The Lord's Supper
This is an excerpt from my book, 85 Pages In The Bible. It has been edited to fit an essay format. It deals with the issue of the lack of uniformity, from system to system, of this highly revered celebration, and goes so far as to pose the question; should it be participated in at all by members of Christ's body?
When I was a kid growing up, we (i.e., my family) were members of the Methodist Church. At the time, Methodist doctrine called for the partaking of the “Lord's Supper”only one Sunday a month.
I always looked forward to that particular Sunday, not because there was anything special about it for me, but rather, because it cut the sermon in half, meaning I only had to endure fifteen minutes of boredom rather than thirty. I envied my Catholic friends, who got to do it every week. I also envied them getting to drink wine in their ritual, instead of the grape juice we got.
When I became an adult and left home, I often wondered why Methodists only did it once a month, and they (Catholics) every week. Many years later, after I got saved and began to study the Bible, my wonder about this lead me to look into the scriptures and determine what exactly was the “right” way to do this ritual, and how often.
The Lord's Supper, also known as the ‘Lord’s table,’ the ‘holy Eucharist, 'holy communion,’ the 'sacrifice of the mass,'+--it is generally claimed by most Christian theologies—was instituted in the church by Jesus Christ before his death on the cross, in what is known as “the last supper.” It is, doubtless, the most revered ritual among Christian denominations, and along with baptism, the most common practice among them.
My question concerning this ritual is; is the church the body of Christ called to celebrate it? What saith the Scripture? Any exegesis of this topic must begin with the treatment of it in the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, from whence tradition says it cometh. There are three accounts of it in the gospels. They are as follows:
“And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready thepassover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betrayme. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said. 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.”
“And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of
+ Reference the sub-title, “The Bloodless Sacrifice of the Mass,” in section III under “The Pagan Influence” A more thorough discourse of this practice in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches can be found in the section on “Institutionalized Christianity.”
man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. 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 giventhanks, 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 daythat I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
“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 ofthe 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 bodywhich 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.”
Please note that in all these accounts this “celebration,” as modern day adherents like to label it, is identified as the Passover. The Passover was a memorial feast on the fleshof the slain Passover lamb, and was given to Moses by God (see Exodus 12:11-14) as an ordinance forever. An ordinance forever to whom? Israel! The only difference here between that and what is going on between Jesus and the 12 in the above accounts, is this is the new testament equivalent of it, with the Lord himself as the sacrificial Lamb+—the OT version being a shadow of the new. In any case, the Lord and his disciples were keeping a required feast under the Mosaic Law. Remember, the Lord said that he “came not to destroy the law....but to fulfil.”(Matt. 5:17)
The point is, again, that this is to, for, and about the nation Israel under the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34), which was under the law, not the body of Christ, which is “..NOT under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14) According to Romans 11:6, law and grace, my friends, are not to be mixed.
+ This celebration between the Lord and the 12 did not occur at Passover, but the evening before, because the Lord was crucified on Passover.
Just because members of the body of Christ were keeping this celebration during the Acts transition (1 Co. 11:20-34), does not mean it carried over into the grace dispensation.+ In fact Paul rebukes the Corinthian church for doing it as an assembly.++
The Corinthian church would have been keeping this ritual for Israel's sake.+++ Since Israel no longer has recognition as God's chosen nation in the grace dispensation, what would be the reason to continue doing it?
Paul's final instructions, concerning faith and practice, to the body of Christ are found in the letters to the Ephesians and Colossians. In the second chapters of each of these letters, the Apostle plainly and unequivocally ends any and all these Jewish ordinances (referred to as the “middle wall of partition”), which would certainly have to include the very Jewish ordinance of the feast of the passover. The reason for doing this, ++++ was for the purpose of bringing the body together into one cohesive fellowship, viz. “the one new man....the fellowship of the mystery.” (Eph. 2:14-16; 3:9; Col. 2:14)
If God meant for an ordinance/practice to be kept in the grace dispensation, would he not have left very specific instructions with the apostle to whom he revealed this dispensation, Paul, as to exactly how, when, where, with whom, and by whom it was to be performed? I haven’t been able to find such instructions in Paul’s 13 letters. In fact, I can’t find the Lord’s supper mentioned anywhere else save for the above reference in 1 Corinthians. Surely, this explains the incredible amount of variation and downright confusion over the practice of this Jewish ordinance by Christians. When it plainly says that “God is not the author of confusion,”+++++ how can anyone believe He ordains this practice in the church?
Please feel free to publish this essay as you see fit. All Scripture references are taken from the King James Bible.
Will you be in the number who are caught up on that day that the Lord descends from heaven with a shout? Only the saved, those who have believed on Jesus Christ—“who knew no sin”—and his sacrificial death on the Cross having paid for all their sins, will be going on that ride. History has shown that whatever peace man has achieved in the world can only be temporary. The Bible says that individual men and women can know, beyond a doubt, that they are saved and bound for heaven, and therefore have absolute and permanent peace, regardless of what is going on in the world, by trusting Jesus Christ and his death on the cross for their eternal salvation. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Have you done this? If not, why not now?
+ Eph. 3:3
++ 1 Cor. 11:20-22: "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 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/"
+++Reference the section sub-titled, “The Middle Wall Removed: The Ordinances,”
++++1 Cor 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law. 1 Cor. 10:32 Give none offense, neither to the Jews..............
+++++ 1 Co. 14:33 .