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Have you ever considered that the commandment to come to the Lord’s Table comes with a death threat? Yet this is what we read very clearly in Paul’s instructions about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23–25. First, Paul gives the words of institution:
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.”
Notice that Jesus commands both what the disciples should do and how they should do it: “Do this in remembrance of me.” For Christians, the Lord’s Supper is not optional. They are called to do this. Therefore, we should make it a priority to be there when our church celebrates the Lord’s Supper. As with all commandments, the instruction to “do this” is for our good. The Lord’s Supper should remind us of what Jesus has done for us as His body was offered up and His blood was shed for our sin. Remembering this will strengthen our faith. And coming together as a church to celebrate the Lord’s Supper should strengthen the unity of the church and should be a corporate witness of our discipleship just as the world observes our love for one another.
And yet even though the Lord’s Supper was given for the benefit of those who truly believe, it comes with a very serious threat of death for those who come to it presumptuously or unrepentantly. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:27–30:
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
The manner in which we come to the Lord’s Table can have serious consequences. The Corinthians had ignored this. They came with a selfish attitude that in no way displayed what the Lord’s Supper was supposed to signify.
Brothers and sisters, let us heed the death threat and come to the Table in grateful recognition of the body and blood of the Lord that was offered up for our sins, and let us come as brothers and sisters who know that “we who are many are one body” (1 Cor. 10:17), showing that we are Christ’s disciples by the love that we have for one another.