Past, Present, and Future Aspects of the Lord’s Supper

by | Aug 28, 2021

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. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Passover meal before he was to suffer (Lk. 22:15). At the Lord’s Supper, Jesus gave the disciples bread and wine and called upon them to eat the bread and drink the wine in “remembrance” of him (Lk. 22:19-20). The Lord’s Supper allows the disciples to look back to the past sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Paul reminds the church that taking the elements of bread and wine are ways that the church proclaims the “death of the Lord Jesus.” Christ’s sacrifice happened once, and there’s no need for it to be repeated (Heb. 7:27) as his sacrifice was sufficient to pay for all sin.

There is also a present reality of forgiveness that Jesus’ followers experience. Coupled with that is the unity that believers share with God and one another. There is even a future aspect. Paul’s explanation of the Lord’s Supper says that we proclaim Christ’s death until he comes again. There is a sense that Christians are not just looking back at the finished sacrifice or the present reality of salvation and unity, but we are also looking forward to the day when Jesus will return to make all things new.

Because the Lord’s Supper reminds us of the total and complete salvation we experience through Jesus, our church invites all believers to partake in Communion every single week. We not only want to proclaim the gospel, but invite other believers to experience, savor, and proclaim the gospel as the church. Although at times, we are sinful and in need of constant forgiveness, the gospel expresses the unity and salvation that we have in Christ Jesus. Communion tangibly reminds believers that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and all that follow are a reality for anyone for whom Jesus has died. The church needs to be reminded of this reality as often as they gather.

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