Q46: What is the Lord’s Supper?
A: Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence of God in our midst; bringing us into communion with God and with one another; feeding and nourishing our souls. It also anticipates the day when we will eat and drink with Christ in his Father’s Kingdom.
1 Cor. 11:23-26 (ESV) – “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this mean in my relationship with God?
While the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper means many things in reference to one’s relationship with God, only one will be highlighted here. The Lord’s Supper is a consistent reminder to the people of God of their glorious salvation in Christ. Every time the people of God partake of the bread and the cup they are reminded that Jesus’ body was broken on their behalf and His blood was shed on their behalf. Therefore, the people of God come to the table with a number of responses.
First, they come reverent of the fact that the holy God of the universe made the way for mankind to be reconciled to Him. Second, they come grateful that God has acted in their place where they could not, due to sin’s effects. Third, they come celebrating that Jesus has paid the price of their redemption in full. There is no more condemnation left. We eat and drink and are drawn in to remember that we are welcome at the Lord’s table forever.
- Luke 22:18-20 “For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this mean in my relationship with humanity?
In regards to our relationship with humanity, two things are worth noting. First, the Lord’s Supper serves to unite all of the people of God everywhere. We partake of the bread and the cup as one body, one family. The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance for the church of God. It is a family event.
Second, The Lord’s Supper serves as a means of proclamation to the non-Christian that Jesus’ death on the cross, His broken body and His shed blood, is the way into relationship with God. Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper we “proclaim His death until He comes.”
- 1 Cor. 11:23-26 “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action
Perhaps the most obvious way of putting this truth into action is to ensure that you are a part of a local body of Christ that partakes of the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. To not do so is to forsake something that Jesus himself instituted.
Finally, when you do partake of the Lord’s Supper, ensure that you are doing it in reverence, with gratitude, and in celebration. The Lord’s Supper is no flippant moment to be passed through. It is the proclamation of our freedom. It is a symbol that our debt has been paid in full. It is a gift. Praise God!
- 1 Cor. 11:27-29 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”