By Victor Knowles
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother . . .” (John 19:25).
Today is Mother’s Day. It is also the Lord’s Day. In this verse are three images: the cross, Jesus, and the mother of Jesus. Mary is positioned where we should be—“near the cross.”
The Lord’s Supper does something both wonderful and horrible for us. It brings us “near the cross.” The Lord’s table becomes Mount Calvary. The bread and cup become the beams of the cross. There is wonder and horror at the cross.
The wonder comes from the wonder of God’s love for us. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16). The horror hits us when we realize that Christ died for our sins.
What was Mary thinking when she stood near the cross? Perhaps she had a flashback to that day in the temple when Simeon took her child in his arms, blessed them, and shocked Mary with the words, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34, 35).
What are your thoughts today as you stand near the cross? Our thoughts and hearts are revealed to God during Communion. That’s why the apostle Paul wrote, “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
A soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear. A sword pierced Mary’s soul. Calvary is a piercing experience. The Lord’s Supper pierces our very soul because it reminds us Jesus was pierced for our sins.
The closer I get to the cross the more I realize the enormity of my sin. I am confronted with the fact that the cross of Jesus is all about the sins of Victor.
On the Day of Pentecost, Peter confronted the crowd with the message of the cross: “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). They were instantly “cut to the heart.” But when they repented and were baptized in the name of Christ, they received forgiveness for their sins.
Today we come to the table as a people who, like the 3,000 at Pentecost, have been forgiven of our sins. We are never nearer to the cross than when we partake together of the bread and cup. By faith we look up and say, “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.” In love Jesus looks down and says, “Bless you, Christian, for doing this ‘In remembrance of me.’”
Victor Knowles is founder and president of Peace on Earth Ministries, Joplin, Missouri. (This Communion meditation originally appeared in Christian Standard on May 11, 2008.)