The Lord’s Supper
The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper ( 1 Corinthians 11:20 ), is called also “the Lord’s table” (1 Corinthians 10:21), “communion,” “cup of blessing” (1 Corinthians 10:16), and “breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42). Jesus and His disciples observed the Lord’s Supper in the upper room at Jerusalem the night of His trial (Luke 22:13, 14). At the very time Jesus was giving instructions for the memorial ordinance of His death to be observed, the wicked religious leaders were plotting to kill him.
The Lord’s Supper, which succeeded the Passover memorial of deliverance from Egypt, was given, not as a sacrifice, but to remind the believer of what has been done for him by the great sacrifice made by the Son of God (Hebrews 9:25–28; 10:3–12, 14). The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of thanksgiving. The spiritual significance of the act of partaking of Lord’s Supper must be studied from the background of man’s original state of perfection, his fall, and his redemption by God through Christ.
The Plan of Salvation
Man was originally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). He had an open relationship with the Lord and the angels and was sustained by the fruit of the tree of life (Genesis 2:15, 16). But when man sinned, he lost the privilege of communion with God; instead of being in harmony with the mind of God, he had corrupted thoughts, and fear replaced love (Genesis 3:8, 10, 12; Isaiah 59:2; Jeremiah. 17:9). On his own, man could not be restored back to God. He could not free himself from the bondage of Satan and was sentenced to eternal death (Jeremiah 13:23).
In His infinite mercy, God offered a way of escape from death. He offered to pay the penalty of man’s sin through the sacrifice of His Son (Psalms 2:7, 12; 40:7; John 14:9–11; 2 Corinthians 5:19). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no greater love than that (John 15:13).
The broken bread of the Lord’s Supper represents the truth that as man receives his physical life from bread, so the repentant, believing sinner receives life from God’s Word. The physical food taken into the body is broken by the processes of digestion into nutrients to sustain the body. Similarly, the study and assimilation of the Word of God helps the believers to maintain communion with Heaven and empower them to grow in grace.
Man, physically, is what he eats. In like manner, he who studies God’s Word and applies it into his life, is changed from a disobedient sinner into a loving obedient child of God. This precious experience has been made possible for man only by the breaking of the body of Jesus. This assimilation of His words is described by Jesus as eating His body and drinking His blood (John 6:47, 48, 51, 54–58, 63).
The cup of wine in the Lord’s Supper, “untouched by fermentation” (Matthew 26:27), represents the pure blood of Christ. The old covenant between God and Israel was confirmed by the blood of animals (Exodus 24:3–8). The new covenant between God and man was ratified by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:12, 14, 16, 20). The sinner who repents and accepts the divine plan for his salvation enters into the new covenant. And he testifies to his grateful acceptance of this plan by drinking the communion wine.
Do This in Remembrance of Me
It is important that the great Sacrifice of God be never forgotten by all who love Him. The sacrifice of Christ was offered only once. But in order to make it effective for all who seek forgiveness, Jesus became man’s great High Priest in heaven after His ascension to present the merits of His sacrifice on behalf of repentant sinners (1 Corinthians 11:26; Hebrews 4:14–16). As the Savior ministers on behalf of the believers in heaven, He calls them to observe the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper in order that it vividly keeps before them the mystery of His atonement.
In His service,
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