Communion. A somber ceremony filled with dignity and gravity.
"This is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:24). Communion reminds us of the Lord and the agony He went through for us. And in remembering we should renew our commitment to suffer for Him if this were ever required of us. In a more symbolic way, partaking of this emblem should remind us that we are now the body of Christ. Individually and corporately we now have the mission of living the life of the Lord on this planet. Therefore, this also speaks of the unity of the church as illustrated in passages like 1 Corinthians 12.
"This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me" (1 Corinthians 11:25). Communion reminds us of the Lord and the blood He shed for our redemption. One of the concepts to remember in this part of the service is that blood is life. By drinking the fruit of the vine we in a sense recognize that without His blood we cannot live. (Make no mistake here, though: we do not need to drink that juice to have life.) We should also remember that it is the blood of Jesus and not our own efforts that cleanses us from our sins. Another truth to remember in this part of the service should be that every single one of us requires the blood just as much as anyone else. Thus, pride, arrogance and comparisons should find no harbor among us.
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Corinthians 11:26). This, and rightly so, surely is one of the major factors for the sobriety and solemnity of the Communion service. This ordinance reminds us of the most awful event in human history. An event whose impact remains an absolute necessity in the lives of the entire human race, and will remain thus until the Lord returns in final, unending triumph to drink again the fruit of the vine.
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:27). This verse, along with verses 29 and 30, offer at least a partial explanation for the fear and discomfort that many feel leading up to Communion. The sentence on partaking unworthily staggers the heart and shakes the confidence. Who is worthy?! I find comfort in realizing that the issue here is not so much unworthiness of the individual as the unworthiness of the manner of participation. Make sure that the Lord is your worthiness. And make sure that your disposition and attitude toward the ordinance and during your participation matches the solemnity and remembrance urged upon us. And then partake with freedom, peace and joy!
(Excerpted from The Last Supper and the First Communion)
(Excerpted from an "Applications for Youth" page I wrote for a CLP Sunday School youth quarterly a long time ago!)
Did you ever wonder about the identity of the two disciples given the assignment of preparing the Passover? No? I neither. Right now, though, I'm wondering how long they had to work and how hard. And I wonder if any of the other participants thanked them for their efforts. And I wonder if any of them had to do the clean-up afterward.
You say none of that matters anymore? No doubt you are right. On the other hand, thinking about it a bit reminded me of something that does matter; something I don't recall giving much thought to before.
Do you know who does all the preparations for your congregation's Communion service? Someone has to bake the bread and prepare the juice. Someone needs to have the basins and towels ready for foot washing. Someone must ensure that everything is arranged as it should be in the meeting house. Someone has to see to all the clean-up and putting away after the service. I wonder who those preparers are...and I wonder if anyone thanks them.
The integrity of the disciples impresses me in a way that it hasn't before. When Jesus made that incredible statement, "One of you...shall betray me," each one looked inward. They didn't assume it was someone else. It sounds as though each thought of himself as the one with the greatest potential for treachery. The idea struck grief to each one's heart, so that he had to ask the Master because only He truly knew each heart.
From this vantage point I'm almost certain I would have been absolutely positive that I would not have responded as they did. You see, I don't tend to respond that way in contemporary situations. I am confident of knowing my own heart (at least most of the time). I am sure of my unfailing loyalty. "So if there's a traitor among us, it has to be... Hmmm. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if it were..."
Can you identify with that?
I want to do better at maintaining greater trust in my brothers and sisters. I want to be more quick to give them the benefit of the doubt than to give it to myself. I purpose to be more open to the possibility that it could indeed be I.
God won't settle for the mere absence of outright conflict and division. He wants and expects inner unity among His people. So Jesus came to be that common union that brings together even polar opposites. "He is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14). Jesus is our bond. Because of Him, even Brother Tsion and I can be one.
(Excerpted from Jesus Institutes the Lord's Supper)
I am positive that the Lord wishes Communion to be a time of sobriety and reflection, yes, but also of rejoicing, exultation and victory.
Communion reminds us of the Lord and the agony He went through for us.
In a more symbolic way, partaking of this emblem should remind us that we are now the body of Christ. Individually and corporately we now have the mission of living the life of the Lord on this planet.
Communion reminds us of the Lord and the blood He shed for our redemption.
Excerpted from The Last Supper
God prescribed the Lord's Supper to help us remember Jesus' sacrifice for us.
Before sharing in the Communion service, we must make sure we have a right relationship with Jesus.
Communion is to help us remember...
Another good thing to remember at Communion is that everyone is in equal need of redemption.
It is out of order to participate in Communion and not do so as a remembrance of Jesus' death (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
(Excerpted and adapted for material I wrote for the Teacher Guide for a lesson in CLE's Bible 805.)
In summary: Communion (The Lord's Supper), participated in worthily, reminds us of the Lord Jesus and...
© Copyright 2017, Mark Roth -- published (on November 23, 2017) for the International Sunday School lesson for November 26, 2017.