Acts 2:42-47 — Despising the body of the Lord

As I continue thinking about the “Dones” (see the previous two blogs), there is another issue I think that’s easy to forget:  communion.  And we forget it because we don’t really think about all that communion means and symbolizes.

It says in Acts 2:42,

They devoted themselves to…the breaking of bread.

You could make the argument, I suppose, that the breaking of bread just meant eating meals together as seen in verse 46.  But if you look at I Corinthians 11, a lot of that dining together was an extension of sharing communion together.

What is communion?  It is remembering the night before Jesus was crucified, where upon taking the bread and breaking it, he said,

This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.  (I Corinthians 11:24)

And again, when taking the wine, he said,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.  (I Corinthians 11:25)

Here’s the thing to note about this:  communion was meant to be taken with other believers.  The bread was meant to be broken and shared.  Why?  I think one reason is it’s a sign that we all have a part in the body of Christ.  He died for each one of us who believe in him, not just the Christians you happen to like, or enjoy being with.

One wonders.  At the first communion table, how much did each of the disciples actually like each other right at that moment?

They had just finished arguing with each other about who was the greatest.  They had refused to wash each other’s feet, leaving Jesus to do it.  Also think of the personalities.  A person like Simon the Zealot trying to deal with a guy like Matthew.  One person who had sought the overthrow of the Roman government, while the other  had actually worked for the Roman government before they both dropped all to follow Jesus.

Such was the relationship between the disciples that he actually commanded them to love each other.  Had all of them had the closest of relationships, would he have actually had to say that to them?

Yet by taking communion together, it was a reminder, “We all have a part in Jesus.  We are all one in Christ.”

That’s why Paul got so upset with the Corinthians.  There were divisions among them with people arguing about which leader they followed.  In addition, the well off among them despised those who were poor, and in so doing, despised the church of God (I Corinthians 11:22).  They were despising people who were part of the same body that they were in.

And so Paul said,

Therefore, 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.  (I Corinthians 11:27)

What does it mean that they were guilty of sinning against the body and blood of Jesus?  Basically, it means they were sinning against Christ, by despising the body and blood that he sacrificed for us.

They were saying, “I know that you died for this person.  But what you did for them doesn’t matter to me.  I personally have no part with them.”

And with that attitude, we sin against the body of Christ that is the church.  Because other Christians, whether you like them or not, are part of his body.

When you are in a church with people that you are upset with, with people you don’t like, with people you violently disagree with, communion, taken correctly, forces you to reevaluate your attitudes toward your brothers and sisters.  For Paul wrote,

A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.  (I Corinthians 11:28).

And primarily, in the context of I Corinthians 11, that means examining your relationships with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

The “Dones” don’t do this.  If they take communion at all, they take it with those they like.  With those they agree with.  And they never examine their relationships with those they don’t.  They never make their peace with them.  Instead, they simply avoid them.  And in doing so, they despise the body and blood of Christ.

If you’re a “Done” that claims to follow Christ, here’s the test for you.  Would you take communion one on one with each person you used to be in church with?  And as you take it, can you say to that person, “We are one as Jesus and the Father are one.  We are in complete unity that the world may know that Jesus was sent by the Father.”  (John 17:21-23)

Even if you’re not a “Done”, how do you take communion?  Are your relationships with those you take it with right?  Are your relationships with your brothers and sisters at your local church right?  Or in your heart, are you despising the body and blood of the One who loved you so much that he gave his life, not only for you, but for those you despise as well?


About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください:
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