One of my favorite passages is Psalm 107:1-2, which states, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (NKJV). In addition to being among my favorite verses, these verses are also intriguing. The Psalmist instructs his audience to give thanks to God. It seems like one of the last things the people of God would have to be instructed to do is give thanks. However, time and time again the people were given the command to give thanks to the Lord. This suggests that God’s people were not in the habit of giving thanks to the Lord.
Today, Christians have to be reminded “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” As good and merciful as God is, why would God’s word have to remind us to give thanks? An attitude of ingratitude seems to be pervasive in our culture. Here are three things to keep in mind as we seek to have grateful hearts.
The Reason Why We Look Back
The last supper, the Lord’s Supper, communion, and Eucharist are some of the names used to describe the eating of bread and drinking of the fruit of the grape vine that Jesus initiated on the Thursday night of His betrayal by Judas. The Lord’s Supper enables us to connect to God in worship in a unique and powerful way. As Christians, we sometimes miss the connection that the communion provides. It becomes easy for our minds to race and wander. We can fall into the routine of getting our cracker and juice, resulting in the communion becoming a thoughtless act. Communion is anything but routine. Communion is a look back.
As Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover meal, it was not the fact that Jesus took the bread that was special. It is significant that Jesus redefines the meaning of the bread. No longer would it be about leaving Egypt. It would be about leaving sin. It would be a way for the Christian to identify with the death of Christ. It would be an acknowledgement of the personalization of the sacrifice of Jesus.
When we eat of the bread, it’s personal. In Luke’s account Jesus says my body is given for you (22:19). In the taking of the bread there is the realization that Jesus gave His body to be broken on the cross, so that we, in and through Him, might have life.
Jesus then gives new meaning to the cup taken after the meal. It would now be the blood that would save us from our sins. He says, this is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many. The communion is for those who are a part of the new covenant. It is for those who have accessed forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus (Acts 2:38).
The sacrifice of Jesus brought about a new covenant. So to drink from the cup is to share in this covenant of blood. The eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup is an act of renewing our covenant allegiance to the Lord. This allegiance is to the exclusion of all other religious allegiances (1 Cor. 10:21). Religiously speaking, one can’t be a Christian and be something else too. The church is the people of the new covenant who have a new meal. The meal is for those who share in the covenant.
Jesus says “This do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). The Lord’s Supper is a memorial. The present experience of eating the bread and drinking the cup is based on a past event. This idea is further illuminated when we consider Exodus 12:14 in reference to the Passover, “So this day shall be to you a memorial and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.” The Lord’s Supper is not merely a reminder of the past. But as a memorial it signifies that the past is brought into the present and has lasting benefits even as we speak.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.