1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (NIV)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.
How do we partake of the communion of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it a “common meal” or a meal of remembrance? What do we think of as we partake of this meal?
These are some of the most important questions we need to ask of ourselves when we commune with the Lord.
In this letter, the apostle Paul seeks to answer this among many questions the church in Corinth had. And in fact, in verses 20-22 of this chapter, he rebukes the church for the way in which they were partaking of the communion. Here he writes:
“20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat,21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!”
From this, we can get the answer to one of our questions…it is not a “common meal” where all sit and eat, taking more than their share of food while others go hungry. There were some even getting drunk on the wine! And though these early Christians misunderstood, most of us know that the communion is not this kind of feast.
Beginning in (V 23), Paul teaches what the communion really is all about. It is a memorial feast. As we prepare to engage in the Lord’s Supper, we need to let our minds go back to the cross, where Jesus was hanged, and remember His sacrifice for us.
His body was beaten and shredded for our transgressions. That is what the bread represents. Following the partaking of that emblem, we sip the communion cup which is to represent the soul saving blood pouring from His wounds, and from His side which was pierced to make sure He was dead. These thoughts help us to recall the loving surrender of Holy Life given in our stead.
What’s more, if we are not remembering Jesus’ death during the communion, we are partaking in an unworthy manner and sinning against the Lord, (V 27). For this reminiscence is the main reason we gather for the Lord Supper.
But there is even more we may bring to our minds during communion. Paul states in (V.28) that we ought to take stock of ourselves as we eat the bread and drink the cup.
We need to take stock of ourselves to make sure our hearts are sincerely centered on Christ and what the death on the cross means to us as His children. We need to recall that our Savior’s death that day at Calvary was the only way by which we may be reconciled to God and His loving gift of grace for our sins, (John 14:6)!
Finally, to summarize his instruction on partaking the communion, Paul states in (V.29) that anyone who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner will bring judgment upon his own soul! This leaves little doubt of how important it is that we have the right thoughts in our hearts and minds as we participate in the Holy Communion…
The Lord Jesus took the sins of an entire world on His back and nailed them all to His cross. He came of His own free will and love for us to be our Sacrificial Lamb. Let us try to remember the sacrifice our Lord made for each of us everyday…but certainly so during the few minutes we spend in communion services.
Refs: ~Google~ biblegateway.com~