“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 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.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.” — 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 (NIV84)
I hesitated to do a devotion on these verses because of the great controversy that exists within Christianity on the Lord’s Supper. I personally come to the issue with a sacramental understanding, but that is not the point I want to make today. The point I would like to make is that I believe all sides of the debate might be guilty at times of making too little of this event. Paul was criticizing the Corinthian church for being too casual with the Lord’s Supper. If you read the context, they seemed to have turned the meal into a sort of family-style meal without much order and without much reverence.
Paul reminded the Corinthian Christians that Jesus shared the same words with him as He did with the disciples when He celebrated the meal the first time on the night before His crucifixion. Jesus declared the bread was His body and in/with the wine was the new covenant in His blood. Paul added that we must be cautious about partaking in the Lord’s Supper in an “unworthy manner.” He stated that we must examine ourselves before we partake of this sacred event. And there is the point I want to make this morning. The Lord’s Supper is a sacred event. Jesus Himself consecrated and forever altered the Passover meal to be one of the most significant practices of the Christian Church for ages to come. We need to see all that is here. We need to see that in this meal Jesus brings to us the hope and fulfillment of all that the new covenant offers.
Let’s not partake of the Lord’s Supper because we came to church on a given Sunday and found out that they are having it. Let’s first make sure that we have examined our lives and meditated on the significant meaning of this meal, and then partake freely and joyously.