The Lord’s Supper

All scripture taken from the ESV translation, all other major translations concur.

There are other institutions or sacraments we, as Christians,  are instructed to do to outwardly show our belief and faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, Redeemer, High Priest and King. Other examples of these institutions from God are baptism and another marriage. Our focus here will be on the “Lord’s Supper”. With our “physical” baptism, should also result in the outward display of a “New creature” in Christ. God’s love is then truly reflected through us.  Getting baptized is not a “shoe in” to God’s kingdom. Living a repentant and changed life is critical. Within the institution of the Lord’s Supper also is a critical message of responsibility in how we first, gain strength from God’s Word and then, react to various trails, sufferings or afflictions in a righteous way. This is, in the truest sense, bearing “Fruit” to God. We are commanded and instructed to be “Christ-like” in our actions and reactions to the adversities of this temporary life. It is our call of duty as disciples of Christ. The Holy Scriptures and the Lord’s Supper supports this flawlessly.  How? Read on…

 

There are the 3 gospels that contain the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

Matthew 26:26-29     Mark 14:22-25     Luke 22:14-23   and Paul’s letter: 1 Corinthians 11

 Let’s refresh this in our minds by pausing to pray for guidance and truth from the Holy Spirit… then read

Mathew 26:26-29. 26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the {new} covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

There are two “elements” of communion. They are given in a specific order. The order is this… The bread first and then the wine. Remember the order, there is a reason for this.

The Bread

You know that throughout scripture, the “Bread” represents the word of the LORD, as it does in the New Testament, as it came from the Father through Jesus Christ to us.

I encourage you to read John 6:26-59 Here, Jesus makes it very clear that we must “…Eat His Flesh…” and also that “…He is the bread of life…” It’s important to understand this. The High Priests and even some of His disciples did not understand this.

We know Jesus meant that we must digest His words, teachings and testimony spiritually. So, what does it mean to digest it? Digesting it means that the WORD enters our spirit (not flesh) and therefore gives the spirit strength. That strength translates to faith and is a gift is from God.

There are countless scriptures on this... Here are two. Genesis 3 :19   and  Deuteronomy 8:3

Lets take a “spiritual look at Genesis 3:19 We can also see how this, the first mention of  “bread” can also be viewed spiritually and not just literally.

 

Genesis 3 :19  By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

 

We eat the pure word of God by the sweat of our face. Think about that! All the traditions and false teachers we must sift through! You can see then that we have to “work” to get the “bread” or we will become weak as Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11.

Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

So then the spiritual understanding of the “bread” was basic and simple.      More scripture on this… Exodus 16:4, Isaiah 55:2, John 6:26-59, Ezekiel 34 is a must read! There are possibly hundreds more. 383 verses in the ESV contain the word bread. How many are spiritual or literal or both! It’s a treasure hunt brothers!

 

The Cup and Wine

So in Matthew 26:26-29, Jesus clearly refers to the “bread” as Himself (A.K.A. the Word) and the cup as the action “going to the cross” or, the suffering He is about to endure. Interesting how eating “bread” results in a strengthening of our faith and the cup is an action of the bloodshed on the cross!  Isn’t this what Jesus says when he instructs us to take up our cross and follow Him? The scriptures mentioning the “cup” require a little “treasure hunting”. (Read Proverbs 2:4).

As we will see in the scriptures above, “The Cup” is not a pleasant thing to partake of.

Matthew 20:22  Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.”

Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

 

Mark 10:39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,

 

Mark 14:36 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 

 

John 18:11  So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

 

Based on the scripture above, Jesus knew the cup He had to drink from was bitter! But He did it for us!

One very significant Old Testament prophecy of Jesus Christ is in…

Genesis 49:10-11 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between His feet, until tribute comes to Him; and to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 Binding His foal to the vine and His donkey's colt to the choice vine, He has washed His garments in wine and His vesture in the blood of grapes.

 

This is a prophecy of Jesus’ shedding of His innocent blood to “wash His garments in the blood of grapes”. Again, what a contrast! Grapes and blood! God likens this atonement for His people to grapes/wine.

 

Old Testament mentions of “the cup”

Proverbs 4:17   17. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

Psalms 11:6  Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

Jeremiah 49: 12-13 For thus says the Lord: “If those who did not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, will you go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you must drink. 13 For I have sworn by myself, declares the Lord, that Bozrah shall become a horror, a taunt, a waste, and a curse, and all her cities shall be perpetual wastes.”

 

We are called by the Father to be Christ-like. We must endure the sufferings in a righteous Christ-like manner as faithful followers of Christ in this sinful and dark world, just as Jesus’ example on the cross. Without God’s help we cannot win this battle. Jesus said: “Take up your cross and follow me”. Is the “cross” the “Cup”? We MUST follow Jesus’ example.

 

So, what did Jesus mean by what He said in Matthew 26?  Matthew 26:29 “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”

 

Just a verse ago in 28 he called the cup “His blood”. Now in verse 29 where He calls it the “fruit of the vine”.

This is a huge contrast! What does this mean?

As Jesus suffered a totally righteous shedding of blood and death, ”shed for many for the remission of sins.  He counts it as “Fruit”. Is it literal fruit or spiritual fruit? It is spiritual fruit, because the result is for the “remission of sins”!

