1. Proclamation (1 Corinthians 11:26)
1 Corinthians 11:26, “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” “This is my body” means: By this representation of my broken body you proclaim my death for sinners until I come. You proclaim the gospel. The bread and cup proclaim the saving death AND resurrection of Christ (because “until he comes” implies the resurrection). (We will see next week how the triumph of the resurrection is implicit in the Lord’s Supper.)
2. Remembrance (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25)
1 Corinthians 11:24 and 25, “Do this in remembrance of me.” “This is my body” means: Let this representation of my body and blood remind you of me. First, the death of Christ is proclaimed. And then by this proclamation we are reminded of Christ. Remember me, Jesus says, sitting with you in fellowship. Remember me being betrayed – and knowing all along. Remember me giving thanks to the God who ordained it all. Remember me breaking the bread just as I willingly gave my own body to be broken. Remember me shedding my blood for you so that you might live because I died. Remember me suffering to obtain for you all the blessings of the new covenant. Remember me promising that I would drink this fruit of the vine new in the kingdom (Mark 14:25). Let the memories of me, in all the fullness of my love and power, flood your soul at this table. Which leads to the third and final meaning of the words, “This is my body.”
3. Feast by Faith (John 6:35)
John 6:35, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” “This is my body,” means, as you eat this bread and drink this cup come to me and believe on me. That is, sit with me at table and trust me to be your life-sustaining food and drink. Let the proclamation of my death and remembrance of all that I am for you awaken faith and draw you into deeper communion with me. “This is my body,” and “This is my blood,” mean eat spiritually, that is, eat by faith. That is, feed your soul on all that I am for you. Nourish your heart on all the blessings that I bought for you with my body and blood (see 1 Corinthians 10:16). That is what faith is: faith is a being satisfied in all that God is for us in Christ. Christ has given us the Lord’s Supper to feed us spiritually with himself.
So, even though I think it is dangerously wrong to say that the bread and the blood turn into the physical, incarnate body of Jesus, nevertheless, I am not saying that what happens in the Lord’s Supper is mere, intellectual recall of facts. The supper proclaims. And faith comes by hearing and seeing and tasting that proclamation. And faith is a spiritual feasting on the risen, living Christ so that all that God is for us in him satisfies our soul, and sweetens our love for him, and breaks the power of sin in our lives.
Let’s love the Lord’s Supper together. And let’s love Christ more and more as we meet him there together.