Yesterday morning, I had the privilege of leading the church in celebrating the Lord’s supper. This is a slightly edited version of the thoughts I shared.
As a church, sharing communion is a significant event where we gratefully acknowledge together that the death of Christ is full payment for the sins we’ve committed against a holy God. If you’re our guest this morning, we’re so glad that you’ve joined us. Thank you for coming! However, because of the significance of this meal, we’d like you to refrain from participating in communion with us unless you yourself have turned from your sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior.
But we invite you to do more than simply watch. As I share the meaning of this simple meal in a few moments, I encourage you to consider what’s taking place, and pray that the next time you find yourself in this situation you’d be among those who have recognized your need for a Savior and God’s provision in Jesus Christ.
Paul addresses how we’re to celebrate communion in the 11th chapter of 1 Corinthians. He says:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1Cor. 11:23-26)
As we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the death of our Lord.
To proclaim is to make a public announcement, to declare to others what we consider important. Even though we don’t think of communion as a loud or noisy event, we are still proclaiming truth – quietly, confidently, and joyfully – to God, to each other, and to the world.
In the Lord’s Supper, we are momentarily silencing the voices of our culture that cry out for our attention and allegiance, and proclaiming that something is much more important – the death of Jesus Christ. And what are we proclaiming about his death? Peter says it this way in 1 Peter 2:24:
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
This passage tells us we are saying three things about the sacrifice of our Savior. We are proclaiming the purpose of Jesus’ death. Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree. He received the entire punishment we deserved for the sins we’ve committed, so that we no longer live under the righteous judgment of God. We will never be condemned.
We also proclaim our participation in his death. He died so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. We don’t come to communion to acknowledge that our sins are forgiven simply so that we might do whatever we please. We are proclaiming that we’ve forsaken the pleasures of sin, and find our joy in loving and obeying God.
Finally, we are proclaiming the power of Jesus’ death. By his wounds we have been healed. We are not proclaiming a theory, wishful thoughts, or a what we hope is true. We are proclaiming a fact. Jesus has actually reconciled us to our God the Father through the New Covenant secured with his blood. And when he comes again we will spend eternity with God enjoying pleasures at his right hand forevermore. What a Gospel!
And this is what we proclaim as we take this bread, and drink this cup together. So let’s do it with faith, joy, and gratefulness for all that Jesus has accomplished in his death on our behalf. Let’s pray.
Father we thank you for these simple tokens of a not-so-simple forgiveness. A forgiveness that required the death of your precious Son in our place. A forgiveness that required his perfect life which is now credited to our account. He died so that we might live. Thank you again for your steadfast love that never ceases, and your mercies that never come to an end.
May our lives loudly proclaim all that Christ accomplished through his death not only when we share communion on Sundays, but every day of the week.