I’d like to follow up on a recent post I made on the Lord’s Supper (see “The Body and the Blood” on May 11, 2014). One of the important things to remember about Communion is that it is for our nourishment. In fact, it was specifically instituted by Christ for our nourishment. Baylor professor and Texas pastor of 100 years ago B.H. Carroll preached an interesting sermon on this fact, “The Relation Between the Lord’s Supper and Temptation.” While I do not know exactly the circumstances surrounding this sermon, Carroll mentions near its conclusion that he sought desperately the Supper that very day because he had been suffering from a “dangerous illness” for at least six weeks.
In this sermon, Carroll mentions that he cannot recall hearing a pastor make the connection between temptation and the Supper as seen in 1 Cor. 10:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it. … The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ?” — 1 Cor. 10:13, 16
I can’t either, but it does appear that Paul is making the connection. And it makes sense. When we are facing trials and temptations, we need strength. And if Christ has specifically set aside something for our strengthening, we ought to take advantage of it. Carroll makes this important point by way of analogy:
“If you knew that a child of yours had before him an arduous duty, requiring toil and persistence, you would want him, before he commenced it, to be well, to be strong, to go out nourished. … That is the precise point of failure in most of the Christian life, the indifference to the great doctrine of the nourishment of the soul, and the soul must draw that nourishment day by day from God. It is the great teaching of the Lord’s Supper.”
In this day and age, when we are suffering from illness or emotional trauma, our first move is to seek the best medical specialist or spend hours with a psychotherapist. While the knowledge and skills of medical science and counseling are resources from which we should draw, let us first look to Christ in faith. He has provided ample means for our help: the preaching of the Word by those called to the pulpit; the Scripture for our own private study as well as its reading among our brothers and sisters in the congregation; prayer, especially as we are led along by His indwelling Spirit; and the sacraments of baptism and His Supper.
Let us especially draw near to His table as we celebrate the Supper together for our nourishment.
For Further Study
Carroll, B.H., “The Relation Between the Lord’s Supper and Temptation” (Chapter V.) from The Supper and Suffering of Our Lord: Sermons. Compiled by J.W. Crowder, Fort Worth: J.W. Crowder, 1947, pp. 56-71.