Until Jesus returns
The attacks that took place in New York on September 11, 2001 were rated by most Americans as being the most important historical event in their lifetime. And according to TheRichest.com, the most important historical events that changed the modern world forever are the French Revolution, World War I, the Soviet socialist revolution, World War II, and European colonialism.
Christians believe that the most important event in the world’s history is the death of Jesus Christ. At the Lord’s supper they remember why Christ did what He did.
In 1 Corinthians Paul describes what happened at the last supper where Jesus told His disciples to eat the bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of Him (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Then Paul says,
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26NIV).
“For” shows a reason Christians repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. This is new revelation beyond the Gospels. The reason is to “proclaim the Lord’s death”. The Greek verb “kataggello” (Strongs #2605) means to proclaim, announce, or declare. Paul used the same verb to describe preaching the good news (gospel) about Jesus Christ (1 Cor .2:1; 9:14). It’s in the present active indicative showing that the declaring is an ongoing process. It’s a proclamation of a physical death that provides forgiveness. It took the physical death of the body of Christ to save their souls. Participation in the Lord’s Supper is like a visible sermon where believers proclaim (announce, or declare) the Lord’s death to one another.
“Whenever” shows that believers are to repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. The Greek adverb “hosakis” (Strongs #3740) means as often as, as many times as or whenever. It seems clear from Paul’s visit to Troas in Acts 20:7 that the practice of the early church was to meet on the first day of the week to remember the Lord. But this was not just for the early church as the church is said to do it until Jesus Christ returns. That’s why believers often do it each Sunday morning. It’s a good way to start the week.
“You eat this bread and drink this cup”, describes the two visual aids used in the Lord’s Supper to “proclaim the Lord’s death”. The bread symbolizes His body and the cup of wine symbolizes His blood (death). The bread represents the person of Christ, and the blood the work of Christ.
“Until He comes” says how long believers are to repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. The Lord’s Supper is more than a memorial celebration of Christ’s body and blood (death); it’s an anticipation of seeing Him again. They are to do it until He comes again to take them to heaven. This resurrection and transformation of believers could occur at any moment. Are you ready for it? In the meantime they repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis and wait for Christ’s return.
Our calendars are dated according to Christ’s birth, which we remember at Christmas. But His birth was the necessary precursor to His death, which believers remember at the Lord’s Supper.
When believers take the bread and wine they are declaring the importance of Christ’s death. It’s important because God saves people only by means of Christ’s death (1 Cor. 1:18). They are proclaiming that Christ’s sacrificial death provides forgiveness and peace with God. They recall His suffering and death and the blessings and benefits which come from His death and resurrection. And they offer thanks and praise for all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ.
That’s the best way to remember the most important event in the world’s history.
Written, October 2019