Going on a journey that we know is going to be tough takes courage. Jesus warns us about that in Luke 9:23 when He says: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” I don’t think I’m alone when I admit that I often struggle with denying myself and taking up my cross every single day. And, that makes me pause to consider: what would I do if I lived in a place where following Jesus was met with out-right persecution, prison or death. It would take a lot of courage.
Jesus had courage. The figurative crosses we bear each day are nothing compared to the literal cross that Jesus died on for us. But, the part of His sacrifice that touches me the most is that He knew what was going to happen – and He went anyway. He knew that he would be beaten. He knew that he would be scourged with a whip. He knew that his hands and feet would be nailed to a cross. He knew that a crown of thorns would be shoved down on His head. He knew that He was going to die! Jesus had courage. He knew where He had to go. He knew the suffering He would endure. And He went anyway. Jesus. Had. Courage.
We should keep that in mind when we approach the Communion Table – if that is what your church calls it. We should remember that it has been prepared for all who recognize Jesus as their Savior. And – quite simply – all of us have been called to live a life of courage – just like Jesus did.
Philippians 1:14-21 “… because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear … And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice … I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Maybe you can use the following prayer to help prepare your mind for the Lord’s Supper —
Holy God in Heaven, we thank you for the sacrifice of Your son on the cross. We thank you for His courage to be tortured to death for us. Please help us, Father, to bring to our minds the magnitude of suffering that Jesus endured because of our sins. We ask you to help us to remember that – not only did Jesus know He was going to die for us – He knew we would one day commemorate his death by eating this bread and drinking this cup. He knew everything that was going to happen – and He went on His journey anyway. Likewise, we know that if we live for You – Lord – we can expect persecution and rejection as well. Lord, grant to us the courage of Jesus. We ask you, Father, to bless this bread and cup which represent the body and the blood of Your Son – Jesus – our Lord and Savior. We pray these things in His name – Amen.