"By evening you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; and you shall know that I the Lord am your God.'" Exodus 16,11
"Where two or three are gathered together in my Name, there I am in the midst of them." Matthew 18,20
"And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight." Luke 24,30-31
God Wants To Be Known By Us From His Miraculous Presence And Provision
Did Adam recognize God talking to him in the garden?
Did Moses recognize Him in the burning bush?
Did Paul recognize the Lord when he was blinded by the light?
Did John the Revelator see him standing alone among the church?
Did the two disciples recognize Jesus' risen presence in the breaking of the bread?
The point of this table of Lord Meditation is very simple, so simple I might not be able to make it.
God has always wanted, and sometimes even demmanded as with Adam and Moses and Jacob, that we recognize his presence.
When He corrected Adam, there was no where for him to hide. God made himself known right then and there by correcting in the garden. He kept repeating Moses' name. He also wrestled with Jacob. He demmanded Jacob pay attention to his presence from now on. He wrestled with such fervor that Jacob was left limping from the hip, and wanting to know God's Name. God made himself known right then and there, by his strength and changing Jacob's Name.
Who could forget the presence of such encounters?
I wouldn't say God demmands that we recognize him in the breaking of the bread of the Lord's Supper that bears his Name, just as he never forced or forces anyone to make an act of faith.
But it is clear from Exodus 16,vv. 6-7 and v.11(above), that He sure is trying to get our attention. When God miraculously feeds his people He wants them to know where this food and drink came from, to know the provider, then and there, by the presence of their provider, then and there.
This is not the presence dreamed up in some philosphical book, but the Spiritual God of Israel who was always meeting and feeding his people. Praise Jesus, we have a God who comes down searching for us, protecting in the cloud by day and providing in the fire by night.
Deuteronomy 29,4-5 says the same: "I led you through the wilderness forty years; the clothes on your back did not ear out, nor did the sandals on your feet, you had no [ordinary] bread to eat and no wine or other intoxicant to drink- that you might know that I am the Lord your God."
Israel had no ordinary food and drink so their personal and loving God took another opportunity to show himself as their one and only God, that they might know-experience Him as their daily God, as the their deliverer.
God "feeds" us with his more-than-ordinary bread (it was manna from heaven), more-than-ordinary running water (it was water from the rock of Christ). He's not just about filling our bellies with what they need physically, but providing us with fitting Spiritual food and drink (1Corinthians 10,3-4), that only his resurrected body and blood can provide.
It is written that if we bless and break the bread in faith as he did (and likely bless the wine or juice), as he did, as he commands, we have an actual communion with His risen Spiritual presence (1Corinthians 10,16). Communion is a fancy religious word for fellowship (greek-koinonia, spanish-companarismo) with our God, who is Spirit, and who made us in his Spiritual likeness, that is capable of knowing and partnering with him.
Communion is not a symbolic thing. It is an actual experience-relationship built on His risen Spirit, whereby we both as individuals and as a group Spiritually interact with God, His Spirit to our spirit, his Spirit to our church body.
So when we faithfully consecrate the bread and wine and partake of it individually and as a group with faith, we experience communion with Him, and with each other, through Him, too.
Some folks minimize the greatness and grandeur of this biblically based Lord's Supper fellowship and were getting sick and dying because they did not have the faith to know their God in this way, and so experience the very real communion that their participation at the table demmanded (1Corinthians 11,29).
This presence at the table is just as real as God was to Adam in the garden, as He was to Jacob in the wrestling, to Moses in the burning bush, to Paul crying out and finding out God's Name after he was thrown off his high horse, as real as John seeing Jesus standing alone amidst the church in Revelation 1,13, as real and risen as he was when the two disciples after the walk to Emmaus recognized Him as he celebrated his supper with them.
Given the above scriptures (particularly Exodus 16) from the Hebrew bible, and that Paul unmistakeably correlates the miraculous Spiritual food and drink of the God's first people at 1Corinthians 10,3-4 with our faithful blessing at the supper (1Corinthians 10,16), and given Luke 24,30-31, it's not too great a leap of faith to say God expects us to recognize his actual risen presence when he provides for us at the supper.
Recognition of His actual presence is what God demmanded in his word when he miraculously fed his people in the desert. It's what he expected from the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, having waited all day and then celebrating the supper.
There I Am In Their Midst
Nowadays so many of us refuse to recognize anything more than symbols in the bread and wine?
But then again nowadays we also hear without fail in every Christian church in all the world: "wherever two or three are gathered in my Name [and having true faith], there I am in their midst."
This rich scripture verse is not a symbolic statement about some supposed intellectual-theological presence, or the positing of the talky talk philosophers of 'the Christ', or a bible version of Jesus as a nice fuzzy wuzzy straw man. It is a declaration that the actual risen Jesus, His Spirit, being actually in our midst, and us knowing by experience and discernment and wisodm, that this fellowship is actually happening.
It is a fact in the spirit realm. Jesus is either here or not. And it is written that he can show up and enter a Temple or church or leave one (Ezekiel 9-11).
If he can actually be in our midst, as risen Lord, not to mention live in our spirits, in the Temples of our bodies, which are also physical, as the hope of glory, why can't this same risen presence also actually get into some physical bread and wine, after we bless them in faithful obedience to him?
We Gentile Christians Are Not Chopped Liver- We're Co-Heirs
Or, think of it this way.
If the Lord's people escaping Egyptian slavery knew him and his presence amidst them by eating and drinking real and miraculous food and drink that only He could provide, would faithful followers at a supper in honor of his bodily resurrection expect to partake of less gracious and miraclous food and drink than they received?
You might not think Matthew 18,20- wherever two or three gathered in my name there I am in their midst- fits with the Lord's supper. I didn't either until the Lord showed me. Luke 24,35 has the two disciples on the way to Emmaus testifying to the apostles that they recognized the risen Lord in the breaking of the bread. As they were giving this very testimony, the risen, Spirit-embodied presence proved Himself and stood in their midst.
I think the word of God is trying to tell us something here at Luke 24,35- that his presence at the table is to be discerned and known by us.
With a mere two faith testimonies about his recognized presence in the supper (I'm venturing to state that the supper is at least this important for us today) he stood in their midst and proved his presence again!
Again, given these passages from the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament, and the twenty two prior scriptural Table of Lord Meditations, would not it be about time dear friends and followers of Jesus to contemplate the risen presence of Jesus in the bread and the raised cup?
If so, it's time to be even more richly fed, by word upon word, precept upon precept, knowing what his word and his Spirit promise.
or for short video: http:vimeo.com/63572579
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...