Pharaoh paid a great compliment to Joseph before seeing any of Joseph’s work for himself. “I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.” But Joseph answered, “It is not in me” (Genesis 41:16). He knew he had nothing that he had not received. For however audacious he’d been telling his own dreams to his brothers and father, he’d been humbled for the last thirteen years, sold as a slave and then serving as a prisoner. Joseph knew, at least by now if not before, that God was the source of his wisdom.
The Lord’s Table is a similar light on our interpretation of things. We could start to think that we belong here by nature of our righteousness or faithfulness or endurance. Another person could say, in a less than complimentary tone, that we think we’re so holy. But the bread and the wine remind us that salvation and redemption and righteousness are not in us.
We sing a song sometimes on Sunday mornings titled, “Not in Me.” Here are some of the key lyrics:
No list of sins I have not done,
No list of virtues I pursue,
No list of those I am not like,
Can earn myself a place with You.
No humble dress, no fervent prayer,
No lifted hands, no tearful song,
No recitation of the truth
Can justify a single wrong.
No separation from the world,
No work I do, no gift I give,
Can cleanse my conscience, cleanse my hands;
I cannot cause my soul to live.
Jesus is our life. Jesus paid our debt to death. Jesus bore our load of guilt. So “He alone can give me rest.”
As we celebrate this meal together by faith we proclaim that we’ve been lifted up from the pit of sin and guilt and death by Him alone.