Book Plunge: The Meal Jesus Gave Us

What do I think of N.T. Wright’s book published by¬†Westminster John Knox Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

N.T. Wright has always been a favorite writer of mine and when I found for sale on Kindle a book he wrote on the Lord’s Supper, I had to get it. This has been an object of study for me lately. I do tend to hold to more of a symbolic remembrance view. My ultimate position is that it doesn’t matter for discipleship which view it is. Jesus said to come to the table and that’s it.

Wright begins his book by going back in time to the Exodus and the Passover meal there. From there, we go to about 200 B.C. where a Jewish family is celebrating and acting as if they were there for the Exodus. This is then tied into the Lord’s Supper.

We then go into much more of the history. I do wish some more had been said about the Church Fathers, but Wright mainly wants to focus on the meaning of the meal. For him, the meaning of the meal is to remind us of what Jesus did and to tie all of time together as it were. We take a past event, the crucifixion of Jesus followed by His resurrection, and then we look forward to His future return and our resurrection, and we celebrate both of those in the present moment.

We also come to celebrate our unity together as a body. We are all Christians and we are all thinking about Jesus and what He did for us. We are all becoming aware of our sins and how we need to live better for the cause of Christ and how He is the Lord of us. We are thinking about just as Israel was delivered from slavery under Pharaoh, so it is that we are delivered from slavery under sin.

When he does look at the Reformation, he does get to the debate between Luther and Zwingli and he brings out some interesting facts, such as the young scholar standing in the background of their discussion who knew Aramaic and knew both of them were getting it wrong. Had something happened that Luther and Zwingli could have worked together, history could have turned out very differently. Alas, it did not.

One final point he brings out is one that I have come to appreciate more and more. The table ought not to be a place of exclusion. It’s my conclusion that the only requirement for coming to the table should be that you are a Christian. The table is a place of unity and we should recognize our unity. If you are going to spend eternity with someone and are going to be at the wedding supper of the lamb with them, shouldn’t you be willing to come to the table with them?

Wright’s book is a good and short read as most of the chapters you can read in ten minutes. Wright writes in such a way that draws you in and really gets you thinking about the meal and yet he has a profound depth to him. I highly recommend this for those wanting to understand the Lord’s Supper.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

“This Is My Body”

How have we twisted the notion of self-sacrifice? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’d like to say I came up with this concept originally, but I heard someone, perhaps Peter Kreeft, speak on the words “This is my body” recently and made a contrast between two opposing positions. I actually thought of another position and I have just been mulling this over for some time. Therefore, I’d like to take my thoughts at this point and share them.

We’re familiar with the words from the Last Supper of “This is my body.” In this, Christ was preparing for His greatest act of self-sacrifice ever. He was preparing to face the tortures of the cross for the sins of the world. This was not something He had to do. This was the plan of God that He willingly submitted to. We find this displayed well in Philippians 2.

Some of you might be wondering about how I interpret the phrase. I really don’t. I have no strong case either way and prefer to see it as words of self-sacrifice. This is something I think could be seen by every viewpoint from a Christian perspective.

Now let’s take this over to marriage. Believe it or not, marriage is supposed to be about self-sacrifice and the epitome of that is to be found in the sexual relationship. This is where the ultimate trust is given by both partners, though I would say certainly the woman puts herself in a more vulnerable position. Each one can say “This is my body” and then say “And I give it to you. In a Biblical sense, your soul belongs to God, but when it comes to the physical relationship, you give your body to only one person. This person gets more of you than anyone else does.

In each of these, we have a beautiful picture of self-sacrifice. It is something powerful in each one and something divine in each one. Of course, since the second one is something we do, we can sadly twist it into something that it isn’t and we can use each person’s body as an apparatus of pleasure rather than that of a person to be loved. Still, something beautiful should not be judged by its misuse and we Christians are called to despite the misuse because we love the real deal so much.

Let’s look instead at another contrast. Do we ever hear the phrase “This is my body” elsewhere? Yes, we do, and in this contrast it is not self-sacrifice. It is in the case of abortion. We hear women speak about how it’s their body and they will then instead give up their children. The children who the body is designed to bring into the world will die for whatever reason the mother deems worthy.

I just find it so amazing that in this act, the concept of self-sacrifice is gone. Is nine months a long time sometimes? Yep. Is the period of childbearing painful? No doubt. Is giving birth painful? I am highly convinced every woman will want extensive pain killers in that time. It’s a shame that some women are not willing to face this time and instead choose to end another human life.

I also think this is worse than what the pagans did in the times of the Old Testament. Sure they sacrificed their children, but they didn’t do it for themselves individually but rather for the good of the harvest or something of that sort. Wicked and evil still? Absolutely, but our modern abortion is even more self-centered then that is.

I look forward to the day when the slaughter of the innocent is done. I look forward to when “This is my body” is always a reminder of self-sacrifice. I look forward to when virtue is restored to our people once again.

In Christ,
Nick Peters