The Last Supper, Community, Humility, and Grace (grace enough for all)

Your aim must be peace with all men, and that holiness without which no one will ever see God. Take good care that none of you is false to God’s grace, that no poisonous shoot is allowed to spring up, and contaminate many of you by its influence. (Hebrews 12:14-15)

036_100072_468So yesterday evening Rebekah and I were talking about The Last Supper, and the beautiful narrative account in John’s Gospel. Then she pointed out an interesting detail that I’d never noticed before.

It happens in Chapter 13, just after Jesus has washed his friends’ feet, all his friends. Jesus offers a piece of bread to Judas and, the text reports, “As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night” (NIV). Or, more poignantly, “Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night” (The Message)

Judas allowed Jesus to wash his feet. But he did not, would not, eat the bread. So he left, bread in hand, and walked into the night to betray everybody.

Which brings me back to my initial scripture for this morning. The Hebrews text is a call for grace. Living in peace is living in the grace of God. Falling short of God’s grace causes bitterness and trouble. The end result of such a graceless witness is – and I like the translation in The Knox Bible – the “contamination” of many.

Today I’m wondering if Judas could have gone through with his betrayal if he’d stayed around for the bread and the wine? If only he had remained in the grace of community? Instead, bread in hand, he removed himself from communion with his friends.

break bread together

break bread together

UNGRACIOUS SEPARATION: Here’s what I think. I think that removing ourselves from communion with one another is – to use the words of Hebrews 12 – being false to God’s grace. When that happens, poisonous shoots spring up, and the message of the Gospel of Love is contaminated, and people (both believers and those watching the witness of the church) are distanced from God by gracelessness.

Not only is it critically important that we maintain an open door for all people when it comes to sharing communion… it’s also critically important that we avoid the gracelessness of walking away from the table, bread in hand, and removing ourselves from communion with other believers.

This Church Belongs to Jesus. We’re all sinners, and we’re all humble recipients of God’s wondrous grace. Grace enough for all – DEREK

 

3 thoughts on “The Last Supper, Community, Humility, and Grace (grace enough for all)

  1. I have always wondered…

    Is the manner or mechanism of Christs death relevant? What if he was, say, beheaded as opposed to crucified? Would it matter? What if torn by lions or bears?
    Its His death and subsequent Resurrection that is key, right?

    That seems like a pretty straight forward question…

    I have always wondered…

    Suppose Judas was no traitor at all? Suppose Jesus needed Judas to do what he did?
    Jesus may have said…”Hey Jude…you are not going to like this, but…”

    Perhaps Jesus thought Judas could do it.

    And if ((IF)) the manner of Jesus death is not important…If Jesus was killed in an accident…and then Resurrected?

    • Hmmm… interesting. I don’t think the manner of death is important. I also don’t think Judas’ act of betrayal was necessary. It was his choice to betray Jesus. I’m sure he would have been killed anyway. We was almost killed several times during his ministry and he wasn’t exactly lightening up his message. At the same time, I don’t believe Judas was beyond the reach of redemption – even after he turned Jesus in…

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