The Lord’s Supper

While I partake of the Lord’s Supper in our assembly, I find it a great opportunity for meditation.  Some churches seem to rush through this time as if it is a task that must be done so they can check it off the list.  Instead, I believe it should be a time of great spiritual meaning to us.

Here is the account given by Matthew.  Jesus was eating the Last Supper before He was betrayed and crucified.  Matthew 26:26-29 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’”  Here is the instruction given by the apostle Paul to the Corinthians.  1 Corinthians 11:23-26 “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’  For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”

There are multiple controversies relative to how the Lord’s Supper should be observed. I don’t plan to address any of them.  I’m only interested in the spiritual significance of the observance.  There are only two elements of the Lord’s Supper:  the bread, which He said was His body, and the cup or fruit of the vine, which He said was His blood.  Jesus said to eat and drink “in remembrance of Me.”  The writer of 1 Corinthians added: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”  What does it mean to proclaim the Lord’s death?  I believe that the Lord’s Supper is a visible, physical sermon that proclaims the message of the cross.  All those who participate in or see the Lord’s Supper should receive the message: Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world.  With the Lord’s Supper, we are also to remember Jesus.  There are many, many things we can remember about Jesus.  As space permits, let me suggest a few things to remember.

Perhaps the first thing that we can remember about Jesus is what His death means to us.  1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” Hebrews 10:12-14 “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”  1 John 3:5 “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”  Jesus was the pure, sinless sacrifice to God – the just for the unjust.  His death means the forgiveness of our sins.  You might even personalize this by realizing that He died for you and that you received the forgiveness of your sins.

Perhaps next you can remember what God did for us.  John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” God loved us enough to send His Son for us; He demonstrated His great mercy and grace.  You might personalize this by realizing that God loved you and gave His mercy and grace to you.

Perhaps next you can remember that your baptism follows the same pattern of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  Romans 6:3-7 “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”  You also have died to your old sinful way of live so that you are no longer a slave of sin but you walk in newness of life.

Perhaps next you can remember what Jesus actually went through for you.  You can remember the agony He went through in the Garden of Gethsemane.  You can remember the trials that He went through before the Sanhedrin Council, Pilate and Herod.  You can remember the painful scourging that He went through at the hands of the Roman soldiers.  You can remember how they all mocked Him.  You can remember Him being nailed to the cross and suffering one of the worst deaths that man could imagine.  You can remember the darkness that came over the land.  You can remember that He said in anguish “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”  He was beaten, mocked, spat upon, scourged, pierced with thorns, nailed to the cross, and hung in shame.

I am sure that there are many more things you can remember about Jesus when you partake in the Lord’s Supper. The next time that you partake, I encourage you to remember Jesus.