The Supper That Lasts
Three Questions about the Lord’s Supper today.
1) How should we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
2) What is the meaning of the Lord’s Supper?
3) Why do we celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
How? We must receive and share the Lord’s Supper with praise and thanksgiving.
22 As they were eating, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
1) Took (Gk. lambanō; Lat. accepto): accept, receive (cf. Matt. 10:8)
2) Gave (Gk. didómi; Lat. dedo): dedicate, offer
a) Pesachim 10: four cups guaranteed for the poorest
3) Giving thanks (Gk. eucharisteó; Lat. gratias): say grace, “good gift,” “Eucharist”
4) Blessed (Gk. eulogeó; Lat. benedictio): “good word” Praise; more a declaration than a petition
a) Jesus did his own eulogy in advance
What? The Lord’s Supper is a review and a preview of the plan of redemption.
24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
1) Luke 22:20 This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
2) Historical debate about real presence of Christ in the bread and the wine: Mystery (Eastern Orthodox); Transubstantiation (Roman Catholics); Consubstantiation (Lutheran); Spiritual (Protestant traditions) vs. symbolic reference (Zwingli)
3) The centrality of the cup (symbolizing the covenant)
a) Jesus was apparently preoccupied by the imagery of the cup (Matt. 10:38; Mark 26:39,42; John 18:11)
b) Seder is organized around four cups (cf. Exod. 6:6-7):
i) The Cup of Sanctification (bring you out Egypt)
ii) The Cup of Plagues (free you … by mighty acts of judgment)
iii) The Cup of Redemption (redeem you)
iv) The Cup of Praise (take you as my own people)
c) The third cup is taken after the meal (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16); no more drinking between the third and the fourth cup (Pesachim 10:7; cf. Mark 10:25; Luke 22:18): hold off the final celebration – redemption is not fully done yet (only a hymn is sung in v. 26)
4) The afikommen: the hidden half piece of the matzah is served at the end as dessert.
5) Like the Passover meal, the Lord’s Supper is a review and a preview of the plan of redemption. The difference is about the new milestone reached by the Cross.
Why? We celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember Jesus Christ, to imitate his sacrifice, and to anticipate His return.
Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me… For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Cor. 11:25-26)
1) To remember Christ: “in remembrance of me”
2) To imitate His sacrifice: “do this, as often as you drink it”
a) If I should wash your feet, you should also wash each other’s feet (John 13:14)
b) You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant (Mark 10:38; Matt. 20:23)
3) To anticipate His return: “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”
a) The meal is paused when some fell asleep and is voided if everybody fell asleep. (cf. 1 Cor. 10:28-30)
b) Stay here and keep watch (Mark 14:34-41)! Awake!