"A Time of Self Examination"
A Communion meditation
By Stan Butler
In an upper room, the night before He would become the sacrifice for the sins of the world, Jesus kept the Passover with His trusted and faithful disciples. It was during this last Passover meal that Jesus would celebrate, that He instituted this time of communion that we look forward to each week.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and Paul tell us that while they were eating the Passover meal, Jesus took some bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and then gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
What often goes unnoticed is that before offering each of them a piece of broken bread which He clearly states is His body, and before offering them a drink from the cup which He clearly states is His blood and the blood of the new covenant, Jesus caused each man to spend a period of time in self examination. He did this by making a statement that disturbed each and every one of them. Here’s what He said in that statement, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.” Mark records that they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto Jesus one at a time, “Is it I?” and then another would ask, “Is it I?”
As we take communion each week, a time of self examination should take place just as it did back then. The apostle Paul was well aware that there was to be a time spent examining ourselves before we participate in the body and blood of our Savior. He tells the congregation at Corinth; a man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. The Corinthian church was openly showing disrespect for this time of communion. Their thoughts and motives weren’t where they should be. These Christians weren’t discerning the Lord’s body. Paul had to remind them that when they ate the bread and drank of the cup that they were showing Jesus’ death till His return. He warned them that when they ate and drank in an unworthy manner, they were eating and drinking judgment on themselves.
The word betray that Jesus used in the Greek means “to deliver up”, or “to give over,” which is just what Judas did with a kiss to signify that this is the man you want. And he was still calling Jesus “Master” all the while. Now wouldn’t that take some kind of nerve?
But are we at times any different than Judas? My Oxford dictionary defines the word “betray” as being disloyal to (another person,etc.) When the opportunity to witness for this man we also call Master comes our way, do we sometimes look around and think that perhaps another time or place would be better suited, and we let that opportunity pass us by. That my dear friends, is betrayal. 2Timothy 4:2 says that we are to witness and be instant (quick) in season and out of season…let me break that down for you…when it’s convenient and even when it’s not convenient. Souls are going into a Christ less eternity by the millions because Christians aren’t willing to give Jesus a kiss and identify Him by saying “this is the man you want…this is the man you so desperately need.”
As we sit waiting for the communion trays to make their way to us each Lord’s day, let’s spend some time in self examination, and let us always be willing to ask during this time the question, “Master, did I betray you this past week?”