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THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper is the title given by Paul (1 Cor. 11:20). It bears other names. Luke used the phrase “breaking of bread” (Acts 2:42-46; 20:11; Luke 24:35). Paul employed the term communion, which referred to believers’ relationship with the Lord (vertically) and with fellow believers (horizontally). Eucharist, another designation for the Lord’s Supper, is derived from the Greek word eucharistia, “giving of thanks”, as it implies the thanksgiving over bread and cup (1 Cor. 11:24). Paul referred to it as the “Lord’s Table.” (1 Cor. 10:21)
The Gospels (Matt. 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20 and Paul’s accounts (1 Cor. 11:23) indicate the Lord’s Supper is rooted in the Old Testament ceremony of Passover. Jesus used the occasion to identify Himself – by His actions and words – as the sacrificial Lamb. Christ’s words and actions initiated the celebration of this powerful symbol, the early church practiced it (Acts 2:42, 20:7), and it continues to be observed as a powerful symbol of our faith.
The Lord’s Supper not only carries historical significance, but also theological significance in that it symbolizes the sacrificial death of our Lord Jesus. The bread and cup represent s the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The blood, being essential to His earthly life and all other life, was shed redemptively for our lives. The table affirms His love to us as He invites us to come to His supper, and our partaking affirms our faith in Him.
There is no biblical requirement concerning the frequency with which the church is to observe the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. One might partake of it weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually without violation of the commandment or spirit. The Bible simply says, “This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me” (1 Cor. 11:25). More important than the frequency is the spirit in which the ordinance is observed.
The celebration of Communion commemorates a past event, it also anticipates a future consummation in His coming (1 Cor. 11:26). Thus a memorial of faith becomes a prophecy of hope!
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