 

This is another reason Paul could endure so much suffering for Christ’s testimony!

 

As we suffer persecutions, in various forms, as a result of our responding righteously (per Christ’s instructions in the gospels) Then something special happens. We begin to produce “fruit”.  Jesus tells us to “…produce fruit…and also… lay up treasure in heaven…”

 

In Mathew 26:29 he tells us that He “…I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom…”

 

We are to produce “fruit” by faithfulness to His testimony. YES, that is, our actions or “works”.

More scripture on the cup….Hebrews 12: 2-5, 1 Corinthians 10:14-22,  2 Timothy 4:6,   Ezekiel 23:31-34,  Jeremiah 25: 28, If I were write them all here, you will not go “seek” it out for yourself!

 

In summery

The “bread” or “Word” strengthens our faith as we read it or spiritually “eat it”.  Bread = builds Faith

The “Cup” represents the “Action” of the suffering of Christ, and He demonstrates to us the command we have to respond in a righteous “Action” when we suffer the various persecutions and trials of living a Christ-like life.

 

This Christ-like action is a command to us by Jesus!  It’s what He taught us in the “bread of the word”.

So then the “Drinking of the Cup” represents a physical or verbal righteous response to a suffering. 

Drinking of the Cup = Works or action done in faith. Remember when Jesus says in Luke 22:19, “Do this in remembrance of Me?” So, in all our study, persecutions and afflictions, we should remember the price for which we have been bought and redeemed!

 

So, here we see the Lord’s Supper, faith and works in inseparable union again! (James 2:14)

 

NOTE: This action of drinking the cup is only possible with the strength of the Bread or WORD.

Hence the order of bread first then the cup. This is critical!

So, “chew the cud” of the WORD of the LORD that we might fully understand it and be spiritually strengthened to live and endure Christ-like. Then we will be “teachers” by example, that others may see the Light of God’s love in us which is Christ in you.

 

1 Corinthians 11: 17-34  In Paul’s letter, he tells them that they are  (Vs29)drinking judgment on themselves…. How is this? Some of them were NOT drinking of the cup in a worthy manner and much more!

 

An interesting point is how Paul refers to the two “elements” here in  (note: this exact wording is in ESV translation not KJV)

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”  Notice how he says:”…this bread and drink the cup…” it sounds like the bread is right THERE in front of them and the cup is symbolic.

 

When we apply this spiritual meaning of the “Lord’s Supper” and to our lives it should have a huge impact on our “walk” with Christ.  This is why in 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34, you can see why Paul says some are ill, weak and even dead! This is clearly “spiritually”! Is Saint Paul talking to physically sick, weak or dead people here, or “spiritual”?

 

Apply the Lord’s Supper spiritually. Remember how the Apostle Paul talks of the literal and physical action of circumcision, it is only “skin deep”. Circumcision is another clear case and point made in God’s Holy Word that the “physical” can override and overrun the heart of the matter. God wants your whole heart. 

The “Lord’s Supper” contains the duties and responsibilities Jesus speaks of in the gospels! Take communion every chance you get!  Another interesting mention of the “breaking of the bread” is in Acts 2:42. The “drinking of the cup” is not mentioned here. Was it literal or did it have a spiritual significance?

 

Eat the Bread and drink of the Cup like Christ taught us to do!

 

So, I ask, “is this study considered the “meat” of the word for spiritually mature Christians only”?  I say NO! This is one of the “basics” of Christ’s teaching! It’s the “milk”. Turning the other cheek, returning good for evil, showing love as opposed to when you are tempted to show hate. How could you ever do those things without Jesus Christ as your Lord and King? EAT it!  And as bitter as it may be…Drink it! God counts it as “fruit”!

 

So what is the purpose in the true believers suffering for the testimony of Jesus Christ? This is answered in many scriptures. Some examples are: 2 Thessalonians 1: 4-12, Revelation 14: 17-19 (here we see the “grape harvest” called first, grapes and then blood).  Jesus also prepares us for suffering and even death in Matt. 24:9. Have you found more? They are there.

 

There are so many more examples in the Word of God concerning bread and wine. However, it all interlocks. We must pray for guidance and Read on! How often do we skip an earthly meal? You’d be dead! Should we become weak, sick and even die by skipping God’s spiritual meal and drinking the cup in error?

 

God Bless!

 

 

One of many examples of spiritual bread that gives strength to take action is made in 1 Kings 19: 1-8

Elijah, in his faith in God and with God’s help,

 kills 450 prophets of Baal.

Now Jezebel swears a covenant with her god

to kill Elijah within 24 hours in retaliation for the 450 dead.

Elijah hears of it, an flees a day’s journey into wilderness.

Elijah humbles himself for his lack of faith and prays to The LORD…” “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

An angel of the LORD gives him bread and water.

He rests…

A second time an angel of the LORD says…“Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”

Then he goes on in the strength of that food 40 days and 40 nights = the endurance or “action”

Thought the wilderness = Cup

To the “mount of God” Horeb.

 

The events in order are…

·          Faith = strength

·          Lack of faith = failure

·          Humbleness = repentance

·          Weakness = lack of food

·          Food = earthly food

·          Strength = fleshly

·          Spiritual food = God’s Word

·          Spiritual strength = Faith

·          Impossible journey = life

·          To God = Heaven