” and “the kingdom of God is in your midst.” God and heaven are not so far away. It may be that there is a veil that separates heaven and earth. We have experienced moments, perhaps when celebrating Communion or during times of revival, when the veil seems translucent. We sense the presence of Jesus in a real and powerful way.

This is consistent with our Pentecostal heritage. There are recorded testimonies of miracles and healings that took place during the celebration of Communion. Dr. Chris Green offers this observation:

First, although they did not devote any considerable energy to articulating how it might be so, first-generation Pentecostals unquestionably did believe the Lord was personally present at his Table. The Lord’s Supper was not primarily – still less only – a memorialistic rite. Instead, the congregation’s celebration of the Communion meal was believed to be a means of Christ’s ongoing ministry, a sacred moment in which the risen Lord in all his power gave himself to his church, nourishing it with his own life.[1]

If we had the same expectation today, I think that we would be celebrating the Lord’s supper every time we met.

Come Expecting Jesus

It should be with joy and expectancy that we approach the Lord’s Table. If it comes to where it is routine and dry for us, the problem lies with our affections and not with the Table. Frequent visits to the Table will be life-changing when our hearts are properly aligned because we believe and expect God to meet us there.

Our preparation and consideration coming to the Table should encompass more than just our state of holiness. We need to account for our relationship with others, and there should always be an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the great sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

Finally, the Table should remind us that we are called to be living sacrifices and that we should be ready to be broken by bread and poured out like wine for the Master’s purposes.

There is nothing that God asked us to do that is without purpose and benefit. Communion is much more than symbolic or a memorial. It is the anticipation of receiving from Jesus himself so that we can be fed and nourished and, in return, feed and nourish the nations.

I come expecting Jesus
To meet me in this place
I come expecting to receive
His mercy and His grace
When I eat the bread and drink the wine
It will be a holy moment in time
I come expecting Jesus
To meet me in this place[2]

 

Steve Ekeroth

 

[1] Green, C. E. (2012). Toward a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord’s Supper: Foretasting the Kingdom [Kindle]. Amsterdam University Press.
[2] John Chisum, Nancy Gordon / Threefold Music / Mother’s Heart Music / ASCAP

3 Comments

  1. Stan on January 13, 2023 at 11:27 am

    Blessings from Nicaragua. Excellent word friend. Where there is Communion there is His presence.

    • Steve Ekeroth on January 13, 2023 at 11:32 am

      Thank you for your kind words. We are praying for you and the ministry in Nicaragua. Blessings.

  2. Rev Jan Michael Nace on January 13, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    All I can say is “Wow!” What a powerful presentation. We teach Christ’s Presence in the Communion but not a literal transformation of the elements. In other words, He meets with us. God is working with you Steve.

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