Thoughts On The Lord’s Supper 2…

menu 3 (1-8-18)

Some fancy restaurants don’t have prices on the menu.
You order without knowing the true cost.
You imagine that something simple like a bowl of pasta or a salad
“can’t be THAT expensive”–even with the lavender honey & carmelized nuts–but it is.
It always is at these types of restaurants.

We’re shocked at the end of the meal when the bill comes.
We thought the evening would never end, we enjoyed the food & drink so much.
But the bill comes, and its price tag is more than we can afford.
Even Bill Gates’ currency is worthless here.
No amount of washing dishes can pay it off.

We must pay, or someone must pay for us.

That is a picture of all humans in life.
We make decisions not really understanding the true cost/consequences.
We sin, and we either don’t think it’s sin at all,
or we assume our sin can’t be THAT expensive, can’t be THAT big of a deal.

But it is. It always is.

When the bill eventually comes,

  • our credit card will be declined,
  • our wads of cash will have turned into Monopoly money,
  • our checks will bounce,
  • and our evening dress & tux will be filthy rags.

We will have no shirt, no shoes, and thus no service forever.

The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ shows us how expensive our sin is.
Christ alone can pay our bill, our spiritual debt to God the Father.
That, and nothing less, is what we celebrate at the Lord’s Supper, loved ones.

A local church’s communion table should be open, not to “perfect” Christians,
but to repentant sinners who have cried out in faith to the perfect Christ.

But what does it look like to receive the Lord Jesus as Savior & King
by grace alone through faith alone?

In keeping with the restaurant illustration,
imagine that you’ve been at that fancy restaurant (without the prices on the menus), you’ve been gorging on the cuisine & having a great time,
and all of a sudden you realize your situation
and the meal you had been feasting on moments earlier
starts to look repulsive to you.

You begin to push the plate away & inch back from the table,
you’re not really sure what’s happening to you,
you see the number at the bottom of the bill
(has it been on the table the whole time?)

and you realize you cannot pay it
but you also realize that you must pay it,
that it is your bill,
not your neighbor’s…
all of you at the table are going dutch, as it were—
all must pay their own bill for what each ordered and feasted on.

You realize this with a strange but crystal clarity,
you look around at the doors to the restaurant
that swung so easily & smoothly & effortlessly to let you in,
and those same doors seem like vaults
whose hinges will not swing the other way to let you out.

You look around at the restaurant’s corner table,
“the place of honor”
which you so eagerly desired when you arrived
& were so thrilled to be seated at earlier,
you look at that corner table and realize now that you are cornered.

Your bank account’s not big enough,
you cannot wash enough dishes to ay off your meal,
and your appetite is even starting to leave you,
you see others continuing their merry time & laughter
and the whole scene is not quite funny anymore…

you simply want out of the restaurant,
you want your freedom back,
but you also know, strangely, you understand deep down
that you have never really been free ever before…
you realize the cheese isn’t freedom, it’s always been part of the trap.

You also see the waiter walking across the room to collect payment,
payment that you know you do not and will not ever have,

and then all of a sudden a Man,
Who you casually noticed at times before,
a forgettable-looking Man Who you always assumed was the bus-boy
(because you condescendingly witnessed Him doing so much
cleaning and wiping down and mopping up),

this Man sits next to you,
between you and the door, and,
as if reading your mind, simply says,

“Give Me your bill.
I alone can pay it.

Don’t look at the door, I am the Door. 
Don’t look for another way out, I am the Way.
Don’t pretend your bill isn’t true (it is!), I am the Truth.
Don’t try to save your life, I am the Life.

Put away your wallet—it cannot save you.
Put down the rags—you cannot work off this bill.
Put down the soap–you cannot clean up this mess.

Give the bill to Me.

Agree and admit that it is your bill,
that you made those orders,
that you consumed all that you did,
that you wanted to consume all that you didn’t yet,
don’t blame the receipt on someone else.

Take responsibility for your orders, and give it all to Me.

Don’t compare what you ate to others,
don’t justify & think your “low-calorie/healthy” meals
are somehow less expensive than the fast-food other tables ordered,
don’t rely on your sophisticated manners or trendy outfit,
don’t trust in your negotiating techniques and ability to reason…

I alone can pay…the entire bill…the tax, the tip, the total.
Every order you made,
every bite you took,
every appetizer you enjoyed,
every drink you guzzled,
even the things you ordered that haven’t reached your table yet…

I can pay for it all.

