“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” – 1 Corinthians 11:26
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful sacrament, a means of grace, that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted on the night He was betrayed and commands that it be observed in His church until the end of the world. Our Lord gave us this supper to be one of remembrance and celebration as it points to His marvelous, redeeming work for us. It’s a visible presentation of the Gospel. In his work, The Ten Commandments, Thomas Watson described the Lord’s Supper as “a visible sermon, wherein Christ crucified is set before us.” (pp. 165) It’s a table that Jesus has prepared before us and calls us to come and dine with Him and the saints. Further, the Apostle Paul teaches us this supper is also one of proclamation as in our partaking of it we proclaim Christ’s death until He returns. Beautifully, it’s also a foretaste of the heavenly banquet to come at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Oh, how we look forward to that day when we will feast with our Lord Jesus face-to-face!
This is all so very good, but why did Jesus institute such a supper for His church? Our Confession once again helps us here. In the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 29.1, of the Lord’s Supper, the Westminster divines point out five purposes for its institution:
• For the perpetual remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself in His death on the cross- This supper calls us to remember Christ’s saving work for us. The bread and wine point us, as signs, to the great reality of the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood to atone for our sins in His sacrifice. (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
• The sealing all benefits thereof unto true believers – we are to eat, drink, and remember knowing that the Lord’s Supper is a sign and seal of God’s covenant of grace. This supper is a guarantee to us, as believers, those to whom the Lord has given new life and faith, that what this sacrament declares and promises really is true for us.
• Our spiritual nourishment and growth in Him – the Lord’s Supper is truly a means of grace whereby the Holy Spirit is at work nourishing, strengthening, sustaining, and sanctifying us by His grace.
• Our further engagement in and to all duties which we owe unto Him as this sacrament is a sign and seal of our union and communion with Jesus Christ, it reminds us of our duties to be faithful and obedient to Him. (1 Cor. 6:20) May we have great zeal and commitment to do so.
• To be a bond and pledge of our communion with Him – and with each other – as members of His mystical body, we are also strengthened in our assurance of our communion with Christ and His people. (1 Cor. 10:16-21)
Though there is much more that could be said, I pray that you are blessed and encouraged, that you are hungry to study more as you consider afresh Jesus’ saving work for you, His giving His church this sacrament, as well as the Holy Spirit’s work of grace in it. Think about and praise God for His work in this supper as you prepare to partake each Lord’s Day. Have much comfort and joy for the bond and pledge the Lord’s Supper is to you regarding your communion with Christ and His saints. Look forward with anticipation to the glorious banquet that is to come. May we be faithful to remember and proclaim His death, and serve Him well in the weeks ahead. To God be the glory!