The Lord’s Supper

 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Cor 11:26).” Christians need to think about and take seriously the Lord’s Supper, observed upon the first day of every week. Nothing else we do as Christians can match the simple beauty and deep reverence surrounding this ceremony instituted by Jesus Himself. Let’s consider the significance and the importance of observing the Lord’s Supper.

Purpose — The Lord’s Supper was first observed in an upper room on the very night Jesus was to be arrested (1 Cor 11:23). The Savior took the unleavened bread, gave thanks, and broke it unto His disciples saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me (Luke 22:19).” Next, He gave them a cup of, “fruit of the vine,” and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you (Luke 22:20).” The bread and the cup are not themselves the literal body and blood of Jesus, but they serve as a tangible reminder that His sacrifice was and is real! They remind us of a new and better covenant made possible by His death (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12). We observe the Lord’s Supper to remember and proclaim both what He did for us and what it means to us.

Importance — Scripture indicates that the Lord’s Supper is the primary reason for the church assembling on the first day of the week (cf. Acts 20:7). Its importance, therefore, can hardly be overstated. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 contains some very, very frightening and sobering words: “Whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” The idea of “eating unworthily” relates directly to our manner of observance. We may be tempted to allow our minds to drift and wander in many aspects of the worship assembly, but we dare not take lightly our observance of the Lord’s Supper! To fail to focus and remember the sacrifice of Christ during the Lord’s Supper is to bring the Lord’s condemnation upon ourselves (1 Cor 11:29)! When we eat the bread and drink the cup, let’s be sure our minds and hearts are focused on Jesus and His death on Calvary. To do otherwise is to be guilty of sin.

Practice — Often, we may find it difficult to focus our minds and hearts on such a solemn occasion. Even in the worship assembly we are not immune to the temptations of Satan. Many who seek to properly observe the Lord’s Supper find help in a personal reading of passages directly related to the purpose and nature of Christ’s death. Some suggested passages that fit well into the context of the Lord’s Supper include: Psalm 22; Isaiah 53; Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19; Romans 5:6-11; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; Hebrews 9:11-28; Hebrews 10:1-18. This is by no means an exhaustive list of passages dealing with the death of Jesus, but these do help in our understanding the depth and significance of that sacrifice. May all of God’s people resolve to worship Him, “in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:24).”

John Baker