For Closer Communion With The Lord Jesus
7 Bible Verses About The Lord’s Supper or Communion
Here are seven Bible verses that apply to taking Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
First Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
When the Apostle Paul was instructing the Corinthian church on the meaning and the proper methods for taking Communion or the Lord’s Supper, he wrote that this Sacrament has a specific purpose. For one thing, Paul reminds the church about the symbolic meaning of the bread when he writes that Jesus, “when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you.
Do this in remembrance of me” (1st Cor 11:24), therefore we partake of the Lord’s Supper to remember what price He paid in pouring out His blood and in the breaking (and death) of His body for our sakes so that every time we partake of this Sacrament, we should remember the cross and that we are to continue to take the bread and wine (or grape juice), until He returns (1st Cor 11:26b).
Matthew 26:26-28 “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
A much broader meaning of the Lord’s Supper is given by the One Who instituted the New Covenant; Jesus Christ. He tells the disciples to see the cup of the New Covenant as His own blood, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
This forgiveness only extends to those who confess them (1st John 1:9) and who were saved by repentance and faith (Mark 1:15), which is what Jesus required in the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
The Old Testament teaches that the life is in the blood but they were not allowed to drink it, but in the newer and better covenant, Jesus allows us to receive the blood that brings eternal life; not just temporary, physical life.
First Corinthians 10:17 “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
Clearly the church is referred to as a body, one body, because there are many members who have different functions and God has no respect for one person over another in the body, so the idea that Paul is teaching to the Corinthians is that there is one bread and He is the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, but there are many members of His body and that there is no least member of that body. Even though many members, we have all received the One, True Bread that is from Heaven (John 6). This bread brings eternal life for all who believe and gives life to the body, both corporately and individually.
John 6:53-54 “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Perhaps this was Jesus introducing the coming New Covenant that He would institute and Him separating the sheep from the goats in order to make plain who were His true disciples and who were not.
Just after Jesus’ hard saying that they must drink His blood and eat His flesh (symbolic meaning), the vast majority of the Jews stopped following Jesus. They just couldn’t understand Jesus’ connection to the bread or manna in the wilderness, to the “Great I AM” that was standing before them.They had so hardened their hearts that they couldn’t even comprehend Jesus’ as the perfect fulfillment of the Messiah.
Just prior to this, Jesus had just told them, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39) but they refused to see what was right in front of them, so Jesus used a great teaching method; He used hard words to soften hearts because soft words only harden hearts. The Word of God must cut in order to heal (Heb 4:12) so “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (John 6:66) and were shut the coming Kingdom, the New Jerusalem that will someday come heaven (Rev 21:1-4).
First Corinthians 11:24 “And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
When we acknowledge what the elements of the Sacraments are, we keep reminding the members that it was Jesus’ broken body that He willingly gave for the ungodly (Rom 5:6), and that His death on the cross reconciled wicked, sinful enemies of God (Rom 5:8, 10), so when we take Communion, we should do this in remembrance of Jesus, specifically on the cross.
Matthew 26:29 “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
What an encouraging comment Jesus makes. I love this because He is promising them that the next Lord’s Supper or Communion He will have with His disciples (and us) will be when the Father’s kingdom is established on earth, which will be for all time (Rev 22).
This “fruit of the vine” will once again be poured out as Jesus, the Bridegroom, receives His Bride, the church, saying on that day, “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (Rev 19:7), and so “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God” (Rev 19:9). That’s when Jesus and we too shall “drink again of this fruit of the vine.”
First Corinthians 10:16 “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”
Have you noticed that the references to the Lord’s Supper or Communion have come from either Jesus or from Paul in 1st Corinthians? Maybe you can understand why because the church at Corinth had turned Communion into a feast of gluttons.
Some even got drunk, others ate all the food before others even got there, and others would not share their blessings with the poor, so Paul reminded them that we are all part of the body of Christ.
When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we are participating as the body, but when we do not understand the cup, we in are in danger of polluting the meal (1st Cor 11:30), so Paul adds, “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me” (1st Cor 11:25). He wanted the focus to be on Christ; do it in His remembrance and not in the meal, or what they had turned it into; a food orgy.
If you are not a Christian and don’t understand why the Lord’s Supper or Communion is a necessary Sacrament, then you don’t know enough about the price that Jesus paid.
If you continue to reject Jesus Christ, then you will only taste of the winepress of the wrath of God (Rev 14:19) and not the fruit of the vine in the kingdom. You will taste that wine either after death (Heb 9:27) or at Jesus’ return (Rev 20:12-15).
