The Mystery of Bread and wine
1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (NIV)
Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself.
This verse is misunderstood by some. They think that to partake of the Lord's Supper unworthily means that you must be worthy to partake. If not, they think, some terrible thing will happen to you. That is not what this verse says. Paul was just speaking to the Corinthians about treating the Lord's supper as if it were some feast to get drunk at. It is this dishonoring of the ordinance by supposed Christians that is shameful and sinful. He says don't partake in an unworthy manner. Jesus said for us to "do this in remembrance of me." The Lord's supper is a way to remember, sort of like a picture. They did not have photographs back then so this was an acting out of what it means to identify with Jesus death and to appropriate his body and blood into ourselves.
Paul says a man ought to examine himself. Such a ceremony is to be a solemn occasion to reflect why it is that Jesus had to die...for our sins...for my sin. How could you knowingly harbor unconfessed, unrepented of sin when reflecting upon and claiming Jesus Christ as Savior.
How do we recognize the body of the Lord? Next time you are around a group of believers, just look around. See the unity, the fellowship, the love for one another, the body of Christ. Paul was highly critical of the disunity of the Corinthian Church. The body of Christ is not a dismembered body.
Is the Lord's supper mystical? Oh yes, quite. It pictures a deeply profound act of love from a sovereign God which is at the same time both just and merciful. The miracle of Christ in us is the key to our righteousness in Him.
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