Originally scheduled for
mathematics are somewhat in doubt, but the conclusion is not:
statistically speaking, some of the crowd gathered around the cross
of Christ on Good Friday were to become members of the First
Christian Church of Jerusalem a few weeks later. We know this
happened because Peter, in preaching his first sermon, tells the
crowd, "you crucified…".
We hear it often, so
perhaps it loses its astonishing character, but Christ forgave those
who crucified him. The first martyr, Stephen, did likewise. And
note, please, how this was done. It was not in the form of a
command, or of a benevolent permission to be forgiven — it was a
begging in humility to God the Father. It's not just that Christ
forgave; it's that he begged the Almighty to do likewise.
Have you considered
just what love Christ has for the church? It is not just in the
sacrifice he made for our sins. That alone would be sufficient proof
of love beyond any human nature. It is the perfection of his love
that he also asked that those who crucified him be forgiven. Many of
us, if we had to be crucified, would take it in a "macho" manner. We
would threaten, and if we knew that seven weeks later the church
would be born how many of us could resist the temptation to say to
the crowd, "you'll be sorry?" By his great love for the church,
Christ did no such thing. We know that that great love continues
today, for as Paul asked the Romans, "what shall separate us from
the love of Christ?"
Communion is the
memorial of that great love. Married men will tell you: you should
tell your wife that you love her, and you should do so often. Just
because you told her once and you haven't changed your mind sense
doesn't mean that she has no need to hear of it. It is a
characteristic of the human nature: we need to be reminded that we
are loved. This ceremony reminds us of the great love of Christ,
shown at the cross, and living still.
In a very real sense
we to proclaim our love in this ceremony. We remember his sacrifice;
we remember his great love for us and in so doing we tell the world
that we love our Lord, our Savior.