Yesterday, we celebrated The Lord’s Supper at the church I attend. It was a beautiful and simple service, that holds so much meaning for followers of Jesus. I thought that I would share some thoughts on this Christ instituted ordinance of the Church.
1. A Memorial Feast to the Lord
When we come to the Lord’s Supper we must remember that this is a memorial feast for our Savior. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” We come here to celebrate the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. The elements themselves serve as reminders to us what Christ has done on our behalf. They do not in themselves posses any saving power. Partaking of them does not ensure for you forgiveness of sin. What they do is remind us of the person whom we are to place our faith and trust in to receive forgiveness and everlasting life, the one who gave his life in our place—Jesus Christ. Those who partake in the Lord’s Supper have trusted in Christ and use this time to reflect and remember what He has done for them.
2. Approaching the Table
Paul also directs us in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 how we are to come to the table of the Lord. He writes, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” We must take a moment to examine our lives. Look to see if there are any sins that we need to confess, wrongs against our brothers that need to be righted, and come with a recognition that what we are about to do directly identifies our life with the life of Christ. (Pause for a few moments to reflect).
In 1 John 5:11-12, John writes, “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
We are to humbly come before God thanking Him Jesus Christ, who was crucified on the cross so that we would all have the hope of eternal salvation. He has, by His mercy and grace, promised to forgive the sins of all who, in repentance and faith, turn to Him. As the supper begins we need to ask Him to cleanse our hearts of all our hidden faults. As we partake of the bread and cup, we need do so in a manner that is both pleasing and acceptable to God.
3. Historical Connection
Christians have gathered around the table of the Lord for centuries and we join them as we gather around it to remember the sacrifice of Christ. When we take The Lord’s Supper, we are participating in a meal that believers have practiced throughout the ages and will continue to practice until Christ returns. He told us in Mark 14:25 that He “will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
4. Observing the Supper
Mark 14:22 says: “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”The bread was and is to be a symbol to us of the Body of Christ. As we receive it we are to remember that it was his body that he gave for us. He took our sins upon Himself. We remember through this element the suffering he received for us. 1 Peter 2:24 says “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:23-24, “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Mark 14:23-24 says: Then he [Jesus] took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” The cup reminds us of the blood that was shed for us. In the Old Testament we see that a blood sacrifice is required to provide forgiveness for our sins. Christ through the cup reminds us of the fact that he poured out his life for us. Ephesians 2:13: But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:25, “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:26 that “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
We practice the Lord’s supper because (1) Christ commands believers to, (2) through it we are evangelistically proclaiming the Lord’s death until he returns, and (3) it reminds us of what Christ has done on our behalf. It reminds us of our need for Jesus and that are to place our faith and trust in Him, to receive forgiveness and everlasting life. It reminds us that he took our place even though we deserve to die for our own sins. It reminds us that Christ has made the provision for our sin.
The Supper reminds us of what Christ has done for us. We are full of sin and are unable to fix that problem on our own. So God came to earth in human form and went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. We must put our faith and trust in his sacrifice alone to receive the gift of salvation.