Why should we OBSERVE the LORD’s SUPPER? “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” (1 Cor 11:26-28)
On the night that our Lord Jesus was betrayed by one of His disciples, He took bread and gave thanks for it. Since the bread was typical of His body, Jesus was, in effect, thanking God that He had been given a human body in which He might come and die for the sins of the world. For us to partake of the bread is to remember how Jesus had allowed His body to be beaten and bruised for our sins. When Jesus took the cup after supper, He said that it was the new covenant which was ratified and sealed by His own blood (Heb 9:12). The foundation of this new covenant was laid through the cross. We receive all the benefits that were promised in this new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:10–12) when we trust in the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf.
The Lord's Supper is a memorial service left for us as we gather together as believer-priests to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. It is designed to symbolize and communicate seven distinct truths:
- It is a memorial to remind us of the atonement of Christ (vv. 24, 25)
- It signifies our fellowship as believers being part of Christ’s body (v. 18)
- It is an occasion to pause, reflect and examine our walk with Christ (v. 28)
- It is an occasion to thank God for our salvation (v. 24)
- It stands as a witness to Christ’s death on our behalf (v. 26)
- It is an occasion to celebrate our blessed hope that we have in Christ (v. 26)
- It is an occasion to worship Christ for His finished work of atonement (v. 26)
The Lord’s Supper has a past reference to Christ’s death. It has a present reference to our corporate participation in Him through faith. It has a future reference in that it is a pledge of His return. It encourages us to be faithful in our daily walk and in our expectation. This service of worship is a distinctive sacrament instituted for the church, and to be observed until our Lord Jesus Christ comes back. The ultimate realization of the Lord’s Supper will be when we will one day celebrate the grand ‘Marriage Supper of the Lamb’ in New Jerusalem.
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'” And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." (Rev 19:7-9)