Daily Devotional

Search Your Heart before Communion

by Simon Whitton

While they were reclining at the table eating, he said,
"I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me-- one who is eating with me."
They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"
"It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me."

Mark 14:18-20 (NIV)

After living and working with Jesus for three years the disciples must have learned to pay attention to His words.  They had witnessed that when He said something, it happened.  When He says “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me" they knew to sit up and pay attention.

This was serious disheartening news, and they each responded, "Surely not I?" There is the sense here, that despite their believing Jesus, they did not believe it could be them.

What Jesus said next is fascinating, he said, "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me".  Why did Jesus announce the news in this way, why did He prolong the mystery?  Was He trying to add some drama to the meal?

Imagine the scene, you are crowded around a table in the middle of eating a meal (vs. 18) and bread was constantly being dipped; but now you had to ask yourself 'do I really want to risk dipping my bread?' 'Could I be the one to betray Jesus?' Now they had to back up their words with actions.  Who would be brave enough to reach forward to the bowl.  Who held back out of fear?  Peter probably rushed through His soul searching the quickest and was the first to lean forward.  This emboldened some others who soon joined in.

Jesus had forced them to search their own hearts.  But what was it He wanted them to find?  I believe this time of self-reflection was intended for them to at least see some of the sin that resides in every human heart.

Like Peter, I have betrayed Jesus, and I will again.  The difference between Judas and us, is that we have faith that the blood of Christ was shed for our sinful hearts, and we are forgiven.

Immediately after this Jesus introduces them to the sacraments of communion.

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying,
"Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant,
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 26:27-28 (NIV)

Christianity is not about convincing God that you are good, but convincing yourself that you are not.  The longer you have been attending Church the harder you have to work at this.

Spend some time searching your heart, not to exonerate yourself, but to deliberately find sin.  Confess to God "I have no excuses" and trust in His blood for your forgiveness.

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