23 – The Lord’s Supper

23 – The Lord’s Supper 2016-11-27T17:36:32+00:00

Sabbath, December 5, 2015

“In instituting the sacramental service to take the place of the Passover, Christ left for His church a memorial of His great sacrifice for man. ‘This do,’ He said, ‘in remembrance of Me.’ This was the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. The one was to close forever; the other, which He had just established, was to take its place, and to continue through all time as the memorial of His death.” –Evangelism, pp. 273, 274.

Jesus’ great desire

1. What did Jesus say to His disciples the night that He was betrayed, when they were together for the last Passover meal?

Luke 22:14, 15 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, 15With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.

“Christ knew that the time had come for Him to depart out of the world, and go to His Father. And having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end. He was now in the shadow of the cross, and the pain was torturing His heart. He knew that He would be deserted in the hour of His betrayal. He knew that by the most humiliating process to which criminals were subjected He would be put to death. He knew the ingratitude and cruelty of those He had come to save. He knew how great the sacrifice that He must make, and for how many it would be in vain. Knowing all that was before Him, He might naturally have been overwhelmed with the thought of His own humiliation and suffering. But He looked upon the twelve, who had been with Him as His own, and who, after His shame and sorrow and painful usage were over, would be left to struggle in the world. His thoughts of what He Himself must suffer were ever connected with His disciples. He did not think of Himself. His care for them was uppermost in His mind.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 643.

The symbol of His body

2. After He washed their feet, what did Jesus give to His disciples? What did the blessed piece of bread that He gave them represent?

Matthew 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 

“Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 652. 

3. What other explanation did He give, signifying what would soon take place? What did His words imply for the future, when they would again celebrate the ordinance? 

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 

1 Corinthians 11:23, 24 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 

“Here our Saviour instituted the Lord’s supper, to be often celebrated, to keep fresh in the memory of his followers the solemn scenes of His betrayal and crucifixion for the sins of the world. He would have His followers realize their continual dependence upon His blood for salvation. The broken bread was a symbol of Christ’s broken body, given for the salvation of the world. The wine was a symbol of His blood, shed for the cleansing of the sins of all those who should come unto Him for pardon, and receive Him as their Saviour.” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 203. 

The symbol of His blood

4. After giving thanks, what did He give to the disciples? What did the wine in the cup that He gave them represent? 

Matthew 26:27, 28, first part And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood….

“In partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, Christ pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer…. As we receive the bread and wine symbolizing Christ’s broken body and spilled blood, we in imagination join in the scene of Communion in the upper chamber. We seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of Him who bore the sins of the world. We witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained. Christ is set forth crucified among us.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 300.

The blood of the new covenant 

5. For what purpose was Jesus’ blood to be shed? Being an ordinance of the new covenant, who is invited to partake of it? 

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 

Exodus 12:43 And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof.

“By eating the bread and drinking the wine, we show that we believe this. We show that we repent of our sins, and that we receive Christ as our Saviour.” –The Story of Jesus, p. 98. 

“The ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two monumental pillars, one without and one within the church. Upon these ordinances Christ has inscribed the name of the true God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 91. 

Remembering His suffering and sacrifice

6. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper, who would be the center of their thoughts every time they drank the fruit of the vine? How many of the disciples drank of it? 

1 Corinthians 11:25, 26 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. 

Mark 14:23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 

“Both of these important events

[death and resurrection of Jesus] have their memorials. By partaking of the Lord’s supper, the broken bread and the fruit of the vine, we show forth the Lord’s death until He comes. The scenes of His sufferings and death are thus brought fresh to our minds. The resurrection of Christ is commemorated by our being buried with Him by baptism, and raised out of the watery grave, in likeness of His resurrection, to live in newness of life.” –Early Writings, p. 217. 

Lord’s supper and unity

7. What does it mean to partake of the cup of blessing and the broken bread? What did the apostle Paul mean when he said that, “being many,” we “are one bread, and one body” by partaking “of that one bread”? 

1 Corinthians 10:16, 17 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 

“Christ is leading out a people, and bringing them into the unity of the faith, that they may be one, as He is one with the Father…. 

“God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus…. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite; each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinion of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases, without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren?” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 324, 446, 447.

Keeping the Saviour’s sacrifice vividly in mind

8. For how long will the Lord’s Supper be observed? What privilege will those who now share the symbols of the body and blood of Jesus enjoy one day? 

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. 

Luke 22:16, 18 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God…. 18For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 

“As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages….

“The Communion service points to Christ’s second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples… In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord’s return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, ‘As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 652, 659. 

For additional study

“Looking upon the crucified Redeemer, we more fully comprehend the magnitude and meaning of the sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven. The plan of salvation is glorified before us, and the thought of Calvary awakens living and sacred emotions in our hearts. Praise to God and the Lamb will be in our hearts and on our lips; for pride and self-worship cannot flourish in the soul that keeps fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 300.

What covenant would be sealed with the shedding of Jesus’ blood? 

“The ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are two monumental pillars, one without and one within the church. Upon these ordinances Christ has inscribed the name of the true God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6. p. 91. (Compare with the 1946 compilation, Evangelism, p. 273.)

Matthew 26:29 “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”