Like some Christians, I viewed the Lord’s Supper more in fear than hope,
because we were required to confess our sins before partaking in it.
Otherwise, we feared punishment through sickness and death.
With great care, I enumerated and confessed my every sin in thought, word & deed,
one by one to make sure that God forgave me. I wanted to be sure that I was forgiven.
But when I realized the truth about the Holy Communion, God gave me peace.
When Paul told the Corinthians to take the Holy Communion,
he told them to examine themselves.
1st Corinthians 11:27-29 “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself if he doesn’t discern the Lord’s body.”
Examining themselves was about the unworthy way in which they ate the meal.
Christ has given us this ordinance as a means to remember His great love on the cross.
But the Corinthians had treated it as a private buffet and ate all the food and got drunk, leaving the poor believers hungry! They took the Lord’s Supper without discernment of the Lord’s body. The bread symbolizes Christ’s body and the believers belong to the spiritual body of Christ (the Church). The Corinthians were mocking Jesus and the Church (body of Christ). Therefore, Paul commanded them to eat at home if they were hungry. But when they came to Church, He exhorted them to remember the Lord when taking the Holy Communion and let everyone have a chance to partake in the meal.
1st Corinthians 11:26, 33-34 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes…Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest your coming together be for judgment. The rest I will set in order whenever I come.”
Luke 22:19-20 “He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in memory of me.” Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
We can say “thank you Jesus for loving us so much that you gave up your body to be broken on the cross to give us immortality in heaven”.
We can say, “thank you Jesus for shedding your blood to forgive us and make us righteous without our works”.
The Lord’s Supper is not a ritual to confess our sins and over-analyze ourselves.
We should believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus died to take away our sins by His blood. This is the confession of faith.
But the Corinthians were not remembering Christ in the Holy Communion.
Paul said that they became guilty of the body and blood of Christ
and brought judgment on themselves.
Paul warned the Corinthians that they were dividing the Church by this unworthy manner of Holy Communion – letting people get hungry while others gorged themselves and got drunk.
We can thank God that such behavior is unimaginable today in the Church.
1st Corinthians 11:17-22 “But in giving you this command, I don’t praise you, that you come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together in the assembly, I hear that divisions exist among you, and I partly believe it. For there also must be factions among you, that those who are approved may be revealed among you. When therefore you assemble yourselves together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in your eating each one takes his own supper first. One is hungry, and another is drunken. What, don’t you have houses to eat and to drink in? Or do you despise God’s assembly and put them to shame who don’t have enough? What shall I tell you? Shall I praise you? In this I don’t praise you.”
The Lord’s Supper is not a guilt-trip or ritual to receive forgiveness of sins.
It is about believing in the love of God who tells us that our sins are forgiven through Christ’s death on the cross. We remember that Jesus Christ is our God who came in the flesh – Immanuel – God with us! The body of a man is intimate and only shared with his beloved wife. Just like a husband and wife become one flesh in the same way we are one with Christ in spirit by His Holy Spirit living in us.
1st Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
We celebrate this beautiful union of Christ our bridegroom and we are His beloved bride by partaking in the Holy Communion. We are one with Him!
It is about celebrating our intimacy and union with our Lord Jesus.
The Lord’s Supper is about remembering His loving benefits for us:
Psalm 103:1-5,8,11-12 “Praise Yahweh , my soul! All that is within me, praise his holy name!
Praise Yahweh, my soul, and don’t forget all his benefits, who forgives all your sins, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your desire with good things,
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Yahweh is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor repaid us for our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his loving kindness toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
Christ’s blood was shed to forgive our sins. He made us holy and perfect forever by one sacrifice! Our Lord’s body was broken so that we receive resurrected bodies in heaven.
If it is God’s will then we can be healed of our sickness by His death on the cross.
The ultimate healing is to have perfect healthy immortal bodies in heaven.
Jesus was cursed on the cross so that we are redeemed from the curse of Adam.
Jesus was crowned with thorns so that we are crowned with God’s love as beloved sons and daughters. Jesus was crowned with dishonor on the cross so that we are crowned as kings because we were raised and seated with Him in heavenly places.
Christ gave up all His desires on the cross so that God our Father gives us the desires of our heart. The true desire of our heart is to be loved – this is love that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross. He suffered and died young so that we can live forever in heaven in perfect youth.
Through the death of Christ, God has promised to never condemn us but He has taken away our sins as far as the east is from the west. His love for us is as high as heaven is above the earth. We were dead in sin but He forgave us all sin and raised us with Christ and seated us in heaven in His great love as His beloved children.
Psalm 91:16 “I will satisfy him with long life, and show him my salvation.”
Jesus Christ died at a young age in His 30’s to give us immortality and salvation in heaven where we will live forever.
When we eat the Lord’s Supper every time, it does not mean that Jesus is being crucified repeatedly. Hebrews 10:1-18 tells us that His one sacrifice has removed all our sins and that He cannot be crucified again.
When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He told them to remember His death by eating the bread and drinking the wine that symbolizes His body and blood.
But this meal was instituted before His actual death on the Cross.
Therefore, when we repeatedly eat the Lord’s Supper, we are not repeatedly crucifying Jesus, but we are repeating the actual supper before He died.
Many believers have stayed away in fear of taking the Lord’s Supper because of their sins. Dear friends, look at how earnestly Jesus wants to share this meal with you and me.
Luke 22:15-16 “He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I tell you, I will no longer by any means eat of it until it is fulfilled in God’s Kingdom.”
Don’t stay back in fear. Let us come boldly to the throne of grace and celebrate with our Lord by proclaiming His death for our sins.