The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16 KJV
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread. 1 Corinthians 11:23 NKJV
The night Jesus was betrayed was the night of the Passover meal. He instituted Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper that same night. Passover celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. The Lord’s Supper celebrates our deliverance from sin and death through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24 NKJV
The bread represents the body of Jesus, which was broken, marred and scourged for us – for our healing and restoration. 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV says, “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed.” We partake of communion as a memorial of what Jesus did for us – we remember and celebrate it on a regular basis.
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25 NKJV
The cup is a symbol of Jesus’ blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. It symbolizes His blood that sealed the New Covenant, which is based upon better promises. The New Covenant does not replace the Old Covenant, but it completes and fulfills it. By eating the bread and drinking the cup, we signify and proclaim that we are remembering Jesus’ death for us, and also renewing our commitment to serve Him.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
1 Corinthians 11:26 NKJV
“As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup…” This means that there is no set schedule for partaking of the Lord’s Supper. You can receive Communion as often as you need to or want to. We remember Christ in the Lord’s Supper by thinking about what He did and why He did it. We look back to His death and at the same time, we look forward to His second coming. If we partake in Communion out of ritual or religion, it loses its significance, but if we remember what He did and look forward to His return, it becomes a powerful point of contact for our faith. Don’t partake of Communion without preparing yourself spiritually. Gratefully remind yourself of what Jesus has done for you and allow the reality of your forgiven sin to inspire you to live passionately for Him like never before.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27 NKJV
We should not partake of Communion irreverently, unworthily, or in an unfit manner. Those who wish to partake should first be born again – a sinner would be unworthy to partake. We should take the Lord’s Supper thoughtfully; we should take it worthily, with due reverence and respect; we should take it with respect toward His body and also toward His Body, the Church; we should prepare our hearts and come humble, submitted and yielded to Him.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 1 Corinthians 11:28 NKJV
Before we partake of Communion, we should examine ourselves for any unconfessed sin or bad attitudes toward Him or others.
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Corinthians 11:29 NKJV
The Lord’s Supper is not a normal meal. If you do not treat it with the respect it deserves, you invite judgment on yourself. In a sense, no one is “worthy” to participate, but because of Jesus, we can share in His Supper, knowing that, by His grace, we are forgiven and righteous before Him.
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:30 NKJV
By Jesus’ stripes, we were healed. When you partake of the Lord’s Supper with respect to what it represents, by faith you receive His life, His strength and His healing power. If you do not believe that His broken body represents your healing, then you will stay sick. It is not a meaningless ritual, but it is a living, powerful celebration.
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:31 NKJV
If we repent of our sin, God will forgive us. God cannot and will not forgive unrepentant sin. When we judge ourselves and ask for forgiveness, our sin is washed away forever. If we do not examine and judge ourselves and repent, then our sin remains and will be judged in eternity.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:32 NKJV
When God deals with us and convicts us of sin, He is disciplining us like a parent disciplines a child – a small pain now to avoid a bigger pain later.
Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
1 Corinthians 11:33-34 NKJV
Partake of the Lord’s Supper out of consideration for others. It is not time for a dinner party. The Corinthians were turning the Lord’s Supper into a carnal feast – the wealthier ones eating their fine food in front of the poorer ones, who did not have as much to eat.
Paul admonished them, “If you are hungry, eat at home!” The Lord’s Supper is not an occasion to feast, but an opportunity to remember Christ’s sacrifice.
As you receive Communion, celebrate what He already did and celebrate that He is coming again very soon!