On the first Sunday of every month, we take time during our church service to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Scripture commands us to do so regularly. It brings glory to God and is good for our souls.
In this blog I’m challenging each person in our church to spend some time late Saturday or early Sunday meditating in preparation for the Lord’s Supper.
Meditation is the act of disciplining our minds to think about something specific. We are so easily given to impulsive thoughts, and that inclination should prompt us to discipline our thoughts in meditation. So take some time to prepare to take Communion by meditating on some or all of what follows. At the conclusion, I’ll prescribe specific meditations for specific circumstances.
We should meditate on the wickedness of sins. Our transgressions should not be taken lightly. God has taken them most seriously, and He offered up His Son because of them. As we prepare for the Lord’s Supper, we should meditate on why we need the Supper. We need it because we are sinners. We are lawbreakers. Our hearts are inclined to rebellion (Romans 3:9-20). Our sin brought our Lord to His knees to sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Our sin exposed Him on the cross. Our sin killed the Lord .
We should meditate on the severity of God’s judgment. Our Saviour found Himself in the cross-hairs of God’s wrath. With precision God fired His angry arrow at the Saviour. God cannot pass by sin. He did not spare His Son. He must execute His judgment on sin. He did execute it on the cross. He burns with everlasting fire against sinners (Joshua 7:1). It is a dreadful thing to fall into His hands (Hebrews 10:31). He is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He put Christ forward to display His righteous judgment for sin (Romans 3:26).
We should meditate on the infinite love of God. In love, God rescued us, His people. The cross was God’s greatest act of love. This is love that God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10). He sacrificed His Son for us. He so loved us that He gave His only begotten so that by believing in Him we do not stand condemned but we have eternal life and the forgiveness of sin (John 3:16-17).
We should meditate on the infinite wisdom of God. In wisdom, God found a way to lovingly rescue us. There was no other way to reconcile our fallen race with the righteous Creator. The cross displays the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). It is wisdom that was concealed for ages but in the fullness of time was revealed in the person and work of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:7). The crucifixion of the God-man Jesus Christ was the only possible way to save us (1 Timothy 2:5). In the cross, God put His infinite wisdom on display (1 Corinthians 1:24).
We should meditate on the infinite love of Christ. Christ left heaven’s glory to give Himself up for us. He humbled Himself by taking on flesh to have His flesh flayed and pierced on our behalf (Philippians 2:8; Colossians 1:21-22). He was obedient to the Father even to the point of death to purchase our salvation. He gave up His riches for poverty to make us poor sinners rich. Christ’s love conquers all things and has purchased all things for us (Ephesians 1:3).
We should meditate on the results of all the above. It all culminates in eternal blessing for God’s elect which brings glory to God. We have peace with God through the blood of the cross (Colossians 1:20). We are not crushed under the guilt of our sin. Even our darkest and most shameful sins have been removed from us. Christ’s righteousness is counted to us (Philippians 3:9). We anticipate an end to all our suffering. We will glory in the presence of God for all eternity. We have no shame, no fear, no guilt. Instead we have righteousness, hope, and forgiveness. All of heaven’s riches are ours in Christ.
For some people preparation for the Lord’s Supper is a new concept. My call to meditate in preparation is not intended to overwhelm you. If you find all of this a burden try only to focus on just one or maybe two meditations, not all of the above. Let the meditation be prescribed on the basis of your present condition.
If you are backsliding, spend time thinking about the evil of sin and how the Lord’s Supper reminds you to be reconciled to God by Christ.
If you are flippant in your approach to God, spend time thinking about His holy wrath and how the Lord’s Supper reminds you of the price God paid for you.
If you feel heavy under the guilt for sin, meditate upon God’s love for you as displayed in the Supper.
If your heart is cold, marvel at how the Supper displays the infinite wisdom of God and the love of Christ.
If you find yourself in a season of despair, meditate on the results of the cross and all the hope that is yours in Christ.
The Lord’s Supper is a gift to us. The elements communicate the Gospel and all its aspects. As we prepare for Communion this Sunday, let us do so by focused meditation.
This was adapted in part from a sermon delivered by John Owen on 21 January 1670. In can be found in John Owen on the Lord’s Supper by Jon D. Payne (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2004).