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The Lord’s Supper

“Do this in remembrance of Me”


Daniel Sathiaraj
Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. He asked us to take part in it and said: "This cup is the new covenant in
my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." Jesus is creative and original in this
aspect.
The Lord’s Supper is also called the Lord’s table, Communion, or the Eucharist (the giving of thanks). You
may refer to the passages 1 Corinthians 10: 21, 1 Corinthians 10: 16 NKJV, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22,
and 1 Corinthians 11.
We will deal with the purpose of the Lord’s Supper, how to participate in it, and how to remove
misconceptions.
The purpose
1. To remember Jesus Christ

Jesus is the most wonderful and loving Person in the Universe. At the altar or when we receive the elements
of the Lord’s table, we ought to remember Him, His greatness, His teachings and His substitutionary death.

The Bible says:


Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows…
5
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all [Isaiah 53].
Do we obey Him as He obeyed our heavenly Father? Do we read God’s word daily? Do we love Him? Just
as Jesus’ body was broken for us, we are to spend our life for the extension of His Kingdom. Do we live
(and die) for Him and His people? We read:
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them
and was raised again.[2 Corinthians 5: 15]

2. To proclaim Jesus’ death until He comes

It is a historical fact that Jesus died on the cross. Hebrews 9: 22 says that “without the shedding of
blood there is no forgiveness of sins”. There is salvation today for all people because Jesus sacrificed
Himself on the cross and rose again. The Devil says that Jesus did not die on the cross. When we take part
in the Communion, we declare to the world that Jesus died on the cross. So it is a wonderful thing to preach
this truth all over the world. For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's
death until he comes. [1 Corinthians 11:26]

He rose from the grave. He is the risen Saviour of the world. Jesus asks us to be busy in using His talents
until He comes. The time is short. We must preach the Gospel -- in all nations among all peoples. Jesus
may return today. Let us be ready; let us watch and pray.

3. To keep Jesus’ covenant

”This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [Matthew 26:
28] It is a covenant between Jesus and all those who receive His forgiveness. This is the new covenant in
His blood. To redeem us, Jesus paid a very high price – His own life. Now that we have been redeemed, we
ought to obey Him always and declare His praises to others who are still in darkness.

4. To bring about the Kingdom of God

Jesus said to them [His disciples], "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I
tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." [Luke 22:15,16]

The Kingdom of God includes those who have been purchased and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.
“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and
priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen” [Revelation
1:5,6]. As a result of the first Lord’s Supper together with Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are made part
of the Kingdom of God. Each of us may bring at least a few others into His Kingdom.

5. To be thankful

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,
"Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them [Matthew
26:26,27].

It is significant that Jesus thanked God for His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus obeyed God and did the noblest
work. We read:
Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its
shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition
from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.[Hebrews 12:2,3]

Jesus was joyful, because His sacrifice on the cross brought salvation to many in the world and in all history;
they have had the joy of their sins forgiven. When we take part in the Lord’s Supper, are we full of thanks
for Jesus and His sufferings? Without Jesus, we would have remained under the wrath of God [John 3: 36],
and without hope – in bondage to sin and Satan. So our God is worthy of our worship, all through our life.
We are eternally grateful to Him.

6. To be prepared for suffering

Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples before He suffered. Are we willing to suffer for Him? Rejoice
that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.[1
Peter 4:13] Paul writes: just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our
comfort overflows [2 Corinthians 1:5].

Paul wanted to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings
[Philippians 3:10]. Pastor Mrs Arlene Stubbs pointed out that after the Lord’s Supper, Jesus suffered and
died for us and whether after partaking of the Communion, I continue to live for Jesus or deny Christ in my
workplace, at home, or among my people and others. Do we spread the good news of Jesus to others?

Who may participate?


It is for those who have repented of their sins and invited Jesus into their life as their Saviour and Lord; who
are born again, who love the Lord [who walk in His ways] and who are His disciples. The Bible says the
participants are one body – the body of Christ. “Is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of
Christ? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” [1
Corinthians 10: 16, 17]. Of course, mere participation in the Lord’s table does not make one a member of the
body of Christ. A person who is outside the body of Christ participates in it at his own risk.
Examine and judge yourself
Some people may take part in it as a habit, or meaningless ritual. We ought to first examine ourselves and
then participate.
Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of
sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he
eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing
the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are
weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. [1 Corinthians 11]

Am I living in sin? Do I have any unconfessed sin? Is my relationship with my brothers and sisters in the
LORD right before God?

If we walk in the light, as he[Jesus]is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the
blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness[1 John 1:7-9].

Have I forgiven my spouse, my people, and my enemies? “if you forgive men when they sin against you, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your
sins” [Matthew 6: 15, 16].

Do I have any grievance against anyone? “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,
forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins" [Mark 11: 25].

Does any brother or sister have any grievance against me? “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there
remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be
reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” [Matthew 5: 23, 24].

Removing misconceptions
1. At the Lord’s Supper the elements become Jesus’ literal body and blood. When Jesus instituted it,
He did not serve His physical body and blood. When Jesus partakes of it anew in His kingdom, He
will not drink His own blood. “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now
on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom" [Matthew
26:29].

2. Jesus Christ is crucified / sacrificed every time the Eucharist is celebrated.


The Scripture says that Jesus sacrificed for our sins once for all. Unlike the other high priests, he
does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the
people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. [Hebrews 7:27]

3. Taking part in the Lord’s Supper leads me to eternal life.


Eternal life is knowing God and knowing Jesus personally [John 17:3]. John 5: 24 says that he who
hears Jesus and believes in God who sent Him has eternal life, and that he will not be condemned but
has passed from death to life. What makes a person a child of God is receiving Jesus into his / her
life as Lord and Saviour [John 1: 12]. Such a person is born of God, and knows God personally.

Conclusion
In some churches, people are not warned as to who may participate in the Lord’s table and how they may.
Can a nominal Christian who marries a person of another faith or who lives with more than one wife take
part in it? What about a husband and his wife living in separate houses? Some people participate in the
Communion in order that their sins may be forgiven, without prior repentance, restitution, or reconciliation
on their part. May God continue to enlighten and discipline us regarding the Lord’s table, and use us for His
glory.
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Dr Daniel Sathiaraj served in IMA Chennai and Hyderabad. He has been the Principal of St John’s PG
College, Chengicherla, Hyderabad since 2006. dsathiaraj@gmail.com