Friday, March 10, 2017
“And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:22-26)
The Passover was celebrated as a memorial of the death angel passing over Israel without killing them when he killed all the firstborn sons of Egypt. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during that memorial, Because Jesus himself would be the Christian Passover, sacrificing his own blood to save them from eternal death. Luke 22:19 tells us the Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated as a memorial to him. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
Under Jewish law the Passover was required to be taken very seriously and celebrated exactly as prescribed to preserve its symbolic meaning. Anyone who partook of the Passover whitout a proper commitment to the Jewish covenant, as demonstrated by circumcision, was to be cut off from the people. I Corinthians 11:24-32 warns of similar punishment for taking the Lord’s supper when one is not qualified. “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”
Jesus said that the bread symbolized his body being sacrificed for those who believe, and the grape juice symboli8zed his blood being shed for our sin. To partake of it undeservingly, without a real commitment to Christ makes a mockery of his sacrifice for us, and demands God’s judgment. Paul said some in the church had died and others were unhealthy because they did not take their commitment to Christ seriously.