For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord Himself. On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then He broke it in pieces and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me.” In the same way, He took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His people—an agreement confirmed with My blood. Do this to remember Me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until He comes again.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
I have been doing what I have told you to do and ended seeing this passage in an entirely new way. Paul is seeking to address the wrong way the Corinthians were practising Communion. When I looked at this passage in that context I began to see some things I have not noticed before. This is happened this morning and so I had to re-write what I had written before. Paul makes some statements in this passage that indicate he may well be addressing the issue of their practise of communion rather than instituting the ordinance. He takes time to tell them this doesn’t come from him, Paul. He received it from the Lord. When did he receive it? Is it something that has come to him after he heard of the way the Corinthians were practising communion? Or is it something he got from the Lord some time ago? If that is the case when did that happen? Was it in the midst of the blinding revelation on the Damascus Road as some think? I am sure there was a lot to download then. After all he was blind for some days afterward. Time to ponder on many things. As I told people on Sunday when I preached, some times God can fill your spirit with inspiration in a nano-second which then requires unpacking for a long time afterward.
Or did he receive this when he was caught up to the third heaven and heard things unspeakable and unutterable? Well you do some thinking about it and decide for yourself. It is clear that Paul is stating his source clearly. This is not from me, Paul. This I received from the Lord himself. Generally or then again more specifically for you Corinthians to address what you are doing. On the night He was betrayed he took bread and broke it and gave to each of the disciples. Did you get that? Gave to EACH of the disciples. It is like John said in John 13:4-5 “So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him.” Washed the disciples feet’! – “the disciples” included Judas. Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and broke it and gave it to JUDAS as well.
Is this a message for both Corinthians and those poor who have been neglected and now have hard feelings and divisions among them? If the Lord can do that for Judas, ON THE NIGHT HE WAS BETRAYED, then what about you poor who feel you have been shamed? And what about you Corinthians who are so tied up in your divisions and factionalism that you have lost sight of the purpose of Communion? He goes on in the following passage talking still about their abuse of Communion. [11:27-34]. It is clear this is upper most in his mind. Put there by God? My body was broken for you. This cup represents a new covenant, the covenant to love one another. Go do it. The cup reminds us of the sacrifice for the sake of the vow of the covenant. More about that tomorrow in a more traditional sense.
Paul says to them I passed on to you what I received from the Lord. Effectively Paul says “People, these are not my own thoughts about communion. I got this from God and passed it on to you. I remind you of the things you need to know.” This is not the way to practise communion people, you are abusing the practice. In order to effectively stop the wrong practice among them and bring them to a proper observation of the Lord’s Supper, he states distinctly its purpose. They supposed it might be a common festival. They had made it the occasion of great disorder and abuse of others. He doesn’t berate them for what they are doing but he reminds them all participated in taking the bread and the wine. As they do this they are to remember the Lord until He comes. If you remember the Lord you remember all He taught as well. Love one another as yourselves. Be prepared to die as an expression of your love for one another. Paul’s purpose is to show the unworthiness of what they are doing in the light of the dignity of the Holy Communion. The “I” is emphatic in the Greek. It is not my own invention, but the Lord’s institution. What we receive from the Lord ALL receive.
If you find the perfect church don’t join it; you’ll only spoil it.Ian Vail
Don’t say, ‘I wish they would do something about this problem.’ You are part of they – do something!Bob Gass
The church is not perfect. If you see a flaw, help to fix it – SERVE!Ian Vail