Over the last couple of weeks we have been examining why it is we partake of the Lordís Supper in the manner in which we do. In the first bulletin we looked at why we partake of the Lordís Supper every first day of the week. Last week we looked at why we partake of the Lordís Supper with unleavened bread and grape juice and not pizza and coke or wonder bread and wine. I have also stressed the need to know why we do what we do. It is not enough to rely upon tradition. In Israel their tradition of worshipping God in Dan and Bethel was wrong. Jehu honestly believed that Jehovah was only bothered by the apostasy of Baal worship brought to the nation by Jezebel. Even though tradition said it was okay to worship God via one of those two golden calves, the tradition was wrong. We need to be certain that our traditions are not violating biblical guidelines lest we fall into the same trap as King Jehu. With that said, let us consider what we should be doing while partaking of the Lordís Supper. I am convinced that God reveals that the Lordís Supper encourages us to reflect upon one of three thoughts.
We are to consider his death. On the night he was betrayed Jesus stated that we were to keep the Lordís Supper in remembrance of Him (I Cor. 11:23-25). While I donít want to marginalize the Lordís Supper I want to compare it to a common practice in our own culture. When a loved one departs and we say our goodbyes at a funeral it is often followed by a meal. These meals are an opportunity for us to gather around and share found memories of our dear one. It is always a wonderful experience for me when I have attended these throughout the years. Sure, we cry, but we also laugh as we remember. The Lordís Supper is our chance to do the same. Each week we get to have the time to reflect back upon our ďmemoryĒ of Jesus. While I have no doubts that the apostles would have likely reflected back in a more personal way (after all they knew him), we can think back to the sacrifice, the sins in our lives, and what Jesus gave up for me and for you. It should on occasion bring tears to our lives as we reflect upon his love and it ought to bring joy from time to time as we reflect upon the freedom that he gave us.
We are to proclaim the Lordís death. In I Cor. 11:26 Paul said that we are to proclaim the Lordís death as we partake of the Lordís Supper. The Greek word translated as proclaim is kataggelio. It means to proclaim or announce. In the KJV, it is typically translated as preach. I think this ties in beautifully to the subject matter of the first article in this series. Wouldnít we want to proclaim Jesusí death often? When we partake of his memorial feast every week, then every week we are proclaiming the Lordís death. When you tell your friends you have to go to church, donít just tell them you have to go to church. Tell them you will be remembering the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Tell them you need to be there because of what Jesus has done. Tell them you need to be there so that you can dine with him in his memorial feast! I think this also means that as we prepare to partake of the feast, there ought to be something said about why we have gathered around that table. While it is a tradition to have someone speak some words before we eat, I think that it is a wise tradition that helps us to keep proclaiming the death of our savior.
We are to look forward to his return. Returning back to I Cor. 11:26 Paul says that we are to continue to take this weekly meal until the Lord comes. This does not mean that we partake of the Lordís Supper so long as we are living, breathing and God has permitted this world to keep on spinning. What it really means is that we are to continue to partake of this feast with a hopeful expectation of his return. Our hope is not in this world. Our hope is in the world yet to come. As such, we need to be looking forward to that coming. Every time we eat together we should be also thinking about the fact that one day we wonít just be remembering Jesus. We will be seeing Jesus. We wonít be just trying to remind ourselves that he is in our midst. Our eyes shall behold him.
Grinnell church of Christ
Website design by Blythe Data Recovery & Computer Repair, LLC
Understanding the Lord's Supper part 3
Volume 7 Issue 11