The Lord’s Supper aka Holy Communion aka The Last Supper is a very significant and important part of worship, because of what it is representing.
It’s not about the grape juice, bread, and the cracker. It’s not snack time on that particular Sunday. It’s not anything of that. It’s about the representation of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
Before Jesus’ arrest and death, he was in a room with his disciples and they shared a final meal together with him. Judas Iscariot was there, as well, because Jesus said “one of you will betray me” (Matt 26:21; Mark 14:17) Basically every gospel, except John speaks on what went down at the Last Supper. So it appears that Judas participate in the Communion knowing he will betray Jesus.
So I’m going to go through 1 Corinthians 11: 23-34 to break down from Paul’s account.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
Although, Paul wasn’t there at that time (obviously, he wasn’t) I’m sure at that time, he was given an account by one of the 11 disciples that was faithful to Jesus. Everything led up to Jesus sacrifice, from Judas betrayal to Jesus’ death, which is why Paul starts by acknowledging that the Lord’s supper took place on the night in which Jesus was betrayed.
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
This part is pretty much self explanatory, because Jesus is saying eat this, drink this is in remembrance of me. The bread presents the body of Christ and the wine presents the blood.
****Side bar****how do we know that they used wine? Well, wine was used throughout the bible. Wine is made from grapes and I’m sure they used red grapes. It’s not specified if the red wine was Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc., because it’s not important and Welch’s wasn’t in business at that time.
Anyhoo, when Jesus is saying “this cup is the new covenant in my blood” that’s key indication that his time was coming, when his blood shedding for all of mankind will be the sacrifice, so there would be no more animal or burnt sacrificing in asking for forgiveness and atonement. Jesus blood cleansed both past, present, and future sins of the entire world. (Remember that upon Jesus’ death, grace started and we were no longer under law.)
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
We as his followers, his children, his body, must honor and remember until he returns to earth. This is why we just can’t come to his take any kind of way.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
Not everyone can take communion. You not only have to be a born again believer, but you also have to be in fellowship with God at that moment. Meaning you cannot have any unconfessed sin. IF you do participate, but you have not confessed something that you need to confess, then you’ll be guilty of coming to his table in an unworthy manner.
We also cannot come to the Lord’s table and not be in remembering what it represents. Like I said in the beginning, it’s not a snack time. That cracker/bread/juice/wine combination is in celebration and remembrance of the sacrifice that Jesus made, when he paid our sin debt in full. So for anyone to participate without this on their mind or to participate knowing you have not examined yourself and made things right with God, then you eat and drink judgment unto yourself.
Paul said in verse 30, for this reason (or cause, depending on the version you’re reading), many are weak, sick, and sleep among you. That’s pretty much what will happen. You’ll get sick, get weak, or die. This is serious business people.
For us in Christ, you know that when you do something wrong, you’ll feel a conviction from the Holy Spirit. It’s like a nagging ache that doesn’t go away and it is not satisfied until we make things right. But when we were in the world, we just had a conscience. We didn’t have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truths. So, now that you’re saved, we’re disciplined (chastened in some versions) by our parent. We don’t lose our relationship or sonship with God, we’re disciplined out of love and we are corrected on our behavior, but we’re not going to be condemned like unbelievers will be. What he means in verse 31 is to recognize what you’re doing and make it right (confessing and repenting) before it escalates to verse 32 and God has to remind us why what we did was wrong, why we must repent, why we must acknowledge that it’s not a cool thing to ever do.
Example: My mother was pretty cool and not strict, but she didn’t play when it comes to disobeying her. (Til this day, in adulthood, I still have a respectful fear of her) She would give me and my sister the chance to confess what we have done, before she reveals that she already knew. Sometimes, we were successful and sometimes we weren’t. When we confessed first, she was usually lenient but when we played around to see how long we could get away with our disobedience and she revealed that she already knew what we did, then there was no talking or negotiating out of the chastening (in my house was known as the belt).
So, when we have unconfessed sin and you haven’t even made an attempt to make things right with God, and you come to his table, obviously, he’s going to feel some type of way and you are too, because you’re going to be guilty.
So, if you’re a believer, make things right before you partake in the Communion services and if you are not a believer, you need to get saved before you partake in the Communion service, because this is serious business and it represents the sacrifice that Jesus made for all mankind.
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.
The Lord’s supper is a service and I know at my church and every church I have participated in the Lord’s supper, no one ate the cracker/bread or drank the juice until everyone received his or her portion. Once the Pastor or Minster of that service says “and they all eat” or whatever, I can’t remember to be honest, then we eat. And then when they said “and let us drink together”, we drank the juice.
It was a corporate group thing, we ate and drank together. We celebrated and praise God together, worshipping him for the sacrifice of his son Jesus.
I’m not 100% sure about the first part of verse 34, because I’m not sure if Paul meant as physically eating or spiritually eating. I’m just being 100 with you on that. ****if anyone knows, feel free to drop a note in the comments below****
“The remaining matters I will arrange when I come” (or depending what version, the KJV say “The rest will I set in order when I come” Now, this is Paul talking. I up until a few minutes ago actually thought that it was Jesus that said this. But, I listened to the Holy Spirit and looked back at the chapter (1 Corinthians 11) and learned it was Paul that gave this account. So, Paul is saying that there is more to the story, so to speak, and when he arrives in Corinth to speak with the church of the Corinthians, in Greece; he’ll speak more on the matter and probably answer any questions they may have.
In between this time, while the Deacons or Trustess or Pastor’s Henchmen as I used to call them (Don’t mind my humor, lol), we’ll sing what is known as blood songs (At the Cross, Are you Washed in the Blood?, There is a Fountain, Let us Break Bread Together, Nothing but the Blood, etc) Why, because it’s all about the blood of Jesus Christ.
So, how do you go before the Lord’s table? Do you follow what the bible said and examine yourself? Are you acknowledging the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for all of mankind?
Come less discuss in the comments below,