Food! The one thing that can draw all people together. Growing up in the South (Alabama), we majored in food. Our Sundays centered around the meal that we would partake of that evening. No matter what activities we had planned that day before the meal, we all knew where we better be at 6:30pm. We all come from different locations, but we met at the Table. There was order at the table. There was a purpose to the table, to nourish us, to feed us, and to allow us time to fellowship. There was an ORDER to the meal.
The Corinthians had anything but order. The church at Corinthian held “Love Feasts.” The problem was that some of the richer members were not sharing their food but greedily consumed the meal before the poor showed up (v.21). Paul was saying if the purposes of the love feast were not being realized, it was better to eat at home (v.22).
The Corinthians, like many of us today, do not realize the seriousness and significance of the Lord’s Supper. Communion is like a sermon acted out. By partaking of the elements of the Lord’s Table, we are remembering what was used to secure our salvation. The bread represents Jesus’s body and the “cup” represents His blood (v.25).
Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord’s Supper is an acted sermon, looking back on Christ’s life and death and looking forward to His Second Coming.
Our salvation was accomplished on the Cross, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His body was broken, symbolized by the breaking of the bread, so that we can be whole. His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins, as pictured in the cup.
What does Communion symbolize? Communion symbolizes:
- The Lord’s Death
- Believer’s participation in the crucifixion of Christ.
- Effects our union with other believers.
The most important relationship in Communion is the Vertical relationship. The Sacrificial, Substitutionary Death of Christ on the Cross, brought us back together with God. Sin separated us from God. The Death of Christ was/is the bridge of reconciliation back to God.
Communion should be a time of reflection and reverence for the completed work(s) of Christ on the Cross. It is time to make sure that our VERTICAL relationship is right. Our horizontal relationships will never be right until our relationship with God is right.
When you partake of Communion, use that time to reflect on your horizontal relationships as well. Is there someone I need to forgive? Is there someone I need to pray for? Most importantly, make sure your relationship with Jesus Christ is correct. Paul warns of eating of the Lord’s Table in an “unworthy” manner.
People who have partaken of this in an irreverent manner have become sick and some have even died. This is a solemn warning giving from the Apostle Paul to us. Make sure your heart and hands are clean before you come to the Table to eat.
- Is there anything hindering or interrupting my VERTICAL relationship with God? Unconfessed sin(s)? Disobedience?
- How are my horizontal relationships? Who do I need to reconcile with?
- What does the death of Christ mean to you? Do you value the forgiveness of sins? What is my part in this covenant with God?
Shannon Cockrell is an ordained minister. He has a B.S. in Pastoral Theology from Crossroads Bible College and a M.Div in Theological Studies, with a minor in Greek from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Brianne and has 2 kids, Josiah and Rhys. Additionally, he teaches adjunct classes online at Austin Bible Institute and is currently teaching Greek at Post Road Christian Church. He loves reading, studying, and teaching the Bible and his life is driven by the belief: Preach, Teach, and Reach for Christ.
[Picture Credit: http://www.greaterzionbaptist.org/ministries/deaconess-ministry]