The Lord’s Supper

Richard Thetford

In 1 Corinthians 10:16 the apostle Paul asks: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" Paul was trying to stress to these Corinthian brethren that they could not rightly partake of the Lord's Supper while at the same time associating themselves with evil (1 Cor 10:21). Today we need to fully understand the importance of this weekly memorial that we observe in our worship to God.

The Lord's Supper Instituted

Jesus Christ Instituted the Lord's Supper in His remembrance. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 Paul again says: "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." Jesus gave us the pattern or example of how He expects us to remember Him. The communion that we have each first day of the week is a communion of Christ's broken body (1 Cor 10:16; Luk 22:19), and His blood that He shed for us (1 Cor 10:16; Matt 26:27). Therefore, it is very important for us to think of Jesus and realize the pain and suffering that He went through so that we might be able to live eternally with Him.

The Importance of Communion

When we understand why we commune then we can fully understand the importance of this memorial that all Christians observe every first day of the week (Acts 20:7). First of all, we commune so that we can remember Christ as stated in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25. Through our remembrance of Jesus we are proclaiming His death, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor 11:26). God gave us the greatest gift of all in His only Son Jesus (John 3:16) and Jesus, in obedience to His Father, fulfilled prophecy by becoming the perfect unblemished sacrifice on our behalf. We should feel so privileged to be able to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior every week until He comes again (1 Cor 11:26).

We also want to keep this communion because it was done so by the early Christians in keeping with the Lord's command. In Acts 2:42 we read: "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." The first century Christians set the example through obedience to the doctrine of Christ and therefore we must do likewise today.

How Should We Commune With Christ?

First of all Paul tells the Corinthian brethren not to commune in a spirit of rivalry. He says: "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not" (1 Cor 11:20-22). Nor are we to partake of the communion unworthily "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor 11:27).

Before we partake of the Lord's Supper, we must ensure that we are doing so in a worthy manner. In other words, thinking about Jesus and the sacrifice He offered for us. Let's give Jesus the preeminence that He deserves in every part of our worship.