The Importance of the Lord's Supper

Every first day of the week, we gather to partake of the Lord’s Supper. As is often the case with the things we find in Scripture, there are many layers to the Lord’s Supper. The earliest disciples did this on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The first day of the week is the day associated with resurrection (John 20:1). In the eating of the Lord’s Supper, we remember Jesus’ death, but we do it on the day when Jesus overcame death. We have a living Lord!

In addition to a new day, the Lord’s Supper is associated with the new covenant. Jesus said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). Blood was central to the Old Covenant that God made with Israel. We recall the blood of sacrifices in the Law. We also read in Exodus 24:6-8, “And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. …And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.’” Whereas the Old Covenant was put in place with blood, so too, the New Covenant is put in place with blood. In the New Covenant, it is Jesus’ blood from the cross.

This being the case, the Lord’s Supper is a time of looking back to the death of Jesus. As Israel remembered God’s deeds among them through the eating of the Passover, we remember God’s powerful works among us through the eating of the Lord’s Supper. We eat it in remembrance of Jesus (Luke 22:19). Additionally, the Lord’s Supper is a time of being mindful of those with whom we share the Lord’s Supper. We do it together, and “wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33). This is significant because “we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).

Finally, the Lord’s Supper is a time of looking ahead. Many of us have heard countless times the words of Jesus when he instituted the Lord’s Supper. However, it seems we do not give as much attention to the final portion of Jesus’ words. “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” (Matthew 26:29). This seems to be connected to what we read in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s  death until He comes.”

So, what can we say about the Lord’s Supper? On the day when Jesus overcame death, we remember Jesus’ death. It is a time of calling to mind what God has done, but also a time of realigning ourselves with God’s will. We do it communally, proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes.

This morning, let’s not take all of that for granted.