Route 18 - The Lord's Supper - Matthew 26:17-19, 26-29
Observance of the Lord's Supper is a common practice among people who believe in Jesus Christ. It is seen as a
solemn, significant event, yet questions arise about its observance. Why and by who was it instituted? Who should
partake of it, and when? What does it accomplish? In this study, we will look at the answers to these questions, so
that we may receive one of man's highest blessings, and avoid the greatest of condemnations.
Church of Christ
Locks Cross Roads
Institution of the Lord's Supper
18 - Matthew 26:17-19, 26-29
- With the time of Jesus' death approaching, He observed the Jewish feast called "Passover" (see Exodus 12) with
- A memorial is something intended to celebrate or honor the memory of a person or an event.
- With what two elements of the feast did Jesus establish His own memorial supper, giving them new significance?
- The bread became a memorial or reminder of Christ's sacrificed body.
- The fruit of the vine (grape juice) became a memorial or reminder of His blood that was shed for our sins.
- The emblems are accessible, found nearly anywhere on earth where there are people.
- Who is to partake of the Lord's Supper? Those in Christ's kingdom. Those who have become a part of the
church for which He died. See Ephesians 5:25-27 and Romans 6:3.
- Partaking of the Lord's Supper was a command from the Lord for the members of His church.
18 - Luke 22:17-20
- Why did the Lord say His disciples should partake of His supper (Luke 22:19)? To remember Christ's death.
- Man's inclination is to forget things. Thus we have pictures and tombstones, diaries and record books.
- 1st Corinthians 15:1-4
- The Lord's Supper is a constant reminder of the sacrifice made by Christ on our behalf
- This memory stirs the Christian to humble gratitude.
- For this reason, God has provided this memorial "lest we forget."
- Partaking of the Lord's Supper was a command from the Lord.
18 - 1st Corinthians 10:16-17
- Communion is from a Greek word (koinonia) which means "participating or sharing in benefits of."
- It is a two-fold communion
- Partaking of the Lord's Supper brings us to a realization of our union with Christ.
- In eating it, we also show we are united with one another. We are one body, and mutual sharers of his grace.
18 - 1st Corinthians 11:23-25
- Why are we to partake of the Lord's Supper? To remember Him and proclaim His sacrifice for us
- Romans 5:8 - What did Jesus Christ do? He died for our sins.
- Acts 1:9-11 - What will He do? He will come again.
- Partaking of the Lord's Supper was a command from the Lord.
New Testament Example
18 - Acts 2:42
- The Lord had commanded that His followers observe the memorial supper He instituted before His death.
- What scriptural example do we have in this passage? Saved, baptized believers partook of it.
- Early church continued in breaking of bread (metonymy : a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of
one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as "crown" in "lands belonging
to the crown" - Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary) with bread representing both elements of the Lord's Supper.
- They came together to break bread in the worship service.
Errors Regarding The Lord's Supper
18 - Mark 14:22-25
- The Roman Catholic Church teaches that at the time the elements of the Lord's Supper are taken, they
become the literal body and blood of the Lord.
- Yet, Jesus was alive when the Lord's Supper was instituted and His disciples partook of it. How could the bread
and fruit of the vine turn into His crucified body and shed blood when He was still alive?
- Jesus used figurative language here regarding His body and His blood (see John 10:9-11 and John 15:5 - "I am
the door. . . I am the good shepherd . . . I am the vine.")
- What were the Christians eating and drinking in 1st Corinthians 11:23-34?
- In Matthew 26:27-29, after Jesus gave thanks for the cup, referred to it as "my blood," and it was a memorial of
his blood, what did He still refer to it as? "Fruit of the vine."
18 - Luke 22:17-20
- Some argue that the fruit of the vine must be served to the assembly in only one vessel. They teach that it takes
both the container and the contents to equal "the cup of the Lord."
- In Luke 22:17, the apostles were instructed to divide the cup among themselves. Are they to break the
container into pieces, or does the word "cup" stand for its contents?
- Some contend that "divide" means "drink." If this is true, then taking the order in which things occurred in this
- They each sat with a mouth full of grape juice until AFTER they ate the bread . . . which is impossible.
- They drank the cup twice and ate the bread once . . . which would be unscriptural according to the other
- They divided that which they were to drink into their own individual containers before they ate the bread,
and after they ate the bread they drank the cup . . which is stated by the text and the only logical way of
the three alternatives.
- Is it the vessel that is significant in observing the Lord's Supper or the content of the vessel, the fruit of the
vine, that represents His blood? Since the fruit of the vine is a liquid, it must be held in a container, but it is
the contents that represent the blood of our Lord.
Frequency of Observance
18 - Acts 20:7
- Men teach that the Lord's Supper may be observed annually, semiannually, quarterly, on various week-days and
at various occasions (weddings).
- On the first day of which week did the disciples partake of the Lord's Supper? Scripture does not say.
- Exodus 20:8
- Which Sabbath of which week were the Israelites to observe? Scripture does not say, but they
understood that, since every week has a Sabbath, and they were commanded to "Remember the
Sabbath day," they were to remember EVERY Sabbath day.
- 1st Corinthians 16:1-2
- Which first day of the week were the Corinthians to lay something aside for the needy saints? Scripture
does not say, but since every week has a first day, they would make a collection on the first day of
- Thus, since every week has a first day, Christians came together to break bread EVERY first day.
Abuse of the Lord's Supper
18 - 1st Corinthians 11:17-22, 27-29
- The Lord's supper is not a common meal. It is set apart as a memorial to Christ.
- The church at Corinth was coming together and defiling the Lord's Supper by making it a common meal.
- Paul rebuked them and told them to take their common meals at home.
- The church at Corinth assembled to observe the Lord's Supper.
- The most popular meaning given for 1st Corinthians 11:27-29 is: "A man who has sin in his life is one who is
unworthy to partake of the Lord's Supper." Is this what the passage means?
- Evidently, the Corinthian saints had forgotten the purpose and meaning of the Lord's Supper. They were
making a proud, envious selfish picnic out of it.
- Their minds were on other things than the remembrance of the suffering, bleeding Savior dying on the cross.
- It was not THEM that was unworthy, but their MANNER of partaking. They did not "proclaim the Lord's death
until He comes."
- We must examine ourselves to be sure that we not only partake of Christ's memorial, but that our motives are
right, and our minds are attentive to the significance of the Supper He instituted.
Failure to Attend
18 - Hebrews 10:25
- Our participation in this proclamation of His death and return is one of the reasons we should not forsake the
assembling of the saints.
- 1st Corinthians 11:30
- If improper observance indicates one is weak and sick and dead, what does NO observance indicate?
The Lord's Supper, instituted by Him on the night He was betrayed, was designed by Him that we might commune
with Him and with other believers. It is a reminder of His sacrifice, and of our need for a Redeemer, affording us the
opportunity to proclaim His death until He comes again. We partake of it by the authority of command, example, and
necessary implication, in the assembly of the saints on the first day of every week.