THE LORD’S SUPPER
This Sunday morning we will take the Lord’s Supper together in both of our worship services. This is one of the most significant acts of worship that we do as the church. During his ministry on this earth, Jesus instituted two ordinances to be observed by the church during the time between his resurrection and his return: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism is a living picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It symbolizes a believer’s identification with Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection, as they go under the water and then come out of the water. In other words, baptism is a picture of salvation. Since a believer is only saved once in their lives, baptism is only supposed to take place one time in a believer’s life, as they begin their walk with Jesus.
The Lord’s Supper, however, is a living picture of our continued need to “eat” and “drink” of Jesus for life. It symbolizes a believer’s ongoing depending on Jesus’ broken body (eating a piece of unleavened bread) and shed blood (drinking some grape juice) for salvation. While baptism is a living picture of our initial moment of salvation, the Lord’s Supper is a living picture of an ongoing relationship with Jesus, something we are to do until he returns (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24–25).
The Bible tells we are doing four things as we take the Lord’s Supper. First, we are looking back and remembering Christ’s death on our behalf. We remember that Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice for our sins (1 Cor 11:24–26). We remember that we are under the New Covenant with God because of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood (Matt 26:26–28). We are supposed to consider how by faith we have experienced the benefits of Jesus’ death. We have been brought into his body, the church (1 Cor 10:16), and are continually sustained by his grace (John 6:53–57). We have been forgiven of our sins (Matt 26:26), and now have fellowship with God (Matt 26:27–29).
Second, when we take the Lord’s supper we aren’t just supposed to look back, but also look forward. As we eat and drink, we anticipate our life in the kingdom to come, looking forward to the time of our great banquet with God (Matt 26:29; Rev 19:7–9). We are supposed to keep celebrating the Lord’s Supper until Jesus returns, because it reminds us that one day we celebrate with him in person. The Lord’s Supper is a living reminder of Jesus’ promise, of our hope.
Third, we’re not only meant to look back and forward, but to look around as we take the Lord’s Supper. Our communion time with Jesus is a communion time with one another (1 Cor 10:17), as we all look back on the same sacrifice, celebrate the same salvation, worship the same Savior, and anticipate the same kingdom. The Lord’s Supper helps us celebrate and solidify our unity as believers in Christ. This is why we take it with our brothers and sisters in Christ, visibly demonstrating our union with one another.
Finally, the Lord’s Supper is meant to help us look up. In remembrance, with hope and unity, we are to give thanks for all that Jesus’ broken body and shed blood has accomplished for us in God’s grace. This is why some denominations refer to the Supper as the “Eucharist,” which means “thanksgiving.” Every time we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we have an opportunity to thank God for Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. We have an opportunity to thank God for one another, for our church. We have an opportunity to thank God for forgiving our sins, for his great love for us, and for the future blessings the kingdom will bring.
In light of all this, I hope you will make the Lord’s Supper a priority, not only this upcoming Sunday, but whenever we gather to celebrate it. It’s one of our God-given ways to remember, trust, come together before, and worship him. I look forward to taking it with you.