Wednesday, April 6, 2011

You Are Not Alone

By Allen White

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29

With the common elements of their Passover dinner, Jesus illustrated His sacrifice. He picked up a piece of bread that was unleavened, because the Israelites didn’t have time to allow their bread to rise before their escape from Egypt (Exodus 12:39). He told them, “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26).

Every time they celebrated the Passover, or ate any bread for that matter, Jesus wanted them to remember His broken body. Just like Jesus’ disciples need daily nutrition, we also need God’s grace. When we eat our toast for breakfast or our sandwich for lunch, Jesus wants us to remember how He has provided for all of our physical and spiritual needs. He paid the ultimate price, so that we don’t have to.

Next Jesus raised His glass and said that it resembled the blood that He would shed to provide a new and better covenant with His people (Hebrews 7:21-22). This time His grace would sustain us in a way that obeying the Law could not (Romans 6:14).

Jesus still expects His followers to obey His commands (John 14:23), but He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. That’s not to make an excuse. “I just sinned in a colossal way and blew out my marriage, oh well, nobody’s perfect.” Give me a break.

Jesus gives us everything that we need to live our lives for Him, if we are willing. As we grow closer to Christ, we desire the things of God – not more religious activity or time in the church building – but when God’s nature begins to become second nature to us, we’re getting it.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a long way to go. Our work is not to try harder and pretend better. Our work is more difficult than that, especially for Type A personalities: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). There are no easy steps to remaining. In fact, there are no steps at all. Jesus has provided all that we need. It’s our job to tap into His provision.

What do you need? What fruit would you like to see accomplished in your life? How well are you connected to the vine? The connection to Christ is the key.

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