Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (PS 103:1-5) NIV
Just as Jesus bore our sins, Jesus also bore our sicknesses so that we don’t need to bear them ourselves – paying the price for both.
His body was broken for our healing, and His blood was shed for our forgiveness.
Gloria and I have realised this is something we ought to remember every time we participate in the Lord’s supper/ communion. And that is something we now do daily. Usually just the two of us, but also shared with other believers when they visit, something that is happening more and more now we’ve chosen to meet with a local fellowship again.
Fellowship and the nature of it is also relevant to the way we take and receive the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians telling them:
…whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord, Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep (died). (1 Cor 11:28-30) NIV
I see two aspects to the issue of doing this in an “unworthy manner” – the first clearly dealt with in the Corinthians quote refers to the failure of members of the body of Christ to recognise and relate with each other, and ensuring that the needs of the less well-off are being met.
When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing?(1 Cor 11:17-22) NIV.
If we return to Psalm 103, following the excerpt I quoted at the top of the page, we read:
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed. (PS 103:6) NIV
The Lord is very clearly concerned with the way His people treat the less well off. Many of the rebukes against Israel found in the prophetic books, relate to their neglect of the poor, and Israel were punished for that neglect.
Paul, in his teaching about the Lord’s Supper restates the dangers of neglecting less well-off fellow body members.
The second aspect relates to what happened to Jesus’ body leading up to His crucifixion.
His execution and shedding of blood was prefigured in the sacrifice of a spotless lamb under the old covenant Law, however under that law the sacrificed animal wasn’t brutally tortured and disfigured prior to sacrifice.
Isaiah prophesied the brutality inflicted on Jesus, and what it was for.
People despised and avoided him,
a man of pains, well acquainted with illness.
Like someone from whom people turn their faces,
he was despised; we did not value him.
In fact, it was our diseases he bore,
our pains from which he suffered;
yet we regarded him as punished,
stricken and afflicted by God.
But he was wounded because of our crimes,
crushed because of our sins;
the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him,
and by his bruises (wounds/stripes) we are healed.
(Isaiah 53: 3-5) CJB
We also need to discern the body in this way – recognising that Jesus bore torturous treatment of His body prior to death and that treatment relates to the provision of healing. Healing provided within the same atonement through which forgiveness of sins were also made available – both being gifts of God’s grace, made accessible through faith.
Satan has very successfully talked the church out of believing God’s word regarding provision of healing and His revelation that HE wants His people to choose life.
Satan’s first tactic is always to get people to doubt God’s word, such as his temptation of Eve (and Adam who was with her).
He took the same approach with Jesus. (see below *)
We need to decide whose word we are going to believe – God’s, the One who came to give full life? Or the distortions and lies offered by the thief who comes only to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10).
Post Script: Above I said “I see two aspects to the issue of doing this in an “unworthy manner”. I have now been made aware of a third through some teaching I’ve just heard, so I might revisit this topic after I’ve checked out that teaching against scripture.
* Note that Satan came to the Lord in the wilderness and started his temptation of Jesus by challenging the very words God had spoken to Him at His baptism: “This is my Son…
Immediately after this Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where: “The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God…'”
That happened at the beginning of His ministry. The same thing was tried again at the climax of His ministry – during His death on the cross, this time by demonically inspired mockers. “ …save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”