1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Next Year, In Jerusalem
A small country church in Wisconsin has a special tradition that they have used at the close of their communion services for a number of years. It is adapted from an ancient Jewish closing of the Passover meal. Since it is the hope of every devout Jew to celebrate the Passover at least once in Davids city, the Jewish custom is to end the meal with a toast. Passover participants raise the cup and say, “Next year, in Jerusalem!”
The cup in the Lords Supper serves as two reminders: we are to look back to the shed blood of Christ and forward to the Lords second coming. In other words, for all Christians, there will be a last sharing of the bread and the cup on this side of eternity: when they meet once again, they will be in Christs presence. At the close of communion, the members of this church raise their cups in anticipation and say, “Next time, with Christ!”
State employment officials in Tucson, Arizona, posted an interesting sign over a full-length mirror. Directed to all job hunters, it read, “Would you hire this person?” In another office a mirror and sign posed this question: “Are you ready for a job?”
Self-evaluation was what the apostle Paul called for in 1 Corinthians 11. Believers in Christ need to judge themselves, he said, to avoid being judged by the Lord as unfit for His service. In the Corinthian church, the “appearance problem” was especially serious. Those Christians “looked” awful. They were actually getting drunk and quarreling among themselves while going through the motions of celebrating the Lords Supper. So Paul said, in effect, “Look at yourselves. What a mess! If you dont get your lives straightened out, the Lord will have to do it for you.” Then the apostle added the sobering fact that God had already begun to cleanse the church by sending some of them to an early grave. This is a hard truth, but one the church still needs to hear today.
- Restoring Fellowship, Ken & Joy Gage, Moody, 1984, pp. 90ff