As we continue to follow the spiritual journey of our imaginary “new follower of Jesus” we take a minute to consider The Lord’s Supper.


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The Lord’s Supper The earliest written account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper is in 1 Cor. 11:23–26. The Corinthian church was divided, and many of its members were selfish and self-indulgent. In their fellowship meal, therefore, they did not eat “the Lord’s Supper” (v. 20), for some overindulged while others were left hungry and humiliated. In response to this abuse, Paul reminded them of the tradition that he had received and passed on to them regarding the Supper of the Lord with His disciples the night He was betrayed.

On the night when He was betrayed,
the Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks,
broke it, and said, “This is My body,
which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same way He also took the cup, after supper,
and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (HCSB)

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The terms “eucharist” or “thanksgiving” and “communion” or “fellowship” are often applied to the Supper, and each highlights a significant aspect of this ordinance. “The Lord’s Supper” appears more satisfactory for the overall designation, reminding Christians that they share the loaf and cup at His table, not their own.

The account of the Last Supper in Mark 14:22–26 is roughly parallel to Paul’s account but with some differences (Matt. 26:26–30; Luke 22:17–20). Both accounts (Mark’s and Paul’s) record the blessing (thanksgiving) and breaking of bread. Both refer to covenant in connection with the cup as His blood, though only Paul called this a new covenant (Jer. 31:31–34). Both contain a future emphasis, though in different forms. Mark indicated that Jesus said He would not drink again of the fruit of the vine until He drank it anew in the kingdom of God. Paul related that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26 HCSB).

Paul stressed the memorial aspect of the Supper. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Christians were to remember that the body of Christ was broken and His blood shed for them. As in baptism sharing the Supper is a proclamation of the gospel in hope, “until He comes.” As the Passover was a symbol of the old covenant, the Lord’s Supper is a symbol of the new. Christians remember the sacrifice provided for their deliverance from bondage and look forward to the ultimate consummation in the land of promise, the kingdom of God.

The Supper shared in remembrance of the past and hope for the future is fulfilled in fellowship for the present. Time and again the phrase “in Christ” is repeated in the writings of Paul. Union in Christ and unity with Christians is a recurring theme. Not surprisingly, therefore, one finds these emphases related to the Lord’s Supper. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16 HCSB). Paul was not talking about a repetition of the sacrifice of Christ, but a genuine sharing of fellowship (koinonia) with the living Lord. Fellowship in Christ is basic for fellowship in His body (v. 17).

All Christians are unworthy to share the Lord’s Supper, but His grace has provided for them in their unworthiness. The tragedy is that some partake in an unworthy manner, not discerning the Lord’s body. Paul addressed this matter for the Corinthians and for us, urging that Christians examine themselves and respect the corporate body of Christ as they share the Supper of the Lord.[1]

[1] Claude L. Howe Jr., “Ordinances,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1229–1230.