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Communion (1995 Series)

Who Is This Man?

Scheduled for October 5

There is a wonderful old movie which surfaces this time of year, Miracle on 34th Street.  If you can, watch the old version;  the new ones lack the sense of wonder and innocence of the original production.  It is important, for the story contains a truth.

 

The plot is relatively simple.  An elderly gentleman, through a series of comic circumstances, claims to be the one and only Santa Claus.  He is locked up as a suspected lunatic.  The hero of the picture, with romantic complications, represents him in court -- and proves to the court’s satisfaction that he is “the one and only Santa Claus.”  The case is dismissed;  the boy gets the girl, and all live happily ever after.

 

There is, however, a point in all this.  If I claim to be Napoleon, then the lunatic asylum awaits.  Jesus of Nazareth claimed on numerous occasions to be the one and only God -- the representation in the flesh of the awesome Jehovah of the Old Testament..  As C. S. Lewis once put it, that gives us only three options:  either he is genuinely the son of God, or he is the devil of hell, or he is a lunatic on the level with a man who says he’s a poached egg.  He did not leave us any other choice.  He did not intend to.

 

The point is important for this.  Christians say that Jesus is indeed God in the flesh.  Such a claim would meet with approval from any number of people if only Jesus had performed to their expectations.  It would have been so convenient if he had left us some wise sayings, told us to be good, and then politely ascended to heaven.   He did not.

 

Indeed, the whole purpose of his coming seems to have been to die on the cross.  He came to be a ransom for us.  That he left us much wisdom, that he taught his disciples well, that he performed many miracles, all these are true.  His purpose, however, was to die on the cross.  That’s why he came.  This is, to some, scandalous.  A God who comes to us to give us a little good advice and then assure us that we’re all bound for heaven is very reassuring and comforting.  A God who tells us that we are sinners -- and then dies to take away the penalty of our sin -- is vastly more challenging.  Indeed, the whole point of his life seems to be that we are sinners;  he offers us salvation -- if we will cast our entire lives into his hands.

 

So it comes down to this:  Who do you say He is?  Devil?  Lunatic?  Son of God??  If you say He is the Son of God, then the Lord’s Supper is a way of remembering what He did for you.  He did not come to give you wisdom;  he did not come to make things smooth;  he came to die for you and for me.  He calls us then to live for Him.  As you take the bread and the cup, remember:  this is who He is, and why He came.

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