July 22 Ė LD 29, Day 7: Christ in Heaven, His Church On Earth
by Rev Arie den Hartog
Read: Luke 22:14 - 20
There is one more beautiful truth concerning the Lordís Supper referred to in the Heidelberg Catechism that we want to meditate on. Christ gave the Lordís Supper to His church to celebrate on earth knowing that He Himself would soon go to heaven. Ever since His ascension, Christ is now bodily in heaven and His church is on earth.
In Luke 22:15-16, we find
one of the records of the institution of the Lordís Supper. Jesus said to His
disciples, ďWith desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto
you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the
If the church imagines that Christ is still bodily on earth when she celebrates the Lordís Supper, she becomes confused as to why she must still look for His coming again in glory. The true understanding of the Lordís Supper teaches that Christ is in heaven and His church is on earth. The church is comforted by the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lordís Supper and the continual remembrance of the blessings of salvation He merited on the cross and continues to pour out on His church.
However, the joy of the church is not yet perfect. The church looks with eager expectation and longing for the glorious and blessed return of the Lord. Only then will she have perfect fellowship with her Lord. Only then will her joy be made perfect in the presence of her Lord in heaven.
The apostle Paul, in teaching us about the Lordís Supper in I Cor 11, states that in celebrating the Lordís Supper, the church must ďproclaim the Lordís death until He comes.Ē As long as the church is on earth, she must preach the gospel. The truth of the suffering and death of Christ on the cross is to be central to this preaching. The church also preaches the truth of the resurrection and ascension of Christ and the blessed hope of His coming again, all of which follow from what Christ accomplished on the cross.
The proper celebration of the Lordís Supper also includes an earnest longing for His coming again. The church celebrates the Lordís Supper with the view to His coming again.
She is as a bride waiting for the coming of her bridegroom.
The Heidelberg Catechism speaks of the fact that Christ is not now on earth but in heaven. We are however engrafted into Christ. We are members of His body. Christ is our head. The body of Christ, which is the church, longs to be finally with Christ, her head in heaven. This longing is worked in the hearts of the members of the church by the Spirit of the exalted Christ.
Only when the church is in heaven with Christ will she be able to have perfect communion and fellowship with Him. Phil 3:20 speaks of the truth that even presently ďour conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:Ē Properly, the celebration of the Lordís Supper encourages us to look to Jesus in heaven, and stirs up the hope that we have in our hearts by the Spirit of Christ.
Interestingly, according to the prophecy of Rev 19, we look for another feast which is even more wonderful than the Lordís Supper, which we will celebrate together with all the saints in heavenly glory. This feast will be the great heavenly marriage feast of the Lamb. ďLet us be glad and rejoice, and give honor unto Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.Ē Rev19:7