The Lord’s Supper

The verbiage used by the Lord at the institution of the Lord’s Supper has been used by some to construe that the wine and bread by some magic becomes the literal body and blood of the Lord. The scripture repetitively uses the food metaphor when describing spiritual food. This is to mean we are a triune being and we not only require physical food for our body but spiritual food for the well being of our spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:[44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
[45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Too many Christians concern themselves with the physical world and disregard their own spiritual well being. Let us begin by looking at several passages dealing with this spiritual food necessary for spiritual well being and growth.

Meat means food that provides sustenance.

John.4:[31] In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
[32] But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
[33] Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
[34] Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
[35] Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
[36] And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
[37] And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
[38] I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

For our spiritual food we must do what God wants us to do. First of all, this means to be born again. (John 3:7) After having been born of the Spirit then our spirit needs food in order to grow and become strong.
Surely we understand we are not sowing literal seeds and reaping literal fruit? These are spiritual.

John.6:[26] Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
[27] Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
[28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
[29] Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:[48] I am that bread of life.
[49] Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
[50] This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
[52] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
[54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
[55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
[56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
[57] As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
[58] This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
[59] These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
[60] Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
[61] When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
[62] What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
[63] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
[64] But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
[65] And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
[66] From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Jesus points out the physical food partaken by the Israelites in the wilderness did not impart unto them eternal life but those of us who partake of His body , the bread from Heaven spiritually speaking, do indeed receive eternal life. Just as there are those today who believe they are physically eating the body of Jesus and drinking His blood, these also struggled with the concept of spiritually partaking being represented by a physical ceremony. They having not been born again cannot understand spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 2:[11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
[12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
[13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
[14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Here are other scripture dealing with the subject of “spiritual” food.

1 Corinthians 3:[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
[2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Hebrews 5:[12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
[13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
[14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 13:[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

1Corinthians 10:[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
[2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
[3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
[4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.



Let us examine the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 10:[14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
[15] I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
[16] 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?
[17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
[18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the alter?
[19] What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
[20] But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
[21] Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
[22] Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

The body of Christ, His bride, is to have NOTHING to do with idols. We are also to have no COMMUNION with those who do worship idols. The passage is clear the Lord’s Supper is to show we are partakers with the Lord. Being one in body. In Ephesians chapter 5 we are told the church is the bride of Christ. The bread and wine ceremony is the same as when a Jewish couple became engaged. The pagan ceremonies of Corinth involved lavish feasts and often perversions. We as Christians have a different methodology to our commemoration.

1Corinthians 11:17-34

[17] Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

As in many other instances this church is divided. The purpose of the Lord’s Supper being one of commemoration of the sacrifice of the Lord and the unity of the believer with Jesus. The bread and the wine ceremony being one of the union of a groom and his betrothed. A symbol of the marriage covenant between Christ and His bride. This ceremony should be one of unity of the believer as we are His bride.

[18] For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

The Apostle having already admonished them in chapter 3 for separating themselves according to who had introduced them to the gospel.
Here they found another reason to divide rather than unify.

[19] For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

In chapter fifteen he admonishes them for the false doctrine of saying there is no resurrection.

[20] When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
[21] For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

They had turned the LORD’S Supper into their own. Keeping in mind the idolatrous culture of Corinth from which they have been saved. The practice of their culture was to have great feasts of revelry in observance to their gods. Having already warned them not to be partaker of both tables (1 Corinthians 10:14-22)

[22] What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Too many modern churches have turned the church into a social club. (This is why I do not believe in having “dinner on the grounds” at the church) These people evidently used their suppers as a means to show who was prosperous in the world and who was not. Those who had abundance would bring lavish fixings while those who were poor had nothing to bring. This created a disparity among the body and shamed those who had nothing.

[23] For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

The manner of conducting the LORD’S Supper was given to the Apostle directly from the Lord Himself.
First of all, it was at night. So many churches, in an effort to have as many people as possible observe the Lord’s Supper at the morning service. The Lord had His at night.
The union service occurred on the same night He was betrayed. So which is it for us? A service of unity or betrayal? Have we been unfaithful to the Lord? It is a time for the body to personally rflect on their walk with their Groom to be.

[24] And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
[25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

The simplicity of the ceremony is evident in its contents. Simply bread and wine. Not an extravagant meal. Starting with the giving of thanks. Always cognizant of the fact God sent His Son to die for our sins. The gift of God.
His body was indeed broken, not His bones, but His body. Pierced in the side by the Roman spear from which flowed the water and the blood. Showing the new covenant made with believers. We having become His bride.
In John chapter 6:35 we are told Jesus is the bread and in John 15:5 He is the vine (from whom the wine (blood) flowed giving us eternal life. (John 6:55)

[26] For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

We are not instructed how often to have the Lord’s Supper but are simply told to do it and to continue doing it until He returns for His bride. Though I have bee taught the early church commemorated it once a year on the night of Passover.

[27] 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.
[28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
[29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
[30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Damnation as receiving punishment from the Lord not as in eternal damnation of Hell. The eternal destiny of the believer was determined the moment the believer put their trust in Jesus as pointed out in verse 32. The only way to be worthy first of all is by being a Christian. Secondly, we must be “confessed up”. The Word is clear, we are to examine OURSELF, not the brother sitting next to us but OURSELF. You know whether or not you have been faithful to your Groom to be. You now how your walk is. Examine yourself and confess and forsake as needed. If you do not you become guilty and have needs of discipline.

[31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
[32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

When we eat or drink out of fellowship we are punished not in eternity but NOW. In verse 30 it explains the punishments we might receive: weak (no power or evidence in our walk), sickly (illness), early death. This verse clearly says we are NOT condemned with the world but our chastening happens in this life.

[33] Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
[34] And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

We are to eat in unison. There is to be an order to the ceremony. It is not to be one of confusion. We are not to make a meal of it. So if we make it a big extravagant meal we are bringing condemnation on the body of believers.