The Unity of the Lord’s Supper


We kneel at the foot of the cross of Jesus where we are on level ground.  No one better than the other. All saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone.  The Lord’s Supper – Communion – is a picture of what Jesus did to unify us under the bond of peace…

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4:1-6

18 I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 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.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1Corinthians 11:18, 23-26

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper.   It was with his disciples on the night he was betrayed and arrested that he took bread and wine and said, “This is my body, which is for you” and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.”  We celebrate this meal together often, keeping the words of Paul in 1Corinthians 11.  We proclaim the Lord Jesus’ death until he comes.

Ephesians chapter 4 speaks of the unity we share and the importance of maintaining our unity through the bond of peace.  Jesus created the bond of peace.  Jesus is our shalom together.  We know from Ephesians 2 that Jesus broke down the dividing wall of hostility between all people groups.

We are brought together under one Lord, Jesus, in whom we share one unified faith, in whose death we identify through one baptism.  We die to ourselves and we die to sin as we identify with Jesus’ death in the waters of baptism.  We rise out of the water as Jesus’ rose, and we are committed to living lives worthy of the resurrection life of Jesus.

The communion table represents the celebration of Jesus’ singular work to make all of this possible.  We do not add to it or doing anything ourselves to make it possible.  Only through the one Lord, Jesus, can we have unity, be free from sin, and have hope of eternity.  And we now have one Spirit, who unifies us in God.

And so it is sad and shameful to see in 1Corinthians 11 that when the early church came together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, that there were divisions among them.  Paul writes, “I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you.”  These divisions were not reflective of Jesus’ bond of peace.  They were not reflective or worthy of our calling.  Not humble.  Not gentle.

When Paul speaks of eating the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, we can see that divisions between us make us unworthy.  Break-downs in the bond of peace make us unworthy.  Unworthy to participate with a clear conscience in this meal which is a reminder and a memorial to the unity of peace Jesus achieved for us at the cross.

We stand, we sit, we kneel at the foot of that cross of Jesus at the place where we are on level ground.  No one better than the other. No one more worthy of God’s love than the other.  All saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus alone.

Therefore we come to the table of Jesus, the one Lord, to share in the elements representing his body and blood.  And we should only come to this table in a unified manner.  If we are divided, we should reconcile first.  If we are not believers in Jesus, we should first consider our need for the Saviour and reconcile with God before participating in the Lord’s Supper.

The table of Jesus is a witness of his work for us, and of our unity in one Lord and one faith…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

 

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