COMMUNION WITH THE LORD, a Devotion for 9 August 2018 Anno Domini
St. Andrews Anglican Parish Church, Enterprise, AL
“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,” (Luke 24:30-33; all scripture quoted is form the King James Version)
“ . . . Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.” ( Proverbs 20:13)
Partaking of the Lord’s Supper and Communion of the Saints (if we are able to find one in our day) is of vital importance for our personal edification and the health of the Church. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25) The counsels of the devil are always conceived by him for our ruin. – “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
Yes, their eyes were opened and they began to know good from evil, but they did not become as God. Their eyes were opened now to their sin and depravity – their nakedness and in need of a covering for it. “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 3:7) Unfortunately, fig leaves, or any other man made device, were not sufficient to cover neither their nakedness nor their sins. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21). There had been no death enter the Garden until Adam sinned. His sin brought on death to all living things. God sacrificed an innocent animal (perhaps a lamb) to cover the nakedness (or sin) of Adam and Eve. This is a foreshadowing of the necessity for a Redeemer in the form of the Lamb of God. Their eyes were opened to sin – how much more joyful when they are opened to the Bread of Life. How repugnant to God was the killing of one of His beautiful and totally innocent creatures.
There is an account in the Book of Genesis of the eyes of another being opened to salvation. Those were the eyes of poor Hagar, the servant girl of Sarah, who had given birth to a son for Abraham. This son was Ishmael and not the promised Seed which God had promised to both Abraham and Sarah. Sarah, seeing that Ishmael was jealous of Isaac, demanded that Abraham send the child and his mother, Hagar, away. This matter grieved Abraham, but God told him to do as Sarah said. So he sent her away with bread, and a bottle of water, and she wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba until the water was exhausted the child was near death. “And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.” (Genesis 21:16)
Only a mother can appreciate the pain and grief of Hagar’s heart – and the Lord does as well. When the water is spent and hope fails, we lift our voices in despair. Do you believe that the God who allows not a sparrow to fall to the earth without His knowledge does not know when one made after His image falls into despair? He will come to you in your moments of greatest need. Often He waits till the need is great to show forth His great Glory and Grace. Though it was Hagar who wept, it was the voice of the innocent child that the Lord heard: “. . . For God heard the voice of the lad where he is.” (Genesis 21:17) If we are earnest but know not the way to find the Lord, He will find US. “And the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar?”(Genesis 21:17) God wants to hear our confession of our predicament though He knows it already. This is for our own good and understanding. “Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand . . .” (Genesis 21:18) We pray for those we love. We, too, must be a party to their coming to Christ as His Lower Lights. “And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” (Gen 21:19).
Hagar’s eyes were opened to the water of life in Beersheba. The well of water had always been there, but she was blinded to it by her tears. Often God provides the very answers to our distress but we fail to see it due to our blinding tears. God is definitely in the business of opening eyes, but He desires that we make appeal and hear His Voice. He opened the eyes of Balaam to an Angel. (Numbers 22:31). He opened the eyes of the servant of Elisha to see a host of bright angels protecting them from the enemy host. He blinded the eyes of the enemy to allow their defeat and capture, and He opened their eyes to observe their defeat by God’s people. (2 Kings 6:15-20).
But to God’s people, He opens their eyes to beauty and great wonders: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalms 119:18). As we studied in the morning devotion from the Gospel of Luke 24:13-35, God opens our eyes through our partaking of the Bread and Wine of Life symbolically and actually spiritually present in the elements of the Communion. We saw how the eyes of the two men of Emmaus were opened when “he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.” (Luke 24:31)
What a wonderful allusion to the Lord’s Supper! Their eyes were opened and they KNEW Him! They knew He was with them and, even though He vanished from visual sight, He was present in spiritual form with them and abode with them as He does with us. Does your heart burn within your breast when Christ has revealed Himself to you? “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” When He talks with us by the way, and opens to us the Scriptures, do we not KNOW He is with us?
The Sacrament of Holy Communion is an essential aspect of our love and worship of Christ. More than this, it is a commandment of the Lord that we do so: “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Our eyes are more opened to His presence among us when we receive, aright, the Bread and Wine of the Communion. It does represent, powerfully, His Body and Blood given for us. “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20). Receiving the Communion is not a casual favor you pay to God; it is a duty and a means of Grace. Would you have your eyes opened on Galilee’s shore? Receive the Bread of Life. Would you have your heart burn within your breast at His Loving presence? Make your heart His abode at Emmaus, or wherever your feet wonder. As He called Bartimaeus, He calls to you: “. . . Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.” (Mark 10:49)
Our Lord’s Supper is symbolic of love and sacrifice; but we must remember that the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, is not a renewed sacrifice of our Lord. His sacrifice was “once and for all.” The prayer uttered by the officiant at the Lord’s Table does not magically transform the elements of Bread and Wine into the actual, physical Body of the Lord. (Transubstantiation). His Body and Blood are spiritually present with great power during the Supper. Our crosses do not display Christ still nailed thereon, for He did not remain on the cross. He arose from the borrowed Garden Tomb in the same way that His Elect shall arise from their borrowed tombs at the Last Trump of the Trumpet. It is my prayer that you will answer muster on that day.