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The Gospel of the Holy Spirit

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  1. Day 1 - The Gospel of the Holy Spirit: The Age of the Spirit
  2. Day 2 - When Revival Becomes Awakening: The Age of the Spirit
  3. Day 3 - The Secret Way of Holy Spirit–Filled Fasting
  4. Day 4 - Jesus’ Essential Message in Seventeen Words
  5. Day 5 - When I Fight Authority
  6. Day 6 - Bringing the Holy Spirit Home
  7. Day 7 - The Most Important Word in the New Testament
  8. Day 8 - The Difference between Witnessing and Being a Witness
  9. Day 9 - When the Holy Spirit Makes a Hot Mess
  10. Day 10 - Why There Is No Such Thing as Secular
  11. Day 11 - What Makes Fasting Christian?
  12. Day 12 - Ready for the New Wine? Get Rid of the Old Wineskin
  13. Day 13 - The Critical Difference between Being Responsible for Others and Responsive to Them
  14. Day 14 - If You Had a Holy Spirit Gauge, What Would It Read?
  15. Day 15 - The Missing Link in Our Disciple-Making
  16. Day 16 - Three Reasons You Have Probably Not Blasphemed the Holy Spirit
  17. Day 17 - Why Jesus Is the New (Old) Normal
  18. Day 18 - How to Have a High Failure Rate without Failing
  19. Day 19 - Why the Holy Spirit Prefers Curious People
  20. Day 20 - Not for Ourselves but Others: The Great Rule of the Kingdom
  21. Day 21 - A Parable about the Most Humble Power in the World
  22. Day 22 - Who Needs the Weather Channel When You’ve Got Jesus?
  23. Day 23 - On Becoming the Kind of People Who Don’t Give up on People
  24. Day 24 - Do You Believe in Demons?
  25. Day 25 - The Problem of Reducing People to Their Problems
  26. Day 26 - A Word for Women (and Men) That Can Change Everything
  27. Day 27 - Up, Girl!
  28. Day 28 - The Kind of Places Where Miracles Don’t Happen
  29. Day 29 - It Takes Two to Bring the Kingdom
  30. Day 30 - The End of Christian America
  31. Day 31 - Why Marriage Is Not about Marriage and What It Is About
  32. Day 32 - The Holy Spirit and Setting Boundaries
  33. Day 33 - Awakening to the Miracle That Never Stops
  34. Day 34 - The Disciples’ Dilemma: When Knowledge Gets in the Way of Knowing
  35. Day 35 - Do We Really Recognize Jesus?
  36. Day 36 - When the Holy Spirit Does Something Not in the Bulletin
  37. Day 37 - The Problem with the Rules . . . or the Possibilities
  38. Day 38 - Getting to the Heart of the Matter
  39. Day 39 - The Desperate Need We Have to Be in Need
  40. Day 40 - The Difference between Extravagant Embrace and Radical Inclusiveness
  41. Day 41 - On the Everyday Ministry of Eating
  42. Day 42 - On the Difference between Faith and Risk Management
  43. Day 43 - Why Miracles Will Never Be Enough
  44. Day 44 - The Concerns of God
  45. Day 45 - The Problem with Lowest Common Denominator Discipleship
  46. Day 46 - Seeing behind the Curtain vs. Beholding through the Veil
  47. Day 47 - What to Do in the Face of a Discipleship Fail
  48. Day 48 - The Problem with Lazy Faith and the Way beyond It
  49. Day 49 - Why We Aren’t the Champions
  50. Day 50 - How Sin Continues to Win and How to Beat It
  51. Day 51 - On the Reason for Marriage and the Difficulty of Divorce
  52. Day 52 - The Big Problem of the Powerful
  53. Day 53 - Getting the “A” and Failing the Course
  54. Day 54 - How Jesus Kicks Our Value System to the Curb
  55. Day 55 - How Jesus Wants Us to Respond to Hard Things
  56. Day 56 - Why Blindness Is the Real Problem
  57. Day 57 - Living in Light of the Larger Story
  58. Day 58 - On Splitting Hell Wide Open with a Baptismal Certificate in Your Hands
  59. Day 59 - The Difference between the Power of Prayer and the Power of God
  60. Day 60 - On the Power of Telling an Alternative Story
  61. Day 61 - Why You Really Don’t Own Anything
  62. Day 62 - Why God and Politics Can’t Be Separated
  63. Day 63 - Take the Long View
  64. Day 64 - The Two Ways of Keeping the Law and Why It Matters Most
  65. Day 65 - Moving from Information to Conversation
  66. Day 66 - When Two Cents Is Worth More than a Million Dollars
  67. Day 67 - When It’s Time to Build Something More than Buildings
  68. Day 68 - On the Day It All Hits the Fan and the Day after That
  69. Day 69 - Why We Must Leave behind Left Behind
  70. Day 70 - When the Sky Starts Falling
  71. Day 71 - Why Does the Word of God Endure Forever?
  72. Day 72 - Why Being Ready for the End Means Being Joyfully Alive in the Present
  73. Day 73 - The Three Kinds of People You Meet on the Way to the Cross
  74. Day 74 - The Big Problem with Being More Dedicated to God
  75. Day 75 - The Key to Perceiving Revelation
  76. Day 76 - Getting in Touch with Our Inner Judas
  77. Day 77 - Why I Never Understood the Lord’s Supper Until . . .
  78. Day 78 - On the Difference between Faith and Optimism
  79. Day 79 - Why There’s No Place for “If” in Prayer
  80. Day 80 - The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves . . . Sort Of
  81. Day 81 - The Wound That Never Heals
  82. Day 82 - The Reason behind Most Discipleship Failures
  83. Day 83 - How Faith Is like a “Get out of Jail Free” Card, and How It’s Not
  84. Day 84 - The Journey of Peter and the Journey of Us
  85. Day 85 - Why Are You So Defensive?
  86. Day 86 - Why It’s All Your Fault
  87. Day 87 - Why You Should Not Be Ashamed of Yourself
  88. Day 88 - The Glorious Imposition of the Cross
  89. Day 89 - The Mind of Christ Is the Cross
  90. Day 90 - When You Find Yourself in the Deepest Darkness
  91. Day 91 - Why We Say “Thank God It’s Friday”
  92. Day 92 - Tired of Following Jesus in Secret?
  93. Day 93 - Why Faith Has to Die
  94. Day 94 - Without the Resurrection, We’ve Got Nothing
  95. Day 95 - What Faith Is and What It Is Not
  96. Day 96 - The Wisdom behind a Good, Old-Fashioned Trust Fall
  97. Day 97 - How the Gospels Disciple Us in the Gospel
Lesson 77 of 97
In Progress

