The Symbol of Fellowship: The Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:25
Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Ignorance is not appropriate. Educated conjectures are also equally inappropriate. When we come to the Lord’s Supper, both extremes have a tendency to grab attention.
1. Nothing confusing in the Gospel accounts and Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 11
From my reading of the accounts of Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper and Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians I find nothing confusing about the Lord’s Supper.
2. The Lord’s Supper is instituted from the Passover meal
As we observe the flow of the feasts of the Old Testament (particularly Passover, Unleavened Bread and First-fruits that happen all within a span of 8 days), we are able to see a complete picture of what Jesus did for us.
He came as our 1) Passover Lamb, sacrificed for the Sin of the world. 2) He broke the cycle of sin that was inherent in Adam thereby giving freedom from sin and new life for all who believe and repent, and he becomes our unleavened bread of life. 3) Finally, when Jesus was raised from the dead, he became the first-fruits from among the dead, according to 1 Corinthians 15:20.
3. The elements, having been taken from the already instituted Passover meal, are obviously intended to remind them of God’s plan of salvation in the punishing of his Son and in the death of his Son to save fallen mankind from the rebellion
4. Jesus’ death and spilled blood, like that of the Passover lamb for entry into covenant relationship with God in the Exodus, instituted the New Covenant. Consequently, the Lord’s Supper (along with baptism) is the symbol of the New Covenant
5. The Lord’s Supper, therefore, is a means of grace (grace – God’s goodness toward those who deserve only punishment) from God to remind us, as often as we eat the bread and drink the cup, of his pursuit of lost man and the price he paid to save us (remembering that work and celebrating is a grace from God, no doubt).
– Bread is the body: As the unleavened bread in Exodus was a symbol/reminder for the haste of their salvation and the sinlessness of a set apart life so now Jesus re-interprets the bread and cup from the Passover to the new age of the New Covenant.
The broken and un-leavened bread reminds us of what our rebellion did to the perfect unleavened (sinless) bread (Son) of life”, Jesus.
The curtain keeping God’s people back from judgement due to their sin and his holiness was torn in two from top to bottom and access was now granted for all who believe.
Jesus’ body was broken and by his stripes we are healed. By the broken body of Jesus all those who believe are granted access.
– The cup is the New Covenant: The cup now represents Jesus’ perfect blood that purchases our access into the covenant community of the church.
Father put a constant reminder of the penalty for sin in the law by demanding death for sin. The job of a Levite was bloody.
All Scripture prepares for Christ’s person and work, my Old Testament students would say…
Father wants us to hate sin.
With the constant stream of bloody sacrifices offered by the priests, people were confronted continually with the seriousness of Father’s holiness and their sin.
Every time they sinned something had to die.
This system was constructed by the Lord to cause the people to look for a savior whose sacrifice would be complete and perfect.
So, Jesus takes from the meal that reminded the people of God’s salvation for them from slavery in Egypt (purchased by death, in a slain body and spilled blood) and he reinterprets the meal to remind his people of God’s salvation for them from their slavery to the rebellion.
6. Key phrase(s) : “…my blood of the covenant…” “…this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood…”
Jesus says that this meal is the symbol of the new covenant. What is that?
7. Jeremiah 31:31-34
Savoring the New Covenant in fellowship
1. In the New Covenant God’s laws are written on our hearts (put within us)
A. Obedience to the Lord would become a delight rather than duty alone…
duty becomes our delight in the New Covenant
B. Our collective delight is to walk with Father in obedience
2. In the New Covenant the Lord is our God and we are his people
A. Relationship with God is initiated, established and kept by God alone
B. We are in relationship with God together….life together under the word
3. In the New Covenant all of us know the Lord (there is equal access and priesthood for each one together as the people of God)
A. All of us have equal access to Father and can know Father equally well
B. All of us can minister to one another as he has gifted us to do
4. In the New Covenant our sin is forgiven and we are justified
A. All us, having repented and believed, are adopted children of Father
If the Supper is the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood, then it is, among other things, a declaration all of us make as often as we eat it.
What are we declaring as a fellowship?
We are declaring these following truths:
1. Father, Son and Spirit’s laws written on our hearts in the fellowship
A. we know the truth together and are obeying the truth together
2. Father, Son and Spirit is our God and we are his people in the fellowship
A. we worship together as one family
3. We are all priests of Father, Son and Spirit in the fellowship
A. we minister to each other as priests
4. Our sin is not counted against us in the fellowship
A. we declare each other as justified through encouragement to continue in the faith and exhortation to continue in the faith through repentance