Right now, reader, I can only pray for your soul and that is what I will do for everyone who reads these words so that they can be led to eternal life in Jesus Christ, for there is no other way to be saved (Acts 4:12).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.
Bible Verses About Communion: Scriptures On The Lord’s Supper
The Bible has only 2 ordinances (2 things prescribed for the church). They are baptism and communion. There are different names for “Communion” depending on your religious affiliation. Some of these are the “Eucharist,” “Lord’s Supper,” “Lord’s Table,” or sometimes the “Last Supper.” For this article, I will refer to this as “communion.”
Jesus gave his followers instructions that they should take or practice “communion.” This is a practice still followed by most evangelical churches today. Earlier I mentioned that it is prescribed as an ordinance. One thing that Jesus did not prescribe is how often to partake communion.
Some churches do communion every week and others do it anywhere from monthly to quarterly to yearly to just special events. This is debated and discussed as church leaders seek to have the ordinance of communion regularly but not to have it so often that it looses the special place that it often has during a service.
Listed below are the passages on communion including the Apostle Paul’s dialogue about communion and the strong warning he gives for misuse.
Finally, I listed some Old Testament passages that, although they weren’t specifically celebrating communion, clearly the people of God were accustomed to celebrating a meal together in the presence of God.
It was during the age-old celebration of Passover and on the eve before the crucifixion of the Lord, that Jesus put into place the ordinance of Communion. Communion must be a key component of worship within the church as it causes us to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Instituted Communion Through His Disciples
Matthew 26:17-30 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.
’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.
” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.
” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.
” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
“Take; this is my body … this is my blood of the covenant …”
Mark 14:12-25 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.
Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.
” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. And when it was evening, he came with the twelve. And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.
” They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” He said to them, “It is zone of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.
For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born. And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.
” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:7-20 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.
” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.
Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And wise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
John 13:21-30 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side, so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.
” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him.
Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
Paul Gives More Communion Guidelines and Warns About Misuse
The Gospels are not the only place we see communion written about; this passage shows the apostle Paul giving strong warnings about the ordinance of communion.
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you.
And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.
What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.
Old Testament Precedent for Communion
Maybe we ask if there was anything the taking of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) in the Old Testament? Well there appears to be some instances where the people of God were eating and drinking in the presence of the Lord.
Exodus 24:9-11 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, the very heaven for clearness. And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
Deuteronomy 14:23 And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.
Deuteronomy 14:26 and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.
Celebrating communion is very important because of the depth of meaning behind the elements of communion. It was during the age-old celebration of Passover and on the eve before the crucifixion of the Lord, that Jesus put into place the ordinance of Communion.
Communion must be a key component of worship within the church as it causes us to remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There seems to be a trend in society today for some believers to avoid the church worship service. Some people reason that they can worship God on their own.This thought has an element of truth to it but one thing that will often be missing when one avoids corporate worship is the partaking of communion together with a church family. I believe God’s word teaches us to gather together on a regular basis (Heb.
10:24-25) together with other believers and communion needs to be a regular part of what we do.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV)
video “Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)” performed by Keith & Kristyn Getty
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Study 2 PERSONAL COMMUNION WITH THE LORD – Words of Life Ministries
THE SONG OF SOLOMON by Francis Dixon
Key-verse: “Take me away with you - let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine” (Song of Songs 1:4)
In this verse the bride (the believer) is speaking to her bridegroom (Christ) about her personal communion with him.
What do we know of personal, day by day communion with the Lord? It is possible to know about Him and yet not to know Him; and it is also possible to know Him just a little or to know Him really well - look up and compare John 14:9 and Philippians 3:10. This study emphasises the importance of these matters and leads us to consider the following points:-
1. THE ONE WITH WHOM WE ENJOY COMMUNION IS THE KING
See how the verse reads: “Take me away with you: let the king bring me into his chambers …” Pause for a moment and think of the wonder of this. In this love story, Solomon is the king, and here we are told that he went forth in royal splendour to meet his bride. But we have a greater king than Solomon (Matthew 12:42).
Our king is the Lord Jesus, the royal king of eternity, who was born king and was majestic in His life and death. He is king now in Heaven, and one day He will manifest Himself as King of kings and Lord of lords - look up Revelation 19:16.
What a privilege it is for us to enjoy holy and intimate communion with Him! Are we doing this, or are we too busy? Are we on speaking terms with Him? How well do we know Him? (Luke 10:38-42).
