Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Table of Testimony

And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. (Exodus 25:16)

Do this in remembrance of Me. (Luke 22:19)
The essence of testimony is remembrance. The Hebrew word for “testimony” means to duplicate or repeat. Its purpose is to bring something back to mind, to represent (re-present) an experience, to stir up a heart of faith.

Testimony is a powerful thing. It can not only bring something back to your mind but also back to your heart. It can recreate the emotions, the sense of the experience of that to which it testifies. For example, have you ever heard an old song on the radio that reminded you of the days when you first heard that song? It can make you think of old friends and places and the way you felt back then. It is amazing how a song can bring them again to you in such an emotionally powerful way. When a song triggers a memory like that, people even say, “Oh, that takes me back.” And in a way, it does take them back to that time and place, and those old friends. That song has become a testimony to them, a witness of things past but which still have great significance for the present.

That is what the Ark of the Testimony did. It was a witness that spoke of the covenant God made with Israel. Everything about it testified to something in their experience with Him. It showed His presence among them. On top was the mercy-seat, the place of atonement, divine forgiveness. The Testimony that was placed inside was threefold: The Ten Commandments, a jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded (Hebrews 9:4).

The testimony of these things was always before them to remind them, not only of who God had been to them in the past, but also who He would continue to be to them in the future. It was a continual witness of God’s saving act on behalf of His people, a sign of His ever present covenant love and mercy.

In the New Testament, Jesus has provided us a testimony that continually speaks to us of His saving act on our behalf. It is the sign of the new covenant God has made with us in Christ. This testimony is the Table of the Lord. The bread and the wine testify to the body and blood of Jesus. They speak of what has been given for us and to us. They represent Jesus Christ to us. In them, we experience anew the reality of His body and blood, and our participation in Him as the body of Christ.

The Table of the Lord is an ark of testimony. It is the witness of what Jesus Christ has done for us at the Cross, the sign of the covenant we have with God today and the promise that He is with us now and forever.