By Tom Claibourne
If there was ever a place to be filled with humility, it is at the Lord’s table. It is not a place for judgmental comparisons, selfish pride, or spiritual arrogance. The Lord’s Supper puts us all on the same level by putting each of us in our place.
The simple emblems ordained by Jesus remind us why he died. They call us to reflect on the apostle Paul’s stunning acknowledgment: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” The Lord’s table prompts us to confess, “I am as well.”
The Lord’s Supper puts us in our place in relation to God.
It reminds us we are sinners. We have rebelled against the authority of the Lord God. We have broken his law and his heart. We deserve his wrath and punishment. The wages of sin is death. We need mercy, not justice. We could not save ourselves from our helpless plight. The Lord’s Supper forces us to recall the verdict once again: “Guilty!”
But at the Lord’s table, we also celebrate that Jesus rescued us, changing our status.
Therefore, the Lord’s Supper also reminds us we are forgiven sinners. Jesus voluntarily took our punishment. His blood paid our ransom price. He took our place so we could take his place in the Father’s presence by having his righteousness credited to us (2 Corinthians 5:21). We rejoice in such selfless love and saving grace. The Lord Jesus puts us in a new place of forgiveness and hope.
But we are not alone there.
The Lord’s Supper also puts us in our place in relation to others.
Those gathered with us at the table are sinners like us. Though our sins may differ in kind and degree, we all once shared a helpless desperation as sinners deserving punishment. Now grace puts us in a new place together, and the Lord’s Supper celebrates that.
It reminds us we are forgiven sinners sharing hope.
We share a new life we couldn’t have obtained on our own. We have received grace so we can demonstrate grace. We have been shown mercy so we can be merciful. We kneel on level ground at the Lord’s table, humbly grateful, and humbly gracious toward one another.
Then through us, as forgiven sinners, Christ Jesus displays his unlimited patience as an example for those who would see, respond in submission, and receive eternal life.
And God’s story continues to unfold as others join us in the place of forgiveness, and around the table. It’s a good place to be.
Tom Claibourne has shared the Lord’s Supper with other forgiven sinners at the Bethlehem Church of Christ near Winchester, Ohio, since 1979.