Acts 27:35 “After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat.”
This is not the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper, but the language is. Churches throughout the world celebrate regularly the Eucharist or Communion etc, but its true meaning is known when it is demonstrated before a watching world.
Paul had urged everyone one board to eat in order to save themselves from starving.
Death was all around them, the inevitable was only hours away and yet there was hope in a message that Paul was heralding that salvation would be experienced on this sinking ship.
He took some bread; John 6:35: “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
John 6:51: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Here is Christ, the body of Christ, the Church of Christ, the Christian. Often the focus is on whether it is stale or fresh. We go to great lengths for fresh bread. There are a variety of breads. We need to be modern, relevant, attractive and the pressure to perform, to be something unique, the best, better than all the rest is immense. And we forget the important aspects:
gave thanks to God in front of them all; Matthew 26:26: “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Luke 9:16: “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people.“ Luke 24:30: “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.”
If I was Jesus at the Lords Supper facing the crucifixion my prayer would not have been one of thankfulness, but as I took the bread I would have been pleading for my life to be spared.
If I was Jesus at the feeding of the 5,000 my prayer would not have been one of thankfulness; but as I took the bread I would have been praying for miracles.
If I was Jesus at the home of the 2 disciples I had met on the Emmaus Road my prayer would not have been one of thankfulness but that these disciples would at long last recognise who I was.
Paul on board the ship of many faiths from many parts of the world gave thanks to the one true God.
The Church does prayers of petition very well, we long for miracles and we plead for the world to come to us. What we don’t do well is thankfulness. Churches are not known as cultures of thankfulness. Christians moan more than they thank. Maybe this is why we do not see all that we long to see? Maybe the reason for this is the most important aspect of all:
Then he broke it and began to eat. The cross represents the brokenness of Jesus. Christ was broken, the Church must be broken and the Christian must be broken. Healed and restored to be broken. Broken in the hands of God is different to being broken in the hands of the devil. To be broken is to be teachable, changeable, humble, righteous but not self-righteous. To be broken is to surrender your all, risk the talk of the crowd, the slander of the ignorant. Brokenness brings more questions than answers. To be broken is to lose friends but gain His friendship. To be broken is to give up your rights and do what is right for Him. Hope only springs from brokenness. Miracles only flow from brokenness. Revelation only comes through brokenness.
This is not the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper, but the language is. The world needs to see less ceremony and hear more of its language demonstrated for Salvation is dependent on the bread.