The Direction of the Offer
Topic: The Lord's Table
In this glorious meal, Jesus Christ is genuinely and truly offered. The divide between historic Protestantism and the Roman Catholic view is not over that—both sides believe that Jesus Christ is truly offered. The difference is not over whether that happens or not. The difference is one of direction, and concerns who receives the offering.
The Roman view is that Jesus Christ is offered again to God, in a repeated (or renewed) sacrifice. Our view is that in this meal God offers Jesus Christ to us. The difference is directional. One view is that Jesus is offered up again, and the other is that Jesus is offered down.
And so, if we were to be asked if we believed in the real presence of Christ, the answer would be that we certainly don’t believe in His real absence. The Lord is present with us, in this meal. He is offered to us, and we partake of Him by faith. And of course, in order to partake of Him by faith, we have to believe that we are doing so. And so we do.
But there are some other important things to note. This is Easter Sunday, and we of course know that we are celebrating the resurrection. But it follows from this that in this Easter communion you are not being offered a dead Christ, but a living Christ. A dead Christ was offered to God so that a living Christ could be offered to you. You are converted. You are now Christians. Why would you want to partake of death any longer? God gave you a death to partake of by faith, so that you might partake of life now, here.