The Lord’s Supper is a time of celebration in remembering the Lord’s death until He comes again. Instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ at the “last supper”, right before His suffering and death on the cross of Calvary, this remembrance is considered to be a New Testament ordinance that comes with great responsibility. There are three vivid accounts of the Lord’s Supper found in the Gospels, as well as an account from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11, which include:
Matthew 26:26 – 30
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
Mark 14:22 – 25
“And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:15 – 20
“And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
John 13:21 – 30
“When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”
1 Corinthians 11:23 – 25
“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: 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. 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”
From these passages, we know that they took bread, which is symbolic of His body that is broken for us. Notice that it is one loaf, one body, one offering. There is no substitute. They consumed that bread as a way in identifying with Christ, who is the Bread of Life. That bread was “unleavened” bread which was used at Passover. The significance of the bread being unleavened speaks to the fact that as the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ was without sin.
We also know that they took the cup and drank of the the fruit of the vine in remembrance of His blood that was shed for the remission of sins. As with the symbolism associated with unleavened bread, the fruit of the vine was of necessity unfermented juice that was squeezed from grapes. That is an important detail, as fermentation would indicate the inclusion of yeast and the process of aging to process an alcoholic drink. And we know that the Lord Jesus Christ was without sin. In fact, His blood was poured out and applied according to the will of God.
Unfortunately, over time the symbolism of the Lord’s Supper has been corrupted by culture and the traditions of men. The Roman Catholic Church developed the abomination of transubstantiation, the fruit of the vine has been replaced with alcoholic wine or Welch’s grape juice, and the bread is often found to either be a wafer that melts in one’s mouth, a cracker that crumbles in pieces, or a loaf of leavened bread that is puffed up. Some postmodern observances even go as far as to say that anything can be used to represent the bread and fruit of the vine (e.g. cookie and Kool-aid).
There are boundaries that exist in life, especially as it relates to Biblical boundaries of truth that are delineated by the Word of God. One such example of such boundaries includes a warning from the Apostle Paul, which is found in 1 Corinthians 11:26 – 34.
“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 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. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 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.”
What is abundantly clear from this passage is that the Lord’s Supper is a solemn observance that should not be taken lightly. This is not an “anything goes,” “what’s the big deal,”” let’s get it over with,” observance. Assumptions made to justify an irreverent and unholy approach to observing the Lord’s Supper is to presuppose that any offering for sin would be an acceptable way in which to fulfill the requirements of the Atonement. The Lord’s Supper should not be observed in an unworthy manner. This remembrance is to be taken seriously. Careful examination of one’s self is of paramount importance.
In addition, there are many churches/assemblies of Believers that compromise when it comes to the fruit of the vine. Since there are people who struggle with alcohol addiction, as well as children who should not drink alcoholic wine, many groups have decided to offer wine and grape juice in order to accommodate everyone. Yet what does this compromise really speak to, a divided Body? Yes, a divided Body!! Where is the unity of Believers in all of that? A house divided against itself will not stand!
Perhaps one of the greatest causes of the apostasy of our time and the weak and pathetic condition of many assemblies of Believers throughout the world is due to not discerning the Lord’s body. This is not a matter of legalism, it’s a matter of holiness. According to 2 Thessalonians 2, those that do not love the truth are given over to delusion. And delusion is certainly a common characteristic of this postmodern generation that does not fear God. Not discerning the Lord’s body is a clear indication of a departure from the truth of the Word of God. Walking in the light of the Lord is to walk in the light of His Word. There is no substitute for Bible-based Christianity.
As Christians who identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord’s Supper represents the price of redemption that was paid by the Lamb of God, victory over sin and death, reconciliation, the forgiveness of sins, and the promise and hope of eternal life. We look forward to the day in which the Lord Jesus Christ returns for His Saints. It is my hope and prayer that Saints (Children of God) will examine the Lord’s Supper in light of God’s Word. In those areas where we have fallen into error, repent! Don’t allow another day go by without getting it right! The Lord’s Supper should be observed in holy reverence to God! The Church, though comprised of many members, is one body! That body should not be defiled!
1 John 1:5 “…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”