Jesus’ Medicine – Tastes Like Ribena

My 5 year old came home from school yesterday with a fever. We wrapped her up in her doona, made her comfortable on the couch, and we prayed for her. She got worse. By the time dinner was served she was lying on the floor moaning. She said she couldn’t get up.

It was time for Jesus’ Medicine!

It might surprise you to learn that in the cupboard we have some divine medicine that is super-effective for healing. It goes by the name of communion, which last night meant Ribena and pita bread. This is what the Bible says about communion:

“Whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor 11:26)

Do you know what it means to proclaim the Lord’s death? It means we are proclaiming that Christ’s body was scourged for our healing and his blood was shed for our forgiveness.

Most people understand that Jesus died for our sins. But he also died to deliver us from all the effects of sin, including sickness and disease.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows… and by his wounds we are healed.” (Is 53:4-5)

When we take communion we are proclaiming his death which brought us life – abundant, healthy life. To take communion when you’re sick is to exercise your God-given faith. It’s like saying, “I don’t identify with these symptoms. I identify with Jesus who was wounded that I might be healed.”

When those sickness symptoms try and tell you that you are not going to be healed, don’t agree with them. Say instead, “Jesus paid for my healing. I have a right to healing.” Command those lying symptoms to go. Confess God’s word over those symptoms. “Surely he took up my infirmities.”

But what about the other part of that scripture in 1 Corinthians 11, the bit that warns against taking communion “in an unworthy manner”?

When I started leading Island City Church in the late 1990s, I used to wonder about this passage. I wondered whether we should be offering communion to sinners who happened to be visiting the service. Are sinners worthy of communion?

You know what? It’s silly to withhold communion from unworthy people. Christ died for unworthy people! It is unworthy people who most need to hear Christ’s death proclaimed. When I realized this it set me free. Communion went from being solely a time of worship and became an opportunity to preach the good news. Since then I have also come to see communion as an opportunity for healing miracles. The result is that Jesus is worshipped even more.

So last night we took communion as a family right before dinner. Stina immediately perked up, like within a minute. She went to her seat and wolfed down her meal. Then she had seconds which she rarely does. She was her usual cheerful self. And when she went to bed she thanked Jesus for healing her.

If you’re reading this and you’re sick, get something red to drink and something bready to eat – it really doesn’t matter what the symbols are made of – and proclaim the victory that Christ won at the cross.

super_e2R_sm___
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Comments

  1. Trevor Lovegrove says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more.However that scipture in 1 Corinthians 11 still causes much confusion in the Church today. What is your understanding of what Paul was trying to communicate as it seems that verses 31 & 32 are somewhat confusing?

  2. Maybe those verses just seem complicated because of our preconceived ideas about their inherent meaning?

    1 Cor 11:31-32 For if we would judge (diakrino) ourselves, we should not be judged (krino). 32 But when we are judged (krino), we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (KJV)

    The basic meanings of both the words have many similarities, but both can mean to decide, to make a decision, to exercise discernment. That is what a judgment really is. To judge means to decide. What do you decide on? In a court case for example, you would judge/decide either for the plaintiff or for the defendant. You never judge against a person, instead you pronounce in whose favour you judge. So similarly, if we would judge ourselves, means we are to judge in our favour. If we do that we wouldn’t be judged against. To me that means, if I am sick and I judge in my favour, it means I recognize my sickness and decide my sickness is in the wrong and has to leave because Jesus carried it for me. If I don’t judge in my favour, my sickness is a judgment on me because I am allowing a punishment Jesus carried to be carried in my body too. It means I am allowing the judgment I should have received, instead of receiving freedom from my Saviour.

    As for verse 32, I believe it is one of those that have been badly translated. To it means this:

    When we are judged: when we look at ourselves and decide what is from God and what is not

    we are chastened of the Lord – we are trained up and discipled (that is what chastened means in the Greek)

    that we should not be condemned with the world – that we can live free from condemnation.

    So put it all together: When we judge what is from God and what is not, God can train us and disciple us to live free from condemnation which is the ministry of death. For when we allow things that are not from God in our lives, we condemn ourselves in this life. For that reason many of us are sick and dead prematurely.

    Hope that was not confusing too? :)

    Cornel

  3. Hi Trevor,
    Joseph Prince has probably the best teaching I’ve heard on this scripture and I highly recommend you check it out. Cornel has already given a good interpretation of verses 31 and 32, so let me look at the two preceding verses:

    “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.” (1 Cor 11:29-30)

    We all know that the Lord’s blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28), but the blood is only one element of the Lord’s supper. What about the body? What is that for? At the last supper Jesus didn’t say much about the bread, but he did talk about it a lot in John 6:

    48 “I am the bread of life…
    51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
    53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
    54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
    55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
    56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
    57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
    58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”

    What does it mean to eat the flesh of Jesus? The traditional explanation is “believe in Jesus.” In other words, it’s symbolic. But a better explanation is that Jesus is referring to communion. In verse 57 the word “feeds” can be translated “chew.” Communion is NOT merely symbolic. It is not something we do merely to remember His death. Rather, we do it to proclaim what His death has won for us, which is abundant, healthy, disease-free life here and now and into eternity!

    Joseph Prince argues that we might rearrange 1 Cor 11:29-30 without violating scripture so that it reads like this:

    “For he who eats and drinks in a worthy manner eats and drinks God’s favorable judgment to himself, discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are strong and healthy among you, and many live who would otherwise be dead.”

    Pretty awesome huh!

  4. wonderful!

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. I need to read it again, but I was praying for an explanation to I Cor 11:29-32. My study bible actually says that God’s discipline will cause sickness in the believer. That goes against His very nature. Thank you for this website! God bless!

  6. Helena Joubert says:

    In short, I view this scripture as indicating to us that taking the Lords supper in a ‘worthy’ manner, does not refer to our condition (we are all worthy thru Christ), but rather that if we have cognition of the meaning of His sacrifice when we are taking the bread and wine (wounded for our transgressions, by His stripes we are HEALED) we do not miss out on the opportunity to receive healing in that moment. Some remain sick amongst us, because they miss out on the opportunity.NEVER because God ‘curses’- there is NO condemnation. I took the Lords Supper in faith for a knee injury and declared its meaning over my body, and my torn ligament was instantly healed.

  7. Elaine Blackhawk says:

    What to do when a baby is sick and too young for communion?

    • Hi Elaine, thanks for the question. Your question reminds me of another: how does a mute person get saved if salvation means confessing Jesus is Lord? :)

      It’s not about the elements per se; it’s about mixing our faith with His grace. The good news profits us when those who hear it receive it with faith (He 4:2). God looks on the heart which is where faith resides. I don’t take communion every time I’m sick – often I don’t need to. I just speak to my mountain and it goes. When we take communion we’re proclaiming the Lord’s death and victory over sickness, but that’s not the only to do it. More here.

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