The Lord’s Supper
Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper in order for us to remember the great sacrifice He made for us and that we rely on Him and His sacrifice for our salvation. He gave us this memorial so we would not forget Him and what He did for us. In Luke 22:19, when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He said, "Do this in remembrance of Me." This is done to help us remember the Lord and what He did for us.
The death of our Lord was not an accident. It was in God’s eternal plan of redemption for Christ to come to this earth and take our punishment for our sins by dying for us so God can now be just in saving us. In a number of places in the Old Testament, God foretells the death of His Son for us. One place is found in Isaiah 53:5-6, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, and by His stripes we are healed…And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." God and Christ are loving and wonderful for what they have done for us.
In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 we read of Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper, "The Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes." This is how we remember the great suffering which our Lord did for us. We proclaim our faith in this great and wonderful deed to the world each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper. There are those who partake of only the bread and their priest partakes of the fruit of the vine. This is a perversion of the Lord’s Supper. This is not doing it the way the Bible instructs. But notice each Christian is to partake of both the bread and the fruit of the vine.
When we partake of the unleavened bread we picture our Lord’s body hanging there, suffering in anguish and pain, taking the punishment that was rightly due us. As we drink of the fruit of the vine we envision His precious blood which was poured out for us to cleanse us from all our sins. What great love and concern God and Christ have for us! The Lord wants us to remember what He did for us every first day of the week as the church did in the first century.
We are to remember that our Lord gave up heaven to come to this earth for thirty-three years, and then died for us. We remember the humiliation of the mock trial, the crown of thorns and the terrible scourging that left His back raw and bleeding. We remember the soldiers gambling for the Lord’s only earthly possession, the clothes on His back. Then we remember the nails as they were driven into His hands and feet, and the cross as it was raised and dropped into the hole.
We also remember the spirit of forgiveness of our Lord, as He was being crucified, when He said in Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." We remember our Lord’s loud cry of loneliness in Matthew 27:46, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" We remember as our Lord hung on the cross, how the people mocked, shamed, and made fun of Him as He was dying not only for their sins but the sins of all mankind.
We remember in Matthew 27:45, "Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land", and in Matthew 27:51, "The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split." The sun refused to shine and the earth shook because of the death of the Son of God. We read in 1 Peter 2:24, "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed."
We must first examine ourselves to determine whether we have the right attitude to partake of this memorial. We must put all else from our minds. We should make sure we have our minds centered on what Christ did for us. We are told in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29, "Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and 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 manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body." We must clear our minds of all other thoughts and center our minds on the sacrifice of our Lord, or otherwise as 1 Corinthians 11:29 (KJV) says, "We eat and drink damnation to ourselves."