Communion Lesson

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us …

Hebrews 12:1, ESV

Back in college and for a short time after, I worked as a hotel doorman. A big part of the job, especially weeknights, was standing on the sidewalk in the dark and in the cold. Not much happens at a downtown hotel on a late weeknight in the winter.
Part of the uniform was a long, thick wool coat. It went down past my knees and had a big poncho like rain collar on it. The wool was nearly 1/4″ thick. It was a pretty cool coat in a way and it was pretty warm too. But it was heavy; I think one of the guys weighed it at something like 8-10 pounds. It really weighed you down standing there on concrete with that coat hanging on you for several hours a night.
I think of that coat when I read this scripture. There are times, when my sin is particularly real to me, that it hangs on me like that old coat, weighing me down and bringing me to a standstill. But the writer tells us that, since we are surrounded by these great, but flawed, heroes of faith, we should throw off the sin that clings to us and run the race God has for us to run.
What a refreshing thought. I know that ant the end of the shift, when I took that coat off it was liberating. And when I decide not to be bogged down by sin it is as well. It can be really hard to do that, the sin is still with us, it will happen again, but that’s what Jesus came for, so we could be set free from the burden of carrying that sin around. That’s what he meant, I believe, when he said his burden is light. Light compared to thte burden of our own sin.
What has helped me recently to believe that it’s possible to drop the burden of my own sin are these scriptures:

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Romans 8:31-34, ESV

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

1 John 2:1

I was reminded last week in our preteen lesson that God gave Jesus the authority to judge (John 5:22) but that Jesus did not exercise it on Earth. Instead, he left his word to be our ultimate judge (John 12:47-48). So, while Jesus did not judge while he was here, he, through his word, will ultimately be our judge. But Jesus is on our side, as it says in Romans 8:34 and speaks in our defense according to 1 John 2:1.
Who will condemn at judgment? Jesus’ words will. But Jesus is our advocate, he’s on our side, putting in the good word to God on our behalf. The cross is almost like a plea bargain with generous terms, offered by the prosecution, without being asked for by the defense. I’ll reduce your sentence to zero, but you must be completely devoted to me.
As we take communion this morning, think about the offer that Jesus made on our behalf.

4 thoughts on “Communion Lesson

  1. I like to imagine what our lives would be like if nobody sinned, neither myself nor anyone else.
    Thank God that in the next life there will be no sin, nor anything that causes sin. Rev 21:27. And thank God that Jesus takes away my sin so that I can be admitted to that wonderful place!

  2. How often I forget, how often I find myself pulling the coat out of the closet and put it back on.
    Thanks Douglas, even after 20 years I still need to be reminded that I don’t need to wear that coat anymore.

  3. The Coat of Sin

    Salguod has a simple yet poignant post on the burden of sin.
    What a refreshing thought. I know that at the end of the shift, when I took that coat off it was liberating.

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