By Tom Claibourne
“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
As the dramatic events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross began quickly to unfold, our Savior caused each person around him to examine himself and make important choices.
During his last Passover meal, Jesus prompted uncomfortable introspection for his disciples with his shocking statement, “One of you will betray me.” Stomachs churned. Heart rates increased. Minds raced. Mouths muttered the fearful inquiry, “Lord, is it I?” With a single statement Jesus caused his closest companions to look deep within their souls.
Later that evening, as the mob arrested Jesus in the garden, the same men were forced to decide if they would stand with him when the heat was on. They all fled the scene.
The next day during the public trials, Jesus turned the tables on the governor who was presiding over the spectacle and made him decide what he would do about the truth, an innocent prisoner, and an angry mob. The crowd of religious leaders, ordinary citizens, and curious onlookers was also given a choice to make regarding Jesus.
Jesus even gave the two thieves dying beside him on their own crosses the opportunity to accept or reject him. They made drastically different choices.
After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were forced to examine their own heart and priorities, and decide if they would now go public with their faith, or continue to worry about their reputations, careers, and personal safety. Apparently the truth Jesus had spoken and the agony he willingly suffered prompted them to respond with trust, courage, and loyalty.
We too have a lot to consider as we ponder Jesus’ sacrificial death for us. The Lord’s Supper is not a time to look around. It is a time to look within and ask probing questions.
Do I fail to speak up for Jesus?
Do I waiver in my service and commitment?
Do I bring disgrace on Jesus’ name?
Do I ignore God’s call?
Am I one person at work and another at church?
Is it I who fails Jesus?
The Lord’s table is a place for introspection and decisions. What will you see and decide today?
Tom Claibourne serves as preaching minister with the Bethlehem Church of Christ near Winchester, Ohio.