Seeing Beyond The Symbols: Another Look at the Lord’s Supper

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  • Seeing Beyond The Symbols: Another Look at the Lord’s Supper
  • How do you view the Lord’s Supper? Do you see it as some ritualistic, man-made, and unnecessary tradition? If so, let me encourage you to look again. Look beyond the symbols and see the meaning, beauty, and significance of Communion.

    Look up in worship. The Lord’s Supper is one of the two ordinances of the Christian church, the other being baptism. These ordinances are sacred rituals that the Lord Jesus has commanded us to practice as a matter of faith and worship. The Lord commands us to practice Communion to make an important point about our salvation: God did it all! We have not earned the right to come to the Lord’s Table. We have been graciously invited by God to come because of what he has done for us through Jesus Christ. So come to the Lord’s Table to worship God for adopting us into his family through the agency of the cross of Jesus Christ.

    Look around in fellowship. 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 record Paul’s teaching on the Lord’s Supper. These instructions are actually correctives for abuses of Communion in the church. And Paul’s primary concern was the selfish way the believers were practicing the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is not a “TV dinner” that you enjoy on your own terms. It’s a family reunion, in which God’s redeemed children come together to celebrate the bond that we share in Christ.

    Look within in self-examination. Scripture warns against partaking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. But these warnings are not meant to chase you away from the Lord’s Table. Rather, they exhort you to clean up before you come. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” Communion bids us to examine ourselves, confess our sins, and receive the forgiveness of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 1:9).

    Look back in remembrance. The Lord’s Supper is one of the few things the Lord Jesus commands us to do specifically for him. “Do this,” bids Jesus,” in remembrance of me.” The symbol of the bread is to remind us of the physical agony Jesus endured on the cross. And the symbol of the cup is to remind us of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for our atonement, redemption, and salvation. The Lord commands us to regularly remember him with these symbols because he knows how prone we are to forget. Life has a way of crowding God out and causing us to forge the things that matter the most.

    Look ahead in anticipation. Indeed, we are to look back in remembrance as we partake of the Lord’s Supper. But the Lord’s Table is not merely a memorial to a crucified Savior. It’s also the celebration of our resurrected Lord who will return to rapture the church, consummate the kingdom, and judge the world. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you death this break and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” In fact, he may come again while we are celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Even so, come Lord Jesus!


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.