Proclaiming Christ’s Death
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26).
Following our service this past Sunday Pastor Andrew led us in commemoration of the Lord’s Supper. He was eager to share with us a deeper insight into the above verse.
Why do Christians do this thing anyway? To “commemorate” as Merriam Webster defines is “to call to remembrance, to mark by ceremony or observation, or serve as a memorial.” All of these definitions describe a looking back at something… a bringing back to remembrance.
But to the believer this “remembrance” ought also to spark a looking forward. The whole act is symbolic of something much deeper…. something most personal.
Just as our physical bodies need food and drink for sustenance, Jesus here reminds us that our spiritual selves require fundamental nourishment. Spiritual survival depends upon our drawing from Christ as our most fundamental fuel. Just as physical food and drink becomes us as it repairs and builds our physical tissues and empowers us as calories burn and are transformed into energy, so also the Christian soul is healed and transformed to further Christlikeness — empowered by Holy Spirit unction, insight, compassion or giftedness. As nourishment by food and drink = physical life, so nourishment by Christ = spiritual life.
This spiritual transformation, healing and growth becomes a testimony to the world of the power of the resurrected Christ. Like Pharaoh’s baffled magicians the world cannot reproduce it.
Just as the person who eats healthily, shuns sweets, stays hydrated and exercises appropriately proclaims by his or her good health and countenance the efficacy of healthy eating, so the believer who makes Christ his or her spiritual sustenance proclaims by their character, grace, agapé love and endurance, etc the efficacy of Christ. S/he “proclaims the Lord’s death until He comes.”
Christians ought to remind themselves of this each time they take communion. Indeed it would be wise if believers were mindful of this dependency each time they took food or drink in any context. Paul cited, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). Indeed, Christ Himself replied to His inquiring disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” (John 4:32).