I can pay the bill
and get you out of the corner table,
out of the restaurant,
and change even your taste buds and eating habits
to a different menu and restaurant and Chef,

where you feast on Me,
where by faith you eat Me the Bread of Life
and by faith you drink My blood and the Living Waters I offer,
water that quenches your thirst forever
and is a spring within you welling up to eternal life.

Give your bill
and your orders
and your meal
and the contents of your stomach
and the stains on your clothes
and your soiled napkins
and even your very taste buds & cravings for more,
give it all to Me.”

And you are speechless,
utterly confused/bewildered
and yet at the same time seeing reality
with a never-before-experienced 20/20 clarity,
almost as if you are seeing for the very first time.

“Why?”, you ask. “WHY!?”

And the Man replies, “Because I love My Father…

…and because I love you.

In full view of your lengthy bill…

…at unimaginable cost to Myself & My Father…

I can pay for you because I love you.”

THAT is what we celebrate at the Lord’s Supper, at communion, my dear friends.

That and nothing less.

Do you see how this can NEVER be boring,
do you see how this table should never be routine for us,
that we should never be casual & flippant
as we remember & celebrate
the sweat & blood spilled by the Lord Jesus for sinners like us?

Have you given Him your bill?

Regardless for how long you have attended a local church,
regardless of what fantastic Christians your parents or relatives or friends are/were,
have you personally given your personal bill to the Lord Jesus?

Do you understand the cost of what you have ordered in the past,
do you still think that the bill is small,
that you can either pay for it or work it off yourself,
do you still think the coupon/gift card in your pocket
means you can keep ordering at no personal cost?

But you say, “Of course I have given Him my bill–I believe in Him…
and I’m in a local church right now!”

Oh my dear friends, I am so glad you are in a local church,
but that by itself doesn’t mean you have given Him your bill…

I’ve visited friends in a hospital,
I’ve been in a hospital gift shop,
I’ve even eaten food at a hospital cafeteria,
I’ve been in a hospital before,
But that doesn’t mean that I am healthy, that I am well, that I am healed…

Even the demons believe in Him, but they shudder…
they know He is real, they know the Truth of what Christ did on the cross,
but they aren’t happy about it, they don’t worship Him alone,
they have repented & cried out to Him for mercy,
they haven’t given Him their bill…

And if, by faith alone, you truly have given your bill to Christ Jesus alone,
are you trying to sneak back in to the old restaurant on your way Home?

Are you still wolfing down the special of the day
that everyone else is gorging on?

Are you still clutching that “doggy bag” of leftovers from the old menu,
the old restaurant, the old recipes of sin?

Do you still have the restaurant saved in the search history of your heart’s GPS
so you can drop in for a quick bite every now and then
when you are tired of the same Bread of Life & Living Waters of Christ?

Do you still have a stash of special sauce packets from the old restaurant
that you use to “add some flavor” to your new eating habits,
to give a kick to the Chef’s cuisine?

Throw it out, my friends—
thrown all those lust-leftovers at the feet of the Lord Jesus…

cry out to Him to refresh your tastebuds,
cry out to Him to pump your stomach of the poison you still crave,
ask Him by faith to resurrect your appetite for Him alone,
and to restore to you the joy of His salvation,
the peace that you once had when you saw Him sign your receipt: “Paid in full.”

Think your tab is too high? The Lord Jesus’ love is higher.
Think you’ve sunk too low? The Lord Jesus’s love went lower on the cross.
Think you’ve eaten & drunk too much?
The Lord Jesus drank your punishment down to the last drop.

Is your faith weak?

The weakest faith in Christ gets the same strong Savior (Charles Spurgeon).

Is your faith non-existent?

Our Father specializes in creating something out of nothing—
He did it to the universe and He can do it to our non-existent faith!

Oh my friends, the Lord Jesus was not born on earth
in order to improve our table manners/behavior
while we gorge at the world’s buffet of sin…

He came to pay the bill of all who will receive Him,
He came to make us new
and get us out the corner table & restaurant,
to set us free,
to give His life as a ransom for many…

This is why, just two chapters after the glorious passage of Isaiah 53
that talks about the suffering & death of the Lord Jesus,
this is why Isaiah 55 says this,

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.

Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David…

Seek the Lord while he may be found;

    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Please reflect on this now, my friends…

The waiter is on the way to collect your payment for your bill…

Give it to the Bus-Boy,
the risen God-Man Jesus,
and He will pay it in full,
He will carry you out of the restaurant,
and He will bring you Home with Him forever…

1 Corinthians 11:23-24

“23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

“This is my body, which is for you;
do this in remembrance of me.”

“25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood;
do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

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