We, the Church, don’t often teach clearly or understand thoroughly this one-of-two church ordinances known as the Lord’s Supper. Below are just a few ways Christ-following, believers-baptized Christians benefit from observing the Lord’s Supper.
Taking part in the Lord’s Supper:
Leads to Christ-recollection – 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 “….do this in remembrance of Me.” The Lord’s Supper is a clear call to remembrance. It is a remembrance unto Christ. It is a recalling of Christ’s death on the cross. While we will see it is more than remembering His death, it is not less than a memorial meal of remembrance. We remember Christ’s perfect life, His betrayal, His mockery, His bloodshed, His broken body, His suffering, His last words, and His last breath.
Leads to self-examination – 1 Corinthians 11:28 “But a man must examine himself and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” The taking of the Lord’s Supper is serious and meaningful. It reminds us to examine ourselves, our attitudes, actions, emotions, standing with God, relationships with others, and so on. Taking the Lord’s Supper when we aren’t right with ourselves, God, or others is serious business (verse 27,29).
Leads to church-introspection – 1 Corinthians 11:17-19 The command to observe the Lord’s Supper was given to His followers, later known as the Church. In our 1 Corinthians passage, Paul has brought up the subject of the Lord’s Supper observance in the midst of divisions, factions, and much divisiveness in the church. The Lord’s Supper is a time for the church to look inside itself, be relationally honest with one another, and seek unity. Taking the Lord’s Supper as a church family should bring about the peace of Christ.
Leads to new covenant-exclamation - 1 Corinthians 11:25 “…This cup is the new covenant in My blood….” (see Matthew 26:28) When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we exclaim the ushering in of a new, superior covenant where all the work is done on our behalf by a Superior High Priest with a Superior Sacrifice. This covenant is a new covenant not written on stone, but in our hearts through the blood of Christ where our iniquities are forgiven and our sin is remembered no longer (Hebrews 8:8-13). Christ ushered in and is the mediator of the new covenant where we find redemption and eternal life (Hebrews 9:15).
Leads to gospel-proclamation – 1 Corinthians 11:26 “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death…" The taking of the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of the Gospel. We are proclaiming all that Christ did on our behalf to redeem and reconcile us unto salvation, including His work at the cross, His life leading up to the cross and who He is that allowed Him to be the perfect sacrifice for sin, and the resurrection as He didn’t stay dead. John Piper states: “Every time we eat the Lord's Supper we proclaim the gospel. We proclaim it to ourselves to sustain faith, and we proclaim it to unbelievers, who may be watching, to awaken faith.”
Leads to Christ’s return-anticipation – 1 Corinthians 11:26 “….you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” In remembering and proclaiming all that the cross represents, we anticipate Christ’s return, as He is not only raised from the grave but also He will someday return. The Lord’s Supper helps us wait eagerly for His imminent return. In this way, while it is a time of remembrance and reflection, observing the Lord’s Supper is not a time of mourning the cross. Rather, it is a time of celebration for what is to come.
*All Scripture Quotes from New American Standard Bible with Italics Mine