I Corinthians 11:17-26; 17 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.18 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,19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.22 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.
23 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,24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is fort you. Do this in remembrance of me.”t 25 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.”26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (ESV)
Observation & Application:
What an awesome passage of Scripture on the ordinance of communion. When looking at this passage we see three purposes for communion:
- Communion testifies to our unity in Christ. As you see in verses 17-22 the Apostle Paul was reprimanding the church in Corinth for not showing unity in the way they observed communion. They ate when they wanted to, they didn’t wait for those that were late. It was a free-for-all. It didn’t express the unity a body should have in Christ.
- It was a celebration — albeit solemn one — for what Christ has done for us on the cross. He gave his very life for us. The God of the universe died so that we could live. As one song writer put it. Life Himself died. Verses 23&24 speak to this truth.
- It is a testimony to outsiders/seekers as to what this Gospel thing is all about. We proclaim the Lord’s death. We don’t proclaim it to those already believers in Christ, but to those who need Him! I love leading God’s people in communion and when we get to the cup to hold it high and repeat the words of verse 26.
So are you aware of these dynamics of the communion celebration when you are eating & drinking? What goes through your mind during this time of solom celebration? Let us know.
Father God thank you for Jesus Your only Son. What a sacrifice You made for us. Help us to keep our wits about us as we join with others in Your communion celebration. We pray these things in Jesus Name, Amen.