And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. — 1 Corinthians 11:24-25
I have a terrible memory! This is a known fact to my close friends and often joked about. I do not take it personally though, because I have little to no control over it.
Not long ago, however, my husband and I had an opportunity to drive through the little town where I went to college. It had been fourteen years since I had been there. As we drove by houses where I had lived and buildings where my classes were held, a flood of wonderful memories flashed through my mind. Professors, classes, conversations, situations, many things I had forgotten presented themselves in vivid color. As we drove down the main street, I would say, “Over there . . . ” or, “That is where . . .” Of course, some things looked different, but enough was the same that it made me smile and remember.
Jesus knew that revisiting certain events periodically would keep them fresh in our minds. When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are reminding ourselves of what the Lord did for us. He said, “This do in remembrance of me.” Not just once, but twice, He said that. It is almost as if he were saying, “Don’t forget. Really don’t forget!”
The Lord pointed back to the Old Testament ways when He said, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.” In other words, “We are no longer going to sacrifice animals. I will be that perfect and final sacrifice.” What a price He was willing to pay so that we could make Heaven our home! It is no wonder He wanted us to remember! The words of a song come to mind, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene.” He truly is amazing!
In addition to the initial price Christ paid, He uses these special times to remind us of blessings we have received at communion services in the past, thus boosting our faith in what He can do today. I love to listen to testimonies of those who have also received definite experiences from the Lord at ordinance services. Let your memories be stirred, reminding you of God’s goodness!
Paul started this portion of the letter to the church at Corinth by addressing the differences, or heresies, in the church. He pointed out that those promoting the differences accomplished only one thing: to manifest those who had God’s approval.
Prior to the actual Lord’s Supper, a fellowship feast was held, which was equivalent to a church potluck. Everyone was to bring what they had. Following the feast, they moved into the observance of the Lord’s Supper. Paul’s frustration, expressed in verses 21 and 22, was that although the feast preceding the Lord’s Supper was intended to enhance unity among the brethren, it was actually accentuating their differences. In their coming together, they were not eating together; the poor in their midst were not invited to participate in the fellowship dinner. This conduct certainly was not in keeping with the unity and love that should characterize the church, nor was it a preparation of their hearts for the Lord’s Supper which was to follow. The Apostle condemned these practices with the intent of encouraging the believers to correct the abuses.
After telling them what they were doing wrong, Paul took his readers back to the initiation of this ordinance. The Greek word for ordinance in verse two of this chapter is translated in other places as “tradition” or “teaching.” Paul used the Lord’s own words to explain the purpose of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus taught this observance on the night of the Passover (Luke 22:13-20). The Passover looked back to deliverance from slavery in Egypt; the Lord’s Supper looks back to deliverance from sin by Christ’s death.
Paul issued a warning regarding those who would partake “unworthily.” This included those who treated the communion as a purely ritualistic matter of ceremony, those who had a spirit not yielded to God or were holding grudges against another in the Body, and those who had sin in their lives. Paul admonished these individuals to judge themselves so that God would not have to judge them.
The reference in verse 24 to Christ’s body and Blood is meant figuratively, not literally. Because Christ was present with the disciples when He instituted this ordinance, it is clear that the bread and wine used were symbolic.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. Answers to inquiries
C. Concerning matters in public assembly
2. The observance of the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34)
a. Rebuke for disorder (11:17-22)
b. Rehearsal of the proper method (11:23-26)
c. Review of the seriousness of the ordinance (11:27-32)
d. Conclusion (11:33-34)
Paul gave the church of Corinth clear instructions regarding the Lord’s Supper — instructions from which we can learn. May we always use this special time to reverently reflect upon the price the Lord paid for our salvation!