"The Symbols of Sacrifice"
During this season of Lent, I have place on our Communion Table "10 Symbols that represent the depth of Sacrifice that Christ made for each of us." May they inspire each of you to grow closer in your relationship to God through prayer, fasting, self-examination, and Godly sorrow that worketh repentance unto salvation (2 Cor. 7:10).
I invite you to the observance of a Holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. Let us invite God into our hearts to examine them as we wait silently before Him as we prayer the prayer of David
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).
As we begin our journey toward Easter, we place a cross on the communion table. Jesus suffered and died on a cross as a sacrifice for our sins. It is the cross that awakens us to the truth that Jesus came to die and give His life as a ransom for sin. (John 3:16)
The Basin and Towel
A basin and towel are placed on the Communion table to remind us that Pilate could have set Jesus free. Instead, he took a basin of water and a towel and washed his hands of the matter. He then turned Jesus over to be crucified. (Matt. 27:24)
The candles represent that “Jesus is the Light of the World” (John 8:12). A candle is placed within a room to dispel the darkness. Likewise, Christ presence in the world is the light of the world, a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it” (John 1:5).
The Crown of Thorns
Crowns are reserved for kings. In mockery and humiliation, the soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus' head. They could not fathom that such a humble man was, in truth, Christ the King! (Matt. 27:29)
Jesus handed a cup to His disciples and said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood." Moments later, He went to Gethsemane to pray that the cup might be taken away if that were His Father's will. Instead, the cup was to be filled with God's wrath against sin. In love for you, Jesus reached out and took the cup from His Father's hand and filled it with his precious atoning blood. (Matt. 26:27; Luke 22:39-46)
The Wine Vinegar Flask
The wine flask is noteworthy because it was not used by Jesus. The wine offered to Him was mixed with painkilling drugs. In refusing to drink it, Jesus chose to remain fully conscious throughout His painful agony. In so doing, Jesus experienced not only the physical suffering caused by crucifixion but endured the spiritual pain of taking the sins of the whole world upon Himself. (Matt. 27:34)
The Money Bag of Judas
The money bag reminds us that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. We too, have betrayed our Lord in a multitude of ways. But Jesus says to us, "I will make your sins my responsibility". He took our sins to the cross to purchase blessings that money could never buy: the gifts of forgiveness and salvation and the promise of eternal life for all who put their trust in Him. (Matt. 26:14-16)
The White Cloth
When Jesus' followers looked into the tomb on that first Easter morning, they found the unexpected. The body of their Lord was not there. Only the linen burial clothes remained. The Symbols of Sacrifice at first seem to signify Jesus' defeat. A cruel cross, a crown of thorns, and the cup of suffering all point to a horrible death. (John 20:7)
But, when defeat seemed all but certain, victory came. Our Lord rose triumphantly from the dead. We drape the cross with the reminder of those abandoned graves clothes. Then we joyfully proclaim “Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!”
Ichthus the Greek work of fish in the New Testament. A symbol of the Christian Faith. The letters in Icthus also serve as an acronym for Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." Pronounced Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr.
The Nails on our Communion Table are a reminder to us of the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus and the anguish he suffered and endured on the cross. Spiritually, the wounds of Christ hold infinite significance to us and are a part of His glory, for “by His wounds, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).