2. THE DESIRE FOR COMMUNION IS STIMULATED WITHIN US AS WE MEDITATE UPON THE KING’S LOVE AND AFFECTION FOR US
Notice the words: “Take me, let us hurry…” The king, who is the bridegroom, is coming out to meet his bride, the one he loves so much. He is resplendent in his royal robes. The bride looks at him and she longs for him and cries out, “Take me away with you…” – look also at verses 2 and 3 and the first part of verse 4.
It is as we think of Him and meditate upon the Lord’s love for us that we long to be with Him and to be alone with Him, and that we find ourselves saying to Him, “Take me…” (”draw me…” KJV) This drawing is the work of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 104:34), and compare John 16:14.
There is nothing magical or mystical about this, for the Holy Spirit draws us to Christ when we read His Word and when we seek His face.
3. THIS COMMUNION WITH THE KING HAS TO BE SOUGHT AND CULTIVATED
When we see the King in His beauty and the desire for Him wells up within us, it is then that we cry out: “Draw me…” However, we not only express this desire, but the desire is translated into action, and we go on to run after Him.
Notice that it does not say, “Draw me, and we will run to the meetings… we will go to church …” All these may be included, and may be good, but it is the Lord Himself we want, it is communion with Him; and this is something that has to be sought and cultivated and planned for. We must take time to be holy.
That may sound old-fashioned, but it is the heart of the matter.
4. THIS COMMUNION IS A VERY SACRED, SECRET AND INTIMATE EXPERIENCE
Notice the words: “Let the king bring me into his chambers.” Do you see the picture? The road is crowded, the king is coming to meet his bride and there are people everywhere.
The bride sees him and she longs for him, so she runs to him, and then what? Do they stay together in the crowd? No, they get away from the crowd and go into a secret place - “Let the king bring me into his chambers” - the place of personal and private communion with the Lord Himself - look up and compare Matthew 6:6; 14:22-23; Mark 1:35; 3:13-14. What the Lord wants most of all is to have us just for Himself. It is not our service that He first wants, it is ourselves - look up Mark 6:30-32.
5. ONLY IN SECRET COMMUNION WITH CHRIST DO WE EXPERIENCE TRUE JOY
“Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you…” or, as one translation puts it, “we will thrill with delight!” This is “an inexpressible and glorious joy…” (1 Peter 1:8). This is the joy of the Lord, His joy, bestowed by Him and received from Him (John 15:11; 16:22 and 24).
6. COMMUNION WITH CHRIST SURPASSES THE HIGHEST FORMS OF EARTHLY JOY
Notice that the verse goes on: ”We will praise your love more than wine…” Wine is often used in scripture to represent the chief of earthly luxuries. The love of Jesus, communion with Him, is more wonderful than anything that earth can offer.
Of course, this does not make sense to one who is not yet a Christian; the words of the hymn are right – “The love of Jesus, what it is, none but His loved ones know.
” Do you find your chief delight in the Lord Himself? - not in the world, not in things, not even in the Lord’s people, but in Him? – look up Psalm 16:11 and Habakkuk 3:17-18.
7. COMMUNION WITH THE LORD LEADS TO TRUE SPIRITUALITY AND HOLINESS OF LIFE
The words “How right they are to adore you!” may be literally rendered, “they love you uprightly.
” In other words, when we really come to know the Lord our love is purified and our lives are sanctified because of our intimate fellowship with Him - look up 2 Corinthians 3:18 for the scripture teaching with regard to this.
What it really means is: if we spend much time with the Lord we shall become the Lord. This will be the reflex result of our communion and fellowship with Him.
In the Amplified Bible the variant reading of the last part of our key-verse is most helpful: “The upright (are not offended at your choice, but they sincerely) love you.” In other words, to come into real communion with the Lord Jesus means to love His will, to accept His will and to believe that it is always, as we are told in Romans 12:2, “his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The Communion service and the issue of unworthiness
Partaking of the Communion service can be an intense and emotional experience. Whether footwashing or the Lord’s Supper, the service presents an opportunity to meld the theological and emotional aspects of our faith.
Our participation in these occasions can communicate many things: our acceptance of the love of Jesus; the remembrance of His death on the cross—the moment of victory against evil; the anticipation of “that day” when we will do this rite together with the Lord Himself; and, finally, our love for each other.
What, though, do we say by our nonparticipation in the Communion service? Usually, there are various reasons for our self-exclusion, often stemming from the discomfort of unresolved interpersonal conflicts and the sense that we are unworthy before God.
After all, 1 Corinthians 11:27 reads, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (RSV).
