A Fresh Perspective on the Lord's Supper

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In discussing and teaching about the Lord’s Supper, we commonly give most attention to the bread and the cup.

But let’s notice something about the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11: 23-25: 

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you. The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and (He) said, “This is My body which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me. 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.

You have noted how often Jesus is mentioned. Shall we not conclude that Paul is addressing the problem in that church by his writing these verses with a strong reminder of Jesus? Is he not saying: At your love feast/communion, you are in Jesus’ presence (as always) and the Lord’s Supper should strongly remind you of Him. 

He is addressing their unkind attitudes and actions to each other by saying: How can you act that way? Are you not aware of Jesus, or are you ignoring Him? If you were aware of Him, His presence, His grace, you would not treat each other that way.

He goes on to say: I want you to look at yourself and ask: Am I coming to the Lord’s Supper aware of Jesus, as He is described (verses 23-25)?

Examine yourself: Do you come and do you carry on with no sense of Jesus or His presence in your congregation or at His table?

(Incidentally, an examination about awareness of Jesus will usually lead to some thoughts about the need for forgiveness and His grace, about loving and serving Him, the old “examine yourself” emphasis.)

And does this not lead to the idea that Jesus is present at Lord’s Supper as the Host at the table? When He said “Do this in remembrance of Me,” He was not asking a mere bread and cup observance; He was asking an observance by people keenly aware of Him and His presence.

Let the officiant (pastor) have the role of representing Jesus and speaking Jesus’ words. Let the elders who serve have the role of presenting elements on behalf of Jesus. In other words, let the observance be an observance like the original observance: with Jesus as the dominant reality. He (through His representatives) is serving us and speaking to us. That’s the power, for He is the power of Lord’s Supper.

This is consistent with the Jesus emphasis in I Corinthians. We focus on Him, and elements point us to Him. And as He deals with us, reminding us of His grace for us individually (each one is served) how can we do anything but say: Yes Lord, and believe Him. 

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