And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29)
The Lord’s Supper Is Now The Lord’s Snack
On the night of His betrayal, Jesus gathered with the twelve apostles in an upper room to eat the Passover meal. The Passover feast was one of three principal feasts prescribed in the Law of Moses. When God brought the final plague upon the Egyptians, He ordained the Hebrews to kill a lamb or goat and put blood on the doorpost as a sign of faith and obedience. When God saw the blood, He would “pass over” that house and not kill the firstborn of man and beast. While the hand of the Lord stretched throughout the land of Egypt, the Hebrews ate the last meal in Egypt, consisting of unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and the roasted flesh of the sacrificed animal.
Jesus kept the feast of the Passover in preparation of His coming death. He knew He would be betrayed by Judas that night and the next day be crucified. His hour had come. It was the setting of the Passover the Lord chose to institute a memorial to be enacted in the New Testament church as a memorial of the death, burial, resurrection, and return of God’s Son. After the ascension of Jesus to the Father, the early disciples followed the pattern of divine authority as the church continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. The breaking of bread was the memorial feast of the Lord’s Supper.
The church at Corinth faced a mountain of problems, including a proper view of the memorial feast instituted by Christ. Paul addressed the carnality of the Corinthians as they abused the supper of Christ as a common meal instead of the sacred fellowship in the body and blood of Jesus. The apostle reminded the saints how Jesus took bread and, when He had given thanks, broke it and said it was His body. Jesus took the cup and said it was His blood. The Lord commanded the disciples to take of the bread and fruit of the vine in remembrance of His sacrifice. The Corinthians had come together for the worse and not for the better. They had made the Lord’s Supper into a common feast. In eating, each one took his own supper ahead of others while some went hungry. The Lord’s Supper had turned into a common meal.
Jesus instituted the memorial as a meal. A meal suggests some level of volume. If the Corinthians were taking of the emblems found in many churches today, it would be barely recognized as a snack. Paul would not have had to reprimand the Corinthians for turning the memorial into a carnal meal because there was not enough bread and fruit of the vine to make any significant notice. The pinch of bread or tiny wafers found in prepackaged emblems belie the meaning of taking of the body and blood of Jesus. It may be the Lord’s Supper has become the Lord’s Snack to counter misconceptions the religious world has about the communion but to do so at the cost of understanding the Lord’s Supper as a meal is worth considering. This is not to suggest the amount of bread or juice consumed makes the Supper a greater event. It is possible the memorial has lost sight of its significance to the lives of those who partake because it is barely on the level of a snack.
Truth should not suffer at the hands of error. Reacting to the false notions the world has about the Lord’s Supper should not drive the people of God to diminish the magnitude of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said the bread was His flesh, and the fruit of the vine was His blood. The supper must reflect the knowledge of what Jesus suffered. He commanded the supper be done in remembrance of Him. It may be that many do not feel the pang of guilt because there is nothing in their mouths that make an impact on what Jesus did. For clarification, it is not about the amount or size of what is consumed but let us not go so far afield from the meal that we are satisfied with a nearly microscopic supper. What Jesus did must change my life.