TEXT: Matthew 26:17-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
The students will be able to explain the meaning of the Lord’s Supper and tell why it is important.
As you study the different accounts of the Lord’s Supper, you will find that it was instituted at the close of the Passover Supper, but was not a normal part of that observance. Jesus established this as a sacred ordinance for all His followers to observe. Each time a Christian eats of “the bread” (which represents Christ’s Body) and drinks from “the cup” (representative of His shed Blood) he is obeying Jesus’ instructions when He said, “this do in remembrance of me.”
For fourteen centuries the Passover had been pointing forward to the coming of the Paschal Lamb. Jesus ate the Passover, then established in its place His own supper. The next day, Jesus himself was slain as the Paschal Lamb, making it unnecessary from that day on for anyone to have to sacrifice or to celebrate the original Passover—the perfect “Lamb” had been slain. Jesus died on the cross the same day in which paschal lambs were being slain in the Temple.
The Passover had served its purpose, and now we have a new memorial supper which is to be kept in loving remembrance of Jesus till He comes again. As the Passover pointed back to deliverance out of Egypt and forward to His coming; so the new memorial points back to His death and forward to His coming in glory.
God has instructed the Jews to keep the Passover once a year as a memorial of their exodus from Egypt and bondage. Just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus and His disciples were celebrating this feast. At the close of the Passover Supper, Jesus instituted what we know today as the Lord’s Supper. Though there is no saving grace in the ordinance itself, it depicts the total work of Christ in man’s behalf. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes the death of Jesus for our sins, and our death to sin through Him. It reminds us that Jesus’ death is the means of our righteousness, the union between Jesus and us, and our expectant hope in Christ until He comes.
- Explain what the Passover was and to what it pointed. See Exodus 12:3-14,22.
Response: The Children of Israel were to take a lamb from the flock on the tenth day of the month and keep it separate until the fourteenth day, when they were to kill it in the evening and eat it roasted with fire. They were to place the blood over their doors. This pointed to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who would take away our sins. Ask your students what benefit staying “under the blood” brought at the time of the establishing of the Passover. Liken that to the necessity for Christians today to keep the Blood of Christ over their lives.
- To what does the observance of the Lord’s Supper point?
Response: It points back to the death of Jesus on the cross. It also points forward to the time when the believers will drink the fruit of the vine new with Christ in His Father’s Kingdom (Matthew 26:29). Discuss with your students what a memorial is: something that serves to help people remember some person or event. Perhaps your students can cite some examples of memorials to famous people or events. Help them see that this service is a memorial to Christ and His death, a Personage and event worthy of far greater acclaim and honor than any earthly figure or event.
- Why did Jesus institute this ordinance? See 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.
Response: Jesus established the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper for the benefit of His followers. He knew that Christians everywhere would need this memorial as a reminder of the price Jesus paid for man’s redemption, and of the eternal hope brought through salvation.
- What did they partake of at the first Lord’s Supper? What did these represent?
Response: At the first Lord’s Supper, Jesus gave His disciples unleavened bread and the “fruit of the vine.” The bread represented His Body to be broken for mankind, the juice represented His Blood to be shed for the salvation of everyone who would believe on Him. Ask your students what emblems we use when we observe the Lord’s Supper. Bring out that the emblems are merely symbolic and not to be represented at any time as being the actual Body and Blood of Christ. This does not detract from their sacred character in the least. They still symbolize the death of Jesus Christ, and through Him the hope of the resurrection.
- Who was present at the first Lord’s Supper? Knowing this, explain who is to partake of the Lord’s Supper today.
Response: The disciples, the men who were Jesus’ most trusted followers and closest to Him, were there with Him at the first Lord’s Supper. As your students discuss who should partake of the Lord’s Supper in our day, they should see the parallel— the born-again believer is both a trusted follower and one who is close to Christ.
- Define what is meant by the word unworthily in 1 Corinthians 11:27. Then explain what it means for a man to examine himself (verse 28).
Response: Your students will likely bring out that one must be sure he is saved and living according to God’s Word before partaking of the Lord’s Supper, otherwise he does so unworthily. Those who partake receive the symbolic emblems in commemoration of the time when God’s mercy imparted Christ’s righteousness to them. In responding to the second question, the class should conclude that examining oneself means to “search one’s heart.” Ask your students why it is necessary for the Christian to examine himself. How is this done? Bring out that reading the Bible and praying is what helps a person to see if anything has entered into the heart that shouldn’t be there. If you wish, ask your students, “What if prayer brings to mind that there is something between you and a brother?” See Matthew 5:23-24.
- Referring to 1 Corinthians 11:29, explain what you think it means to discern the Lord’s body.
Response: Discern means “to understand, perceive, recognize.” Your students’ definitions should bring out that for a person to partake of the emblems, he must strive to understand with all spiritual and physical capabilities, the full meaning of the offering Christ made for us on Calvary. In doing so, he is discerning the Lord’s body. It brings one into closer contact with Jesus. And if that person is diseased or sick, he has the right to believe that Jesus’ Blood will make him entirely whole.
- Tell of an instance of blessing in your life, or another’s, received while you were participating in this ordinance.
Response: Use the students’ responses to wrap up this lesson by focusing on the blessings that come when one obeys the Lord in this commemoration of His death.
Give each student a sheet of paper with a blank word square (see example in Answer Quarter Review). Ask them to open to their text and in it find words that will fill in the square.
From cardboard or heavy craft paper, make a large circle with a spinner in the center. Section off the circle into 16 to 20 sections. In each space write a question regarding the Lord’s Supper, its importance, why we do it, when or how often, etc. Let the students take turns spinning for a question, reading the questions out loud, and answering. If the spinner lands on a question already answered, the student may add some other thought on the same subject or spin again until all the questions have been answered.
Bring to class some letters or greeting cards. Postcards from someone who is on vacation or traveling would be especially good. Ask the students if they know what is usually the last thing that is said when someone is going away, or moving to another area. “Don’t forget me . . . don’t forget to write.” Why is that? It’s because all of us like to be remembered. So does Jesus! When He knew He would soon be leaving His disciples He wanted them to be sure to remember Him. He wouldn’t be where they could send letters and cards, but they could do something that would prove to Him that they remembered His love and the sacrifice of His life that they might have eternal life. So Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and knows that as we participate we are doing it in remembrance of Him.
Make and duplicate a fifteen-by-fifteen-inch grid sheet for each student in your class. Make a list of about twenty words that are related to the Lord’s Supper. Give each student a grid sheet and pencil. Tell them they will be making a hidden-word puzzle. Call out one word at a time and write it on the chalkboard. Ask the students to fill in each word on their grid as you call it out. It may be written vertically, horizontally, diagonally, forward, or backward, anywhere on the grid. When they have filled in all the words, tell them to fill in the extra spaces with any other letters they choose. Then, have the students exchange grid sheets and try to circle all the words on that hidden-word puzzle that are listed on the chalkboard.
Tract No. 49 — The Atoning Blood
Tract No. 69 — Ordinances