21 May, 2024

Remembering Excellence

by | 16 April, 2019 | 1 comment

By Stuart Powell

Have you noticed the prevalence of sorrow-filled information that surrounds us? The daily news is laden with violence, and much popular entertainment is dark. Many of our words, even in church, are glum . . . almost heartbreaking. Most of our prayers are petitions for the sick and pleas for God to comfort those who have endured loss. Bible studies and sermons highlight the risks we face from cultural evils.

This shouldn’t surprise us, for the brokenness of sin warps the human mind. The effects of sin direct our focus to violence and death. Our culture seems obsessed with evil. Even when we share in the Lord’s Supper, our thoughts seldom linger on the fruit of Jesus’ passion. Instead, we often wallow in the ugliness of our collective sin which led our Savior to that cruel death.

Why not adopt a new approach? When we gather for Communion, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to guide our meditations. Especially at Easter, the Spirit reminds us that the pain of Good Friday is overshadowed by the jubilation of Resurrection Sunday. He reminds us that Jesus transformed the curse of the cross into the hope of eternal life. Let’s rejoice that the desperation of the grave was redeemed into an expectation of eternal life through the resurrection. The blood of Jesus was not just the necessary means to forgive all our sins, but also the process God used to re-create every believer as holy and justified.

Paul, writing from a Roman prison, challenged the Philippian believers to saturate their thinking with eight facets of God’s good news:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things (Philippians 4:8, New English Translation).

Jesus’ sacrifice was not a necessary evil. The message of grace is more than good news. The gospel is true, respectable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. God’s grace is all the things upon which Paul encouraged the Philippian believers to meditate.

Our participation in the loaf and the cup to remember the body and blood of Jesus’ sacrifice should fill us with hope, joy, and a longing for the completion of God’s plan. This celebration should fill us with passion to boldly share the message of Jesus’ grace with everyone we meet.

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

Stuart Powell

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.

1 Comment

  1. john allcott

    The Lord’s supper is to remember his suffering.
    Of course we need to rejoice in the resurrection, but focusing on Jesus’ pain is just as needed.
    Paul wrote at least as often about Jesus’ death as he did the resurrection.
    There are nine verses in the NT with the words ‘Christ’ and ‘crucified’ in them, not to mention all of the other passages that refer to his death in other words.
    The Lord’s supper is about remembering Jesus’ suffering.

    1 Corinthians 11:26
    For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

    1 Corinthians 10:16
    The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

    Mark 14:22-24
    And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

    Luke 22:19-20
    And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

    Which of those passages mention the resurrection?
    This is what the Lord’s supper is for:

    Hebrews 12:3
    Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

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