For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which 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 He took the cup also 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.
We have seen how envy leads to division. The Lord’s Supper should lead us to unity. There were many points of division in the Corinthian church, and their practice of the Lord’s Supper was particularly disturbing to Paul. It seems that the wealthier members of the church ate and drank first, taking everything and leaving the poor without the Lord’s Supper and hungry. Because real love involves the whole family of God, Paul would not allow such division to continue, despite the fact that God was using it to reveal the spiritual quality of those in the congregation.
Jesus’ expression, “this is My body,” has been widely interpreted throughout church history. Most Protestants take the phrase to mean that Jesus is present symbolically, though likely present spiritually with the believer as well. The body and blood point to the reality that the Lord’s Supper is a meal meant to remind us of all that Jesus has done for us. The gospel is the ultimate cure for our envy, and we are reminded of our need for Jesus in taking the Lord’s Supper.
Given that the nature of Jesus’ death was gracious and sacrificial, the behavior of the Corinthians during the Lord’s Supper should have been the same. The practice of prayer and repentance prior to the supper would encourage humility and service in the church, rather than arrogance and division.
- How does the Lord’s Supper unite us?
- See 1 Corinthians 11:28. Why is it important to confess our envy and sinful attitudes before taking the Lord’s Supper?
- Praise God for tangible reminders of His grace.