If we truly and sincerely sense our unworthiness, should we abstain from “profaning the body and blood of the Lord”?
No. Excluding oneself from Communion because one feels “unworthy” is, really, to misread Paul’s point in that text.
To be worthy of Communion: A mistaken understanding
First of all, what does the apostle Paul affirm when he uses the word unworthy? The word unworthy comes from (àxios) meaning “balance the two scale pans of the scales,”1 which means that an item put on a scale pan is worthy when it can be balanced or it equals the weight on the other scale pan.
In such a context, when do we appear worthy in comparison with Christ? The answer’s obvious. It’s one thing to “ ‘bear fruit that befits repentance’ ” (Matt. 3:8, RSV), but anyone who follows the Bible sees themselves as unworthy, especially in contrast to Jesus.
In fact, this awareness allows him to receive the gift of grace as did the prodigal son, who, though considering himself unworthy, was forgiven by his father (Luke 15:22–24).
And the centurion of Capernaum, who, after expressing his lack of merit in receiving Jesus in his home (Luke 7:6), received praise from Jesus for his faith (Luke 7:9).
Only Jesus is worthy: “ ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’ ” (Rev. 5:12, RSV). In Jesus Christ’s virtue—the only worthy One—we receive His grace and forgiveness, and definitely not from anything in ourselves.
“I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength for my work. I thank him for considering me worthy, and appointing me to serve him” (1 Tim. 1:12, TEV, emphasis added).
From this perspective, therefore, Bible authors describe the impossibility of any of us arriving at church on a Saturday morning and being “worthy” of Communion.
To be worthy of Communion: Paul’s message
What did Paul, the apostle, mean, then, by this verse? The answer can be found in the context of the passage and in its grammatical construction.
other Christians in the New Testament period, the Corinthians were accustomed to celebrating Communion every time they had supper. Many, though, ended up forgetting the meaning of what they were doing—consuming the emblems as if they were ordinary food.
Paul wrote, “When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not” (1 Cor. 11:20–22, RSV).The apostle Paul needed to re-explain the importance of this ordinance because its real significance had been lost. After Paul clarified the meaning of the service, he warned them not to make the same mistake again. Instead, he tells them to consume these emblems, all the while remembering Jesus’ sacrifice as they do.
The problem he’s dealing with includes just how they are celebrating the service, not the moral quality of those that do. Wrote J.
Pöhler, “Unworthiness does not consist in the moral quality, that is, the character of the participants of the Holy Supper, but is the result of the wrong way of considering the Holy meal, with which we contradict the solemnity of the service.
”2 Along these lines, we read in the Minister’s Manual: “(Paul) is not speaking of unworthy people who participate, but of an unworthy manner in which they participate.”3
Paul tries to correct their misunderstanding. He’s not dealing with their moral behavior. This point becomes even clearer from what follows: “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself” (1 Cor. 11:29, RSV).
Comparing verses 27 and 29, we understand that Paul expresses the idea of unworthiness as he who consumes these emblems without distinguishing the Lord’s body— without understanding what he is doing.
Again, the issue isn’t the moral quality of the participants themselves but their immediate attitude regarding the ordinance itself.
The first Lord’s Supper
Look at the first Communion service, the one that was established by Jesus.
The Bible says that after Satan took possession of Judas, Jesus celebrated the Lord’s Supper with His people (Luke 22:3, 14–20), which included Judas, who at that time was already preparing to betray his Lord.
Why did Jesus not stop Judas from taking part in the ceremony? Why did He not consider him unworthy? Ellen White wrote, “Though Jesus knew Judas from the beginning, He washed his feet. . . . A long-suffering Saviour held out every inducement for the sinner to receive Him, to repent, and to be cleansed from the defilement of sin. . . .It was because the disciples were erring and faulty that He washed their feet, and all but one of the twelve were thus brought to repentance.”4
Jesus not only received Judas at His Communion, He also invited Peter, who was conceited and not yet fully converted (Luke 22:32). The other disciples weren’t all exactly moral paragons of conversion and virtue either, and yet Jesus celebrated the supper with them, knowing full well that they would all soon abandon Him.
Our theology and understanding of Communion should help us to communicate its significance to our members. The Communion service reminds us that at Calvary we discover and understand Jesus’ love for us: “ ‘And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself’ ” (John 12:32, RSV).
No wonder Ellen White wrote that “Christ has instituted this service that it may speak to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Christ.. . .
And nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us.”5
Before we are served His emblems, our hearts have an extra reason to be won over by His love, such as what happened to the centurion before the cross (Mark 15:39). We do not have to think about ourselves, about our unworthiness, but about Jesus and His righteousness. Our own sense of unworthiness should draw us to the Communion service, not push us away.
“The Communion service was not to be a season of sorrowing. . . . As the Lord’s disciples gather about His table, they are not to remember and lament their shortcomings. They are not to dwell upon their past religious experience, whether that experience has been elevating or depressing. . . . Now they come to meet with Christ.”6
We need to help our congregational participants understand that Communion does not constitute a conclusion but a beginning. The best week should not be the one that precedes Communion but the one that follows.
Reconciliation with God, with ourselves, and with others should not be prerequisites in order to participate but should be the result that flows from that participation. Thus, “Communion should always end on a high note. Wrongs have been righted.
Sins have been forgiven. Hope has been restored. It’s a time for rejoicing.”7
1 W. Foerster, “Axios, Anaxios,” in Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, eds. G. Kittel and F. Gerhard, Italian ed. (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1933), 1:1013.2 Rolf J. Pöhler, “Qui est digne de participer à la cène,” (“Who Is Worthy of Partaking of the Lord’s Supper”), in Cène et ablution des pieds, ed. Comité de Recherche Biblique (Dammarie-lès-Lys, France: Editions Vie et Santé, 1991), 1:251.
3 Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Manual (Silver Spring, MD: General Conference Ministerial Association, 1992), 212.
4 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1940), 655, 656.
5 Ibid., 660.
6 Ibid., 659.
7 Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Manual, 216.
What is the Lord’s Supper, or Communion?
The day before He was crucified, Jesus commanded His disciples to continue to observe the Lord’s Supper, or Communion. (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20)
Paul expanded on this when he wrote, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-29.
The Lord’s Supper: Remembrance of Jesus
The Lord’s Supper is a testimony. By partaking of it, I testify that Jesus’ body was broken for me and that He shed His blood for me.
I thereby proclaim the death of christThis most often refers not to the physical death Christ died on the cross of Calvary, but to the death of the lust to sin in His human nature, which task He fulfilled while He lived on earth as a human being. (2 Timothy … .
We are to do this in remembrance of Him. When I break the bread, I remember how His body was broken for me. When I drink of the cup, I remember that He shed His blood for my sake for the forgiveness of sins.
I testify at the same time that I have also received this gift, or this grace. I do not partake of it in order to receive forgiveness for my sins, but because I have received the forgiveness of sins.
Eating and drinking unworthily
God will not forgive me my trespasses if I do not forgive others their trespasses. (Matthew 6:15) “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.” 1 Corinthians 11:28. I am not worthy to receive forgiveness if there is someone I cannot forgive. I testify against myself if I then drink of the cup. I pass sentence on myself.
We are to walk in fear throughout the time of our sojourn because we have been redeemed from our aimless conduct by the precious blood of Christ.
(1 Peter 1:17-19) Every person must examine himself whether he hates all aimless conduct; then he may break the bread and drink of the cup. I eat and drink unworthily if there is a fault in my life which I love and do not want to let go.
He has given His blood to redeem me. I am judged, and I sin against the body and the blood of the Lord if I want to hold on to my fault.
Communion: One body
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.
All those who break the bread testify that they do not serve themselves, but each other. By breaking the bread, I testify that I do not live for myself, but for the others, and that I am willing to accept all the help for salvation they can give me because we all eat of the same bread.
Let each one examine himself, and then break the bread.
Because Jesus laid down His life for us, we also ought to lay down our lives for each other.
(1 John 3:16) When I eat and drink, I too proclaim that I ought to lay down my life for those who truly eat of the same bread, because we proclaim the death of the Lord.
When I proclaim His death, I also proclaim that I died with Him that I might no longer live for myself, but for Him who died for me and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)Just as a member supplies the other members with all the strength and nourishment he draws from the body, so we too are to supply the other members with all the love, wisdom, strength, grace, mercy, patience, and faithfulness that we receive from Christ. If we are not willing to love, neither are we worthy to receive love. (1 John 4:11) If we are unwilling to be merciful, forgiving, easy to get along with, helpful, or forbearing, then we are also unworthy to receive these blessings.
Let each one examine himself when he comes to the Lord’s Supper, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
This article has been translated from Norwegian, and is an edited version of an article first published in BCC’s periodical “Skjulte Skatter” (“Hidden Treasures”) January 1933, with the title “The Lord’s Supper.”
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You may be interested in reading more in our “Key Teachings” pages on disciple life and Christ manifested in the flesh.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.