Tuesday 28 March 2017

Bible Book:
1 Corinthians

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (v. 26)

1 Corinthians 11:23-29 Tuesday 28 March 2017

Psalm: Psalm 127


This is the earliest account we have of the familiar words andactions of the Lord's supper, as Paul wrote his letters before theGospels were completed. His description fits closely with the otherearly accounts of the worship, and together they reflect thetradition which the church collectively received "from the Lord"(v. 23) and handed on to following generations.

Bread and wine were staples in Jesus' society, the food ofordinary people - bread because it was easy to make from the wheatwhich grows well in that climate, wine because it is much safer todrink than disease-bearing water. Jesus chose the most ordinaryresources to give expression to the faith he wanted to share withhis disciples.

The series of actions which Jesus undertook are described inevery New Testament account of the Lord's Supper: taking, givingthanks, breaking and sharing (and the story of the sharing of theloaves and fishes includes the same actions: Mark6:41). The Greek word for 'giving thanks', 'eucharistesas',gives us the word Eucharist, which some churches use for thissacrament.

Jesus' words identify a range of meanings for the Lord's Supper.It is about his sacrifice - "my body that is for you" (v. 24). Itgives us a way to remember him, with a strong awareness of thepower of memory to recreate circumstances and events. It enables usto be in covenant relationship with God, a covenant sealed withblood like God's covenant with Moses (Exodus24:6). Drawing on the tradition of the Jewish Passover, Jesusoffers his disciples a resource for finding deliverance andsalvation.

Paul ends his account of the Lord's Supper by highlighting itsmission focus: we "proclaim the Lord's death", speaking the storyout loud. The meal is not a secret gathering of a chosen few, butan event which regularly and publicly recalls the horrificcrucifixion of Jesus and presents it as our route to salvation.

To Ponder

  • What ordinary things in your context connect you with God'sholiness?
  • John and Charles Wesley saw the Lord's Supper as a 'convertingordinance' through which people could be led to faith. On the basisof your experience of this sacrament, would you agree that it canhelp people come to faith? Why?

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