The Lord’s Supper – a visible sermon
A toast involves raising a glass and drinking in honor of or to the health (or goodwill) of a person or thing. It shows your appreciation of them or wishes them success. Toasts are generally offered at times of celebration, like wedding receptions or New Year’s Eve. A toast is a custom or habit that is part of our culture.
The Bible tells us that the Lord’s Supper is how we are to remember the death of Jesus Christ. The bread and wine symbolize the death of Christ.
After Paul described the Lord’s Supper, he said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). The word “for” introduces a reason for doing something. So, this is a second reason for repeating the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. The first reason was to remember what Jesus has done for us – it was to be done “in remembrance of me”, as Jesus said.
The second reason to celebrate the Lord’s Supper is to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes”. This was a new revelation given to Paul, as it is not mentioned in the gospels. And as the Lord hasn’t returned to earth yet, we continue to proclaim His death in this way.
To “proclaim” means to advertise, announce, broadcast, declare, herald, preach, promulgate, promote, publicize, or show. Paul used the same Greek word in 1 Corinthians 9:14 to describe those who “preach the gospel”. We might think that the preaching at church is in the sermon. Well, Paul is saying that there is also preaching in the Lord’s Supper.
As the context is believers in the church, the proclamation (or preaching) is to fellow Christians. The person who does the announcing is the believer who partakes of the Lord’s Supper (or Communion). The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation that Christ’s death on our behalf provides forgiveness of our sin. It’s a visual sermon. A visual message. A drama with a lifegiving message.
A toast might proclaim, “for He’s a jolly good fellow”. But believers can proclaim, “He’s risen!”. And so say all of us.
The Lord’s Supper is a custom or habit that is part of the culture of many churches. As we partake of the bread and wine, we are proclaiming the importance of the Lord’s death.
Father, we thank you for sending Jesus as a man and a Savior so He could die for the sins of the world. He went through physical death so we could gain spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a proclamation that Christ’s death on our behalf provides forgiveness of our sin. So, we offer thanks and praise for all that you have done through Jesus. Amen.
Written, March 2022