by Ben Bowden, Marketing Assistant
Charles H. Spurgeon was a renowned English preacher of the nineteenth century. No preacher since has been as widely cited for devotions and sermons. I recently had the privilege to read and reflect on Spurgeon’s Sermons on the Lord’s Supper.
At the Last Supper, the disciples experienced the presence of Jesus. They shared three intimate experiences together: they ate food, they prayed, and they even sang. The disciples were used to his presence because they had been with Jesus for three years. Experiencing Jesus in this way is something we can barely imagine. We long to know him in the same obvious and tangible way, in the way that Thomas so desperately wanted to after the resurrection.
We Desire to Be Part of the Family
Through his death, Jesus has redeemed us. Spurgeon says, “The infinite gift of God’s own Son is a far greater one than all that can be included in the term ‘all things.’” What could we possibly want more than to be in communion with Christ, to be in his presence?
The Lord’s Supper, often called communion, is meant to be a communion of the believer with Christ. To be a Christian is to desire this closeness and intimacy with him. Spurgeon says that the Lord’s Supper is also intended to be a communion among believers, bringing together brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus is at the center of a circle, and as everybody gets closer to him they also get closer to each other.
We want to be in his presence because we know what it’s like to be away from him. We don’t like to be alone. In fact, Genesis tells us that God made a companion for Adam because “It is not good that man should be alone.” We were made to be part of a family! When we are outside of Christ, as Spurgeon says, we are orphans without a father to provide for us, guide us, or protect us. Jesus himself knew what it was like to be alone. In the garden of Gethsemane, when Judas comes to betray Jesus, the disciples scatter and abandon him. Even those who said they would remain with him fled. Even more than this loneliness in the garden, however, Jesus experienced what it was like to be away from God when he was on the cross. His cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” shows the desperation we feel when we are not with God.
The Holy Spirit Unites the Family
The Lord’s Supper offers the chance to commune with and be close to God regularly, but it’s important to remember that we have Christ with us daily in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is Christ’s representative on earth, as Spurgeon puts it. The Lord’s Supper is a special time for us to come to God, but he is daily coming to us through the Spirit. When he does visit, our hearts are happy and we experience “peace, then rest, and then joy of soul.”
Families are joined by a common spirit of unity that covers them, and are united by the blood that runs through them. The same is true for the family of God. But for Christians, it is the Spirit that runs through us and blood that covers us. The same blood we remember when we come to the Lord’s Table.
Today, we have a passion to grow close to and know Jesus in the same way the disciples did. Although we must wait until heaven for this intimacy, we should be emboldened by the presence of the Spirit. We should remember that since coming to God we are no longer orphans, but sons and daughters. We are no longer alone, but we are part of the family God. How great it is when that family comes together to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
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