There are only two observances Jesus told His disciples to practice in obedience and honor to Him: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Paul received instruction of the Lord’s Supper directly from Jesus during His post-resurrection appearances. Paul wrote, “I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you” (1 Cor 11:23).
As His last meal with His disciples began, Jesus “took bread and gave thanks” for the meal to come; then He made a statement: “This is my body which is for you.” At the conclusion of this meal (1 Cor. 11:25), He took a cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
The meanings of these words vary by major Christian traditions, but the Bible does not teach a mystical view (that Christ is somehow mystically present in the elements) or a magical view (that Christ is physically present in the elements).
The command is the key to this passage: the churches are to “be continually doing this [action] in remembrance of Me” (i.e., to regularly or habitually be remembering the body and blood of Jesus given in sacrifice for the redemption of all sinful people). Could we forget what He did for us on the cross? The answer apparently is yes. We need to be reminded.
The Lord promised a new covenant to Israel in Jeremiah 31:33NET: “I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts and minds. I will be their God and they will be my people.” Jesus now opens this covenant to all who put their faith and trust exclusively in His death and the shedding of His blood for the cleansing of their sin. Jesus’s sacrifice of a once-and-for-all payment for sins demands a perpetual refreshing in our minds (Heb 9:23–28).
The sign of this new covenant is that He will put His commands in our hearts; thus the delight of the redeemed is to know and do His will, which includes the perpetual, habitual practice of remembering His death in His body and the shedding of His blood for sin’s payment. Does meditation on the cross still break your heart that God had to go to such extremes just so He could forgive your sins?
“As I focus on Your cross and what it took for You to pay for my sins, I feel so unworthy and increasingly committed to not hurt You or Your precious church body that You purchased with Your blood.”
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