A Four-Way Stop Sign

By Greg Swinney

We can’t drive very far before seeing a road sign giving us a warning or directions. Yield, One Way, and Stop Ahead signs are all intended to help us arrive at our destination safely. Although four-way Stop signs are designed to direct traffic and help us avoid collisions, they may also offer a spiritual picture as we gather to share in the Lord’s Supper. Four-way Stop signs direct us to look in all directions at an intersection, and the Bible offers similar instructions at the table.

We are directed to look inward: “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28). Looking inward at our spiritual condition opens our eyes to see our need for his grace.

We are instructed to look outward: “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves” (1 Corinthians 11:29). We are pointed to see the body of Christ and remember the needs and testimonies of those near to us.

We are told to look forward to Christ’s return: “I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). Sharing in the Lord’s Supper reminds us a day is coming when we will join in the wedding feast of the Lamb and Jesus himself will be present.

And perhaps most importantly, we are told to look backward: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19). The emblems of Christ’s body and blood are a visual reminder of his sacrifice on our behalf.

Just as four-way Stop signs urge us to look in all directions, the Lord’s Supper today admonishes us to see the eternal significance of this special meal and look inward, outward, forward, and backward. In this moment, our physical life intersects with a spiritual road that beckons us to stop and take a good look around. Which direction do you need to look today?


Greg Swinney serves as ministry facilitator with Crossroads International Student Ministries, Kearney, Nebraska.

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1 Comment

  1. David Cole
    October 18, 2015 at 5:23 am

    We look forward to our joining the throng in Heaven at the table of the Lord when we leave this physical world. But it’s bad theology to say we look forward to Christ’s return. Christ emphatically said he would return in “this generation” meaning the 1st Century generation he was referring to.

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