Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:17-30)

"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” (Matt. 26:26).

Just as baptism parallels circumcision, the Lord’s Supper parallels the Passover. The sacrificial meals of the Old Testament testified to the union of God with His people, and ushered in times of joy and celebration.

The Passover involved one such meal. The sacrifice of the Passover was one of atonement (Ex. 12:27; 34:25). Following the sacrifice, the people of Israel ate the Passover meal. This reminded them of Israel of their deliverance from Egypt. But that is not all—it was a sign and seal of deliverance from their bondage of sin. The Passover signified their communion with God and their hope in the promised Messiah—thus the significance that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at the Passover. During the Passover the pure lamb would be sacrificed as an atonement for the people. In His sacrifice Jesus offered Himself as the pure lamb that would die once and for all for the remission and forgiveness of sins of His people.

The Lord’s Supper signifies this atoning sacrifice and the union we have with Him. The bread represents the breaking of His body, and the wine signifies the shedding of Christ’s blood for the remission and forgiveness of sins. Partaking symbolizes communion with the crucified Christ, which is why it is meaningless for unbelievers to partake and why believers must come in a worthy manner. As believers partake of the elements in obedience to Christ and in faith, they celebrate the benefits of being joined with Christ—strengthening of faith and joy in Christ.

This sacrament is a corporate ordinance because it not only symbolizes the individual believer’s union with Christ, but the union of believers with one another. As members of one body in Christ, the church eats the same bread and wine in communion with Him and one another. Jesus commanded His disciples to celebrate this meal together in remembrance of Him. Paul’s teaching said this practice shall continue through all ages in the church (1 Cor. 11:26).

The Lord’s Supper serves not only as a sign, but also as a seal of Christ’s love for His people and of the assurance of His intercession on their behalf and that the promises and benefits of the covenant of Grace are theirs forever.

Read 1 Cor. 11:20–34. How should you come to the Lord’s Supper? Do you properly examine yourself before you partake of this sacrament? Why should this sacrament be continued faithfully in all ages? What warning is given to those who approach the table of Christ? Examine your own heart before you come to the table.