Understanding Communion

Pastor Ralph Byma

Understanding Communion

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (NIV)

16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

When we come to the communion table, it is not to beat ourselves up, but to remember Jesus and what He has done. He is above all, over all. All things are held together by Jesus. He is the Son of God and became like us to serve. He came down to lift us up, so we could be sons and daughters of God. He demonstrated how we should act towards others. He was forsaken so that we will NEVER be forsaken. The full weight of our sins was put on Jesus.  It is FINISHED – there is no more condemnation. We are fully forgiven. As we partake in communion, we remember that we are forgiven, that Jesus paid the ultimate price.  He broke down every dividing wall between us and God, and each other. No matter who we are, where we came from or our station in life, everyone has value.

We are to examine ourselves before coming to the communion table. How is our participation reflecting the proclamation of what communion is about? How are we treating others?  In 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 we see that the people were divided.  The food was not evenly distributed. They did not wait to eat together. Some went ahead and ate and drank more than their share, leaving others to go hungry.  This was an abuse of the Lord’s supper and needed to be corrected.

1 Corinthians 11:17-30  (NIV)  Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


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