November 24, 2022

Enemies at the Table

Matthew 26:17-26

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.”

—  Matthew 26:23

Jesus reminded us that our relationship with God and our relationships with people are connected. So when we approach the Lord’s table, we should be sure to reflect on our relationship with God and with the people in our church family—and beyond.

But what if we are in conflict with a brother or sister, despite our efforts to forgive and/or seek forgiveness? The apostle Paul says in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” But if a conflict with someone is not resolved and they are not interested in forgiveness or reconciliation, what can you do? Can you still participate in the Lord’s Supper with this broken relationship in your life? Generally, I think you can—if you truly have done all you can to try to reconcile with the person and you have kept the door open to deeper reconciliation (since forgiveness can be a long process).

After all, let us remember who was present at Jesus’ final meal. Jesus knew that everyone there would soon abandon him in his hour of greatest need. And one of those disciples would betray him for money. And yet Jesus remained with them, loved them, and served them this sacred meal. The fact that God in Christ loved each of us while we were yet his enemies and sinners (Romans 5:6-11) is very good news for us all.

Lord, we have sinned against you, and yet you forgive us and feed us. Help us to reflect your grace to others. Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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