The Lord’s Supper
by Terry Broome
It was a most solemn occasion when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. His earthly ministry was nearing its end. The agony of Gethsemane, His betrayal by Judas, His trial and crucifixion were all to be experienced within the next 24 hours. The weight of the world’s sins lay heavy upon His heart. The shadows of the cross grew deeper and darker. To prepare Himself for the dreadful ordeal ahead, Jesus gathered the 12 apostles about Him in the upper room to eat the Passover. When he was about to shed His own blood for the sins of the world, Jesus desired to establish an institution by which the memory of His sacrificial death would be forever kept alive.
The observance of the Lord’s Supper is a spiritual highlight for the church coming together on the First Day Of The Week. Sadly, this observance has been taken through the ringer of man’s opinions and desires. There are some who don’t take it with any regularity alleging they don’t want it to become too common place. Those who take this view usually set aside a monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually time for this observance, making that occasion some sort of “High Sunday” higher than all other Sundays. While I understand the importance of not allowing any expression of worship to God to become common place, there is a Biblical pattern for this observance that should keep it from ever eroding to that level. Others have changed the use of the observance hoping to reach some spiritual “high.” Still others have taken away from the Biblical significance of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine by substituting these for more “appealing” emblems.
Notice some special names or phrases that describe the Lord’s Supper. “The Communion of the Body and the Blood of Jesus” is an appropriate description of the Supper. These phrases define the purpose of the observance. “Communion” is from the Greek word “koinonia” which signifies fellowship, joint participation. In the Supper we are having fellowship with the Lord’s body and shed blood. 1 Corinthians 10:16 (KJV) 16“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?”
“The Breaking of Bread” is an appropriate description of partaking of the Lord’s Supper –Acts 2:42 (KJV) 42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
The Lord’s Supper is a “Memorial Feast” according to 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 (KJV) 24 “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. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”
This Communion, Breaking of Bread, Memorial Feast is most often referred to as the Lord’s Supper. The church at Corinth was rebuked for abusing the purpose of coming together to take the Lord’s Supper. 1 Corinthians 11:20-21 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.” (Notice: It should have been to eat the Lord’s Supper, but they had abused that purpose, and here is how they abused it:) 21 “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 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.” (They had abused the “Lord’s Supper by turning it into a common meal, and a social banquet.) Christians should partake of this Memorial Feast every First Day Of The Week as was the practice of the New Testament Church.
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.