Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Lord's Supper

Does your family have any traditions?  In just over six years of marriage, my wife and I have established one indespensible tradition- Ice Cream Fridays.  We were married on a Friday.  That day, we enjoyed ice cream together.  Every Friday since then, we have done the same.  We have currently celebrated over 310 Ice Cream Fridays!

While Ice Cream Friday is important for us- it really has no deep significance to it.  It simply gives us an excuse to enjoy the taste of ice cream.  You could say the Lord's Supper is a "tradition" that we believers observe.  Unlike our Ice Cream Fridays, this intaking of food has value.  It has spiritual significance.

A survey of the Scriptures that speak of the Lord's Supper reveal that this observance is a time to do at least six things.

1. It is a time to obey.  I Corinthians 11:24-25
- Jesus told His disciples to take the bread and the cup.  His words to them indicated that they were to continue to observe this.  We must remember that partaking in the Lord's supper is not a recently invented practice of the church.  It is not something the early church started.  It is not a command of the apostles.  It is a directive of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As we participate in the Lord's Supper, we are obeying our Lord.

2. It is a time to examine.  I Corinthians 11:27-32
- Paul pointed out the possibility of celebrating this occassion improperly.  In fact, some believers in Corinth had been judged for this very reason.  From this, we see the seriousness of the occassion.  In order to celebrate correctly, Paul admonishes them to examine themselves.  Each believer is to look at himself- noone else.  Each time we come to a celebration of the Lord's Supper, we should remember to examine ourselves and see if there is any unconfessed sin.

3. It is a time to hope.  Matthew 26:29; I Corinthians 11:26
- The disciples were to continue this tradition until Jesus came back.  This is a promise that He will return.  In the verse from Matthew, I see that it is a promise of three things: 1) Jesus will set up His Father's Kingdom, 2) Jesus will celebrate the Lord's Supper in the future, and 3) There is life after death.  Since God always keeps His promises, we can look to the future with hope- confidently awaiting Jesus' fulfillment of His promises.

4. It is a time to unite.  Mark 14:23
- As the disciples took part in this observance, they shared the bread and the drink.  As we do the same, we show the unity we have to Jesus Christ and, by extension, the unity we have to one another.  Earlier that night, Jesus had prayed that the disciples would be one (united) as He was one with the Father.  As we partake, we unite.

5. It is a time to show.  I Corinthians 11:26
- Each time we celebrate, we show the death of Jesus Christ.  One commentator suggests that we show this: 1) To God- showing Jesus is our sacrifice, 2) To ourselves- taking comfort in the fact that Jesus died in our place, and 3) To the world- we are trusting only in Jesus.

6. It is a time to remember.  I Corinthians 11:24-25
- He asked us to specifically remember two things- His body, which was broken for us and His blood, which was shed for us. We are to keep in mind the tremendous physical suffering he went through for our sins.  We are to ponder the sacrifice of His precious blood for us.  Remembering what He did should make us humble and thankful before Him.

Try to remember these the next time your church celebrates the Lord's Supper.  Is there one of these you have forgotten about? 

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