Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 1
The Christian was not made for the Christian Institution, but this Christian Institution was made for the Christian. None but a master of the human constitution-none but one perfectly skilled in all the animal, intellectual, and moral endowments of man could perfectly adapt an institution to man in reference to all that he is, and to all that he is destined to become. Such is the Christian Institution called the Lord’s Supper. Its evidences of a divine origin increase and brighten the more we progress in the study of the enlightenment man. He who most attentively and profoundly reads, himself, and contemplates the picture which the Lord of this Institution has drawn of Him, will be most willing to confess, that man is wholly incapable of originating such a table. He is ignorant of himself, and of the race from which he sprang, who can persuade himself that man, in any age, or in any country, was so far superior to normal man as to have invented such an institution. The development of mankind in all his natural, moral, and religious relations, which the Great Teacher has given, is not further beyond the intellectual powers of man, but the Supper of the Lord is as far above man’s intellect as the creation of the sun, moon, and stars is beyond his physical strength.
The eye of man cannot see itself; the ear of man cannot hear itself; nor the understanding of man discern itself; but there is One who sees the human eye, who hears the ear, and who discerns the human understanding. He it is who alone is skilled in revealing man to himself, and Himself to man. He who made the eye of man, can He not see? He who made the ear of man, can He not hear? He who made the heart of man, can He not know? None among man could have created such an institution.
It is as supernatural to adapt a system to man as it is to create him. He has never thought much upon his own powers, who has not seen as much wisdom on the outside as in the inside of the human head. To suit the outside to the inside required as much wisdom as to suit the inside to the outside, and yet the exterior arrangement exists for the interior. To fashion a house for the human soul exhibits as many attributes of the Creator as fashioning a human spirit for its habitation!! Man, therefore, could as easily make a system of religion to suit himself. It will be admitted, that it calls for as much skill to adapt the appendages to the human eye, as the human eye to its appendages. To us it is equally plain, that it requires as much wisdom to adapt a religion to man, circumstanced as he is, as to create him an intellectual and moral being! This did not come about by luck, nor was it fashioned by accidental circumstance, it came about through wisdom beyond our highest consideration, and it is to be admired!!
To come into the kingdom of Christ is one thing, and to live as a wise, happy, and good citizen of that kingdom, is another. As every human kingdom has its constitution, laws, ordinances, manners, and customs; so has the kingdom of the Great King. He, then, who would be a good and happy citizen of this kingdom, must understand and submit to its constitution, laws, and customs. The Designer of the Kingdom of the Great King added brilliance to possibility when He put in that kingdom institutions which would enable those of this kingdom to be successful in being citizens profitable to the King, the Kingdom, and the citizen, himself.
There IS a church on earth, called the House of God. 1 Timothy 3:15 The citizens of this institution did not enter it by physical birth nor was physical circumcision the outward sign of its coincidental agreement with the Godhead. The most high God dwells not in temples made with human hands; yet He condescended in the age of types to have a temple erected for Himself, which He called His house, and glorified it with the symbols of His presence. In allusion to this, the Christian community, organized under the government of His Son, is called His house and temple. “You are God’s building,” says Paul to a Christian community to whom he wrote. This building is said to be “built upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.” “Know you not that you are the temple of God? The temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
In allusion to the Jewish temple, the Christian church occupies the middle space between the outer court and the holiest of all. “The holiest place made with hands were the figures of the true”. In this holy place was the “table of the Lord” on which the bread of each tribe was placed new, every week.