Scripture: I Corinthians 11:23-34
Stream or download Lessons from the instituting of the Lord’s Supper
Barely twenty years have passed since the Saviour instituted the Last Supper and just five years have passed since the founding by Paul of the Corinthian church and yet it appears that the central act of worship has degenerated into something more akin to a pagan feast. Verse 21 demonstrates this to be so. How sad this is!
If such corruptions could and did take place during the lifetime of the apostles just what may we not expect to happen 1900 years after their ministry and influence has ceased.
For the Corinthians, the Lord’s Supper had become a carnal thing. One in which they satisfied their natural appetites and gave expression to social prejudices, verse 22. For such practices Paul gave no praise, verse 22.
Wherever it is kept, there are disorder still, verse 28-31. Need of self-examination!
Departures from scriptural practices are no light thing. This is a day in which little is thought of indulging fleshly notions and abandoning the rule of Holy Scripture. This is wrong and is all the more blameworthy when we have been instructed in the way of truth.
Paul only taught that which he had been divinely taught himself. Paul had always underlined his apostolic independence, Gal 1:11. Likewise, he here states that what he taught them had come directly from the Lord Himself.
He carefully relayed the truth to the flock of God. This is what the Saviour demanded of the apostles. The Corinthians had been taught the right way of commemorating the Lord’s death, verse 23. The word ‘deliver’ means ‘to put into the hands of’. Out of 121 times used it is translated ‘betray’ 40 times. Paul took pains to make sure that that which he had received was that which he passed on to the Corinthians.
There must be no room for man’s innovations in the doctrinal structures of the Church of Christ.
The institution of the Lord’s Supper demonstrates the loving care of Christ. It was a night in which a professed follower would betray Him; the rest of the apostles would forsake Him and the chosen nation would reject Him. Yet, He thought upon His people. Perhaps it was fitting in the midst of such blindness that the Saviour takes steps to avert the tendency of His people to forget Him.
The words of Christ are to be understood figuratively rather than literally. This is made clear by the use of the phrase ‘this cup’. The cup referred to the wine within it which in turn referred to the blood of Christ.
In this supper we are to remember the Lord Himself. Not just the events of that dark night.
This supper was established to be a perpetual memorial to Christ’s death. The word ‘shew’ means ‘to proclaim or to publicly announce’. This is a telling again of the Saviour’s death, Exodus 12:26-27.
Notice the discretion given to the church regarding its keeping of the memorial. ‘As often’. The keeping of the Passover feast was fixed, Exodus 13:5 but not so the Lord’s Supper. But as ‘often’ as we do keep it, it must be as instituted by the Lord.