1/17/16 ~ Thoughts on the Lord’s Supper

From the Preacher’s Pen…

One of the things about our worship that surprises some people is our partaking of the Lord’s Supper on every first day of the week. Many offer various arguments for not doing so: It makes it too common; We forget the real importance of it when we do it so often; or some similar thought is the most common.

In spite of all these almost all serious Bible students and scholars agree that every first day of the week was the habit of the New Testament church. And yet the fact still remains that it does make it hard to really worship and have meaningful communion every week.

Of course we never let that “meaningless habit” corrupt other things that are really important to us, do we? You probably don’t want to tell your husband or wife that you only want to kiss them and tell them that you love them once a year so that it will mean more!

So let’s take a moment to consider just how much the Supper means and why we want to make the effort to keep our love for it and our Lord alive.

Thoughts on the Lord’s Supper

To begin with, our identifier of this event as the “Lord’s Supper” comes from 1 Corinthians 11:20. In Paul’s discussion (verses 17-34) of both what the Corinthians were doing wrong and of the real meaning of this event we learn many important lessons.

The place of honor belongs to Jesus! It is the Lord’s Table, on the Lord’s Day, the household of the Lord and His people. We are the guest, not Jesus.

Many times we talk about who “presides” at the Lord’s Table. Are we not being a bit presumptuous? As Jesus established this feast He did so to bring to fruition the ultimate meaning of both the “Passover” and the “Exodus.” Only when we see Him leading our exodus from sin and His blood shed to allow death to pass over us do we begin to realize that He is the host that invites us to dine with Him. He presides and it’s all about Him as our Savior.

This is done as a remembrance, a memorial of Jesus and what He did for us. We “celebrate” our “Memorial Days” in strange ways. Where the intent was once to solemnly remember those that gave their lives for our freedom and our country, many today imagine that it is about barbeques and the start of summer vacations. Should it not be even more important for us to correctly remember Jesus and His sacrifice?

To the Jews it is vital that Passover be a personal experience. You are eating the lamb slain for salvation, even though the one on your plate is not the actual one that died to save the family by its blood, it is to be thought of as though it were; so, too, for us His body and blood. In every generation each person recalls the events and regards them as “we” and never as something that happened to our ancestors.

Our remembrance also contains some uniqueness far beyond that original Passover. Even as we remember the cost of our deliverance and its solemnity, we rejoice not just in a “Promised Land” but in a risen and living Savior!

Even more than a remembrance Paul reminds us of our fellowship, our participation, our sharing, our communion. 1 Corinthians 10:16-18 tells us that our bread and our cup are united in Jesus (actually that of all the saints wherever they physically are since Paul in Ephesus and his readers in Corinth are likewise sharing in the same cup and bread). What a powerful expression of unity in Christ’s family that we united not only with Him but with all the family!

To eat the Lord’s bread and drink from His cup also reminds us of our fellowship, our participation in the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25). This is far beyond the usual relationship of friendship and even loyalty as it is a family feast uniting the bride and groom (church and Christ) or, in another analogy, the head and body (Christ and church).

One last vital thought to also keep in mind: This Supper of the Lord is an announcement, a very special and important announcement that we are called to make until that day that He comes to take us home! 1 Corinthians 11:26: “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

In partaking of this Supper we remind ourselves and all the world that He came, died and rose again to save us from sin. And one day soon He is coming back again to take us home.

Remember that “us” for the Supper? It is never portrayed as a solo event but as a family gathering. Like the best of family reunions with those we love the most, we need to linger, to appreciate, to enjoy, to remember.

As the title of one of our songs so well portrays it, Come Share the Lord!

— Lester P. Bagley

 

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