1 Corinthians 11
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Paul was secure in who he was in Christ. So secure in fact that he knew he was living a life others could follow. Paul knew that he could tell the Corinthian Christians that they could follow his examples and he would lead them straight to Christ. I was thinking about this there other day. I pray that my life will always point others to Jesus. I pray that I am never seen as judging someone else for their walk, but I feel that my place is simply to love others and point them to Jesus. Need peace of mind? I’m going to tell you to pray. That may sound like a Sunday school answer but I know He is the only one who can give you peace. Need direction? Pray, I know that there are lots of things that I have prayed about that He has worked out better than I could have imagined. Need mercy? Pray, His mercies are new every morning. Need strength? The joy of the Lord is my strength. Some days in my quiet time, I feel like I am dragging all the burdens from the day before in a big old Santa Claus bag. I drag that bag to the foot of the cross and I lay them down one by one all over again. And I beg Him for grace. I pray that He will give me grace to always point others to Him and to be joyful and to just not let my anxieties and worries spew all over the lady at the grocery store who is tired of wearing a mask and ready to throw in the towel. Or to spew all over the person who cut me off getting the closer parking space. Paul wants us to follow his example, because he was so close to the one who had saved him!
“Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:2-3)
Paul started this section out being a little sarcastic as he would tend to do at times with the Corinthians. You see he knew that they didn’t necessarily remember his teachings nor did they hold fast to traditions. But in this passage he addresses God’s naturally ordained order of things. Christ is the head of man, a husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. While I do believe this and it is my desire to hold to this order of things, I do realize that this could hit a nerve for some people. However, it is my desire to handle God’s word rightly. Paul is telling the Corinthian Christians, that this is the way God ordained it. But Paul is also stating that being the head comes with responsibility. It is not meant as a way to lord over someone. The head could also be considered the “source”. As one commentator put it the head of a river is the source. The river could not flow if you did not have the head of the river which is bringing energy to the river. In the same way the head of the household or church or an organization is supposed to be what leads or what gives energy to the organization. Such as the family. If the head of the household is not walking under the authority of Christ and receiving their energy from whom is supposed to be their source then that is when things suffer.
“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made form man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” (1 Corinthians 11:11-12)
The first woman was made from Adam’s, however man is now born of women. What Paul is saying here is it is a partnership. There may be a God ordained order and authority of things. And when they can work together rightly it is a beautiful thing. But the bottom line is “All things are from God”. And while we can study and dissect this over and over we must always go back to the word and to Christ who being the head of man is the head over us all.
“But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse.” (1 Corinthians 11:17)
Again, the Corinthian society was somewhat paganistic or at the very least very materialistic. The early church would have a custom of combining their fellowship times with meals. Much like what we would call a covered dish supper. However, when they would come together they tended to practice things much like they had in the past before the establishment of the church. Very selfishly. In verses 18-22 Paul is chastising the Corinthians for this. He is telling them if they want to be selfish, do it in their own homes. But not to despise the church of God. The Corinthians were eating and drinking as if they were having a big party and the one who brought the most got to be at the head of the line. Can you imagine a dinner at church where your position in line was based on how much you brought!
The next verses outline the Lord’s Supper and how the Corinthians should be practicing it.
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” (1 Corinthians 11:27-28)
I have often read this passage and have found myself actually worrying in the past that I had something that was making unworthy to take the Lord’s supper. I have often thought of this in very legalistic terms and this made me nervous. But that is not what this means at all. You see we are all unworthy when it comes right down to it. That is, unless we are covered by the blood of Jesus. But when we remember what Jesus did for us at the cross and we take the bread and the cup and we are repentant it’s because we know that without Him we are nothing. You see all you have to do is come with a repentant heart. You don’t have to wallow in self pity or worry about not being good enough. You just have to know that there is no way you would be good enough without him. True repentance drives to the heart of God, guilt drives away.
Oh Lord, I pray give me the grace to recognize my need for you. Give me the grace to imitate you so that my life would always point others to You!
Please pray for the medical professionals. From the people going in to clean the rooms to the doctors working on a vaccine and cure.