Day 77 – Why I Never Understood the Lord’s Supper Until . . .

Mark 14:22–26 ESV

And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a 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 a covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Consider This

“This is my body.”

“This is my blood.”

I must confess for much of my Christian life that I have not gotten the Lord’s Supper. In fact, I still don’t get it. I do, but I don’t. In retrospect, I think I have missed it a lot precisely because I have tried to get it. My approach has been largely rational’trying to get my mind or thoughts around it to understand it so I could effectively receive it. Consequently, as I approached the altar to receive the sacrament, I focused on thinking the right thoughts and feeling the right feelings. I wanted to have thoughts and feelings of awe and gratitude and repentance and humility. And the problem with this way of thinking and feeling? Awe and gratitude and repentance and humility are not really thoughts and feelings, are they? They are deep dispositions of the heart.

It has never occurred to me until this very moment that when I am approaching the altar to receive the bread and the wine that I’m not entering into a religious ritual, I am celebrating a relationship. I am approaching a Person. I am approaching the person of Jesus Christ. He is not somehow contained in the gift of bread and wine. He is the gift. The physical reality of a person standing before me, giving me bread and wine while saying the very words of Jesus to me—it is as though I am approaching Jesus himself. The celebration of the Lord’s Supper is not about approaching with the right thoughts and feelings, it’s all about embracing Jesus himself.

No, I’m not talking about some kind of transubstantiation where the bread and the wine actually change their ­molecular properties to become the physical body and blood of Jesus. I do not want to denigrate that doctrine, as large parts of the church hold it dear. I just don’t believe that is what this is all about.

This is more like a type of transfiguration’the transfiguration of a moment in which all of history seems to become suspended and we find ourselves in that Upper Room hearing Jesus himself say: “This is my body . . . this is my blood . . . for you.” I am hearing this from Jesus himself. I am receiving the elements from Jesus himself. I am standing before the person of Jesus himself. He is present in the whole of it all, in the mystery of that encounter where we remember a historical event in a way that transcends history; in a way that brings it right into the moment of Holy Communion. Communion is not something we receive; it’s a relationship we enter into and celebrate.

At its core essence, this is what I understand to be happening in this mystery. “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” can be brought down to three very primal words: me for you. Jesus says to you and me personally and you and me in community, “me for you” in the sense of “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). It’s “me for you” in the sense of, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). It’s “me for you” in the sense of, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). It’s “me for you” in the sense of “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (John 15:4 NRSV). It’s “me for you” in the sense of the complete and total exchange of his wholeness for our brokenness and his fullness for our emptiness.

Here’s the beauty of it all. What he most longs to receive from us in Holy Communion is to hear our wholehearted response of, “me for you,” right back to him.

And here’s the glory of it all. The truest sign of our entering into Holy Communion with Jesus is revealed and celebrated every time we approach another human being and welcome the Holy Spirit to demonstrate to them, through us, those same words, “me for you.”

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

  • How are you understanding and approaching the Lord’s Supper? Is it an essential part of your life or is it more of an occasional, optional thing?