Jesus once responded to a young rich man’s rejection of the gospel with this timeless phrase, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.” (Matthew 19:30)
One of the prerequisites for entering the kingdom is poverty and humiliation! But who wants that kingdom?! We naturally seek a land that offers “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” A place where “dreams come true” and “hard work pays off” Is that the picture of God’s kingdom?
In a world that frequently rejects those things that seem “less” in our eyes, God redirects our focus on those with less as an opportunity to model kingdom behavior towards them. To do that, it often means we have to take less so that they can have more.
The Lord’s Supper was a fresh perspective on an old memorial feast that reflected on God’s faithfulness to deliver those in trouble. The Passover feast had certain conditions in which it must be eaten (Exodus 12). While that was a feast of remembrance, it was also a reminder that the journey has just begun, and there will be a great day of feasting when we get where we’re going!
I’ve heard people say that communion doesn’t fill you up. But it wasn’t designed to fill you up but remind you of the things to come. The lesson in the encounter with the rich young ruler wasn’t necessarily aimed at the rich man (although Jesus hoped he would get it), but rather the lesson was for those who chose to give up what they could be “feasting on” for the anticipation of what’s to come. Jesus said it another way in Luke 18:29-30, “No one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Paul reminds us of a passage from Isaiah, “‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) But Isaiah continues that message of hope for the Israelites who had lost so much because of their poor choices, “The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create…” (Isaiah 65:17-18)
The Lord’s Supper is intended to cause you to reflect on the sacrifices necessary to make heaven a reality for you. 1 Corinthians 11:24, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” But its bigger focus is for us to keep in mind that we will be filled up when we give our allegiance to God by sharing our blessings with others.
Like the small bite-sized portions on a sampler plate of desserts is intended to make you want more, so is the paradoxical “supper” of “little” intending to cause you to want more of it. The way to the kingdom should bring new hope to how life will be like when Jesus truly is king!