Friday, June 28, 2024

The Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-24)

“Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:24).

The Corinthians were inexcusable in departing from the original mode of celebrating the Lord’s Supper because they had received proper instruction directly from Paul, who had received it from the Lord Himself. Their sin, therefore, was one of irreverent disobedience without any excuse of ignorance. The proper administration of the Supper was not a matter of tradition and therefore given to flexibility but was an ordinance given by the Lord Himself and therefore binding. As with Paul’s discussion earlier on the propriety of women in worship, the issue was one of authority. The Corinthians had refused to submit to the authority given to Paul by Christ Himself in matters regarding the Lord’s Supper.

Unlike other meals, the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship in which Christians share bread and wine to remember the sacrifice of Christ and to celebrate the restored relationship they have with God in the new covenant. Jesus Himself instituted this supper the night before He was betrayed and handed over to the Romans. With His disciples gathered around Him, He broke the bread, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” The bread was unleavened Passover bread, but the significance of the rite does not depend on the type of bread. In all accounts of believers’ celebrating the supper, there is no specific mention of the type of bread used. In the case of the Corinthians, it can be assumed that they used ordinary bread.

More importantly is what the bread signifies: the broken body of Christ. The bread was a symbol of Christ’s body, not His body itself because, clearly, He was still alive at the time of the Supper. Jesus often used symbols to represent Himself: a vine and a door. What we receive, then, when we eat of it is not the body of Christ Himself, but the life-giving power that flows to us from the glorified body of our Lord. Those who receive the bread receive in faith the benefits of Christ’s body, which was broken for sin. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s death, a sacrificial death. As we take of the elements, we are to remember that He died for the sins of His people, and that we are presently partakers of His grace if we have faith in Him and communion with Him through the Spirit.

When churches say that Christ is really present in the Lord’s Supper, do they mean physically? How then is He present? Because He is spiritually present, how does this benefit believers? Do you take the Lord’s Supper seriously and partake of it in faith, believing that the sacrifice of Christ alone can take away your sins?