The Lord’s supper is an act of worship in which Christians engage each Sunday. It is known also as The Communion (1 Cor 10:16) and The Breaking Of Bread (Ac 2:42) Today, some refer to it as The Eucharist, which means, “giving of thanks”, which Christ did at the time of its institution – (Mt 26:26-27) It is a simple act, in which those who are Christians partake of unleavened bread, and drink of the fruit of the vine. It is an important act, one that we should understand why we do it, lest our participation be meaningless to us, displeasing to God, and detrimental to us. (1 Cor 11:27) Therefore, it behooves all Christians, especially those new in the faith, to be well acquainted with the meaning and practice of the Lord’s Supper.
THE MEANING OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
It is a memorial. Note Paul’s account as given by the Jesus. (1 Cor 11: 23-25) We eat the bread in memory of the Lord’s body. We drink the cup (the fruit of the vine) in memory of the Lord’s blood. We therefore commemorate the death of Jesus on the cross; (Mt 26:28) Whose death make the new covenant possible; (Heb 9:16) Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins. (Eph 1:7) As the Passover was a memorial commemorating Israel’s deliverance from Egypt through the blood of lambs on the door post, even so, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of our Lord’s death who makes our deliverance from the bondage of sin possible.
THE LORD’S SUPPER IS A PROCLAMATION
We proclaim our faith in the efficacy of the Lord’s death. (1 Cor 11:26) His death was indeed for our sins. ( Acts 20:28) If we don’t believe He died for our sins, why even keep the Lord’s Supper? We also proclaim our faith in the Lord’s return; (1 Cor 11:26) For it is to be done “till He comes”. If we don’t believe He is coming, then why keep the Lord’s Supper? Therefore, the Lord’s Supper looks forward as well as backward, and will ever be observed by His disciples who trust in His redemption and anticipate His eventual return!
THE LORD’S SUPPER IS A COMMUNION
It is a fellowship or sharing in the blood of Christ. (1 Cor 10:16) As we partake, we commune with the blood of Christ, in the sense of reinforcing blessings we enjoy through the blood of Christ. (1 Jn 1:7,9) It is a fellowship or sharing in the body of Christ. (1 Cor 10:16b-17) As we partake, we commune with the body of Christ, in the sense of reinforcing fellowship together in the body of Christ (i.e., the church– Col 1:18), as we break bread together. The extent to which we share in the body and blood of the Lord as we partake may be uncertain, but dare we neglect whatever may be the benefits of that communion? The Lord’s Supper certainly has great significance and should not be taken lightly.
REVERENCE OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
We are to revere the Lord’s Supper “in a worthy manner” (1 Cor 11:27,29) Specifically, we must have a respect for the supreme price Jesus paid for our sins (e.g. the cruel torture and humiliation of His physical body; and the spiritual anguish suffered as Jesus bore the punishment for our sins) Failure to observe with proper reverence brings condemnation. (1 Cor 11:27,29) One will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, and will eat and drink judgment to himself. To make light of this memorial puts one in the same category as those who mocked Him as He hung on the cross.
THE LORD’S SUPPER IS TO BE DONE WITH SELF-EXAMINATION
We must reflect upon our spiritual condition before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. (1 Cor 11:28) Are we living in a manner that shows appreciation for His sacrifice by accepting the grace of God in our lives? (2 Cor 5:18- 6:1) Are we living for Jesus who died for us? (2 Cor 5:14-15 f; Ga 2:20) Or are we by willful sinning, guilty of having “trampled the Son of God underfoot”, “counted the blood by which we were sanctified a common thing” and “insulted the Spirit of grace”? (Heb 10:26-29) Do we, by refusing to repent of our sins, crucify again for ourselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame? (Heb 6:4-6) In one sense, the Lord’s Supper is a very private matter between a Christian and God. It is a time to reflect on the past and to resolve for the future.
THE LORD’S SUPPER IS TO BE DONE WITH FELLOW CHRISTIANS
There is ample indication the the Lord’s Supper is designed to be a communal meal. The disciples “came together” to break bread. (Acts 20:7) When they came together, they were to “wait for one another”. (1 Cor 11:33) By partaking together of “one bread”, they demonstrated they are “one bread and one body”. (1 Cor 10:17) We commune not just with the Lord, but with one another.
THE LORD’S SUPPER IS TO BE DONE WEEKLY
The Biblical evidence is that the Lord’s Supper was done weekly. Christians came together on the first day of the week to “break bread”. (Acts 20:7) The church at Corinth was coming together to eat the Lord’s Supper, though they were abusing it. (1 Cor 11: 17-22 2) Instructions concerning the collection suggest their coming together was on the first day of the week. (1 Cor 16:1-2) Following the divinely approved example of Christians in the bible, we know God approves of a weekly observance on each first day of the week.
CONCLUSION: The Lord’s Supper is a very special memorial of His death for our sins. Instituted by Jesus Himself, He asked His disciples to do it in His memory. Jesus told His disciples that He would not eat of the elements again until: that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom. (Mt 26:29 2) The first Christians “continued steadfastly” in its observance, just as they did in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship and prayer. (Acts 2:42) Coming together on the first day of the week for that very purpose, Christians today should never lose sight of its significance for us. It is a constant reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus paid for our sins. It is a communion or sharing of the body and blood of the Lord. It is a time for self-examination and rededication of our service to the Lord. It is a means for building fellowship with one another in the body of Christ. May such thoughts encourage us to never neglect opportunities we have to observe the Lord’s Supper, but to continue steadfastly and in so doing “proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”