17 April, 2024

Take Communion and Take Heart

by | 18 September, 2023 | 0 comments

By Doug Redford 

One of the marvels of modern technology is how it allows us to communicate with other people and receive information. Grandparents can communicate with their grandchildren who live thousands of miles away. We can receive instant instruction on how to do any number of tasks around the house, whether preparing meals or doing car repair. We can watch news stories and sporting events from around the world as they are happening. 

One downside of this is the constant exposure to the turmoil and tragedy that characterizes much of our world. Watching the news is no longer limited to an hour or two a day; we can see news stories unfolding 24/7. If we are not vigilant, such sights day after day can take a spiritual toll on us. They can cause us to forget that, as Paul wrote, “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). 

Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). That seems rather obvious; anyone could draw that conclusion. It’s what Jesus said before and after that statement that makes it so noteworthy. Before it, Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” After it, he said, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  

On the night Jesus made this statement, a special kind of “trouble” awaited him, and he knew exactly what it was: his arrest and eventual death by crucifixion. On that same night, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper with his disciples. In just a few hours, it would look as if Jesus had been overcome, that his enemies had succeeded in silencing his voice and erasing his influence. But three days later, that voice and that influence returned in resurrection power.  

Ask yourself, “What is it about life in this world that tends to make me feel overcome?” That answer will vary from person to person. You can likely give more than one response. Each of us has personal circumstances or situations involving family or friends or ourselves that can weigh us down, that illustrate the “trouble” that accompanies life in this world. 

Jesus contrasted life “in this world” where there is trouble with life “in me” where there is peace. Communion offers us the opportunity to remember that while we must live in this troubled world, we have also chosen to live in Jesus, in the kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36).  

As we take Communion together, let us also, as Jesus said, “take heart.” The Overcomer has made each of us overcomers. 

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 

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