Proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
1 Corinthians 11:17-34 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. 20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.
In today’s text it says: For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. To proclaim the Lord’s death is not morbid. It is not that we celebrate or glorify the pain and anguish of the cross. Rather to proclaim the Lord’s death is to proclaim God’s love. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God’s love for the world was not just that Jesus came to live as an example of how we should live, but that He came to die. Romans 5:8 says: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. So when we proclaim the Lord’s death, we proclaim the demonstration of the love of God. Along with proclaiming the love of God, demonstrated in Jesus death, we are also to remember Jesus. Again though, it is more than remembering that He lived. We are to remember the new covenant He established, that He died to forgive our sins, once for all. We should remember what it says in Matthew 27:50-51, when Jesus was on the cross: Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split. The cross was a cruel instrument of death, but what we remember, is that through the cross we are reconciled to God. The veil of the temple was torn. There was and is no longer a barrier between man and God caused by sin. Hebrews 4:16 says that remembering Christ and the covenant He established, we can : come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Because we have access to God at the throne of grace, we have access to the realities of the kingdom of heaven. We have access to the help we need for every situation and circumstance we face on earth.
The text continues saying: Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. Whether we remember the body and the blood of Jesus daily, weekly or occasionally is not as important as that we do it rightly. I have been in fellowships where people refrained from participating in communion because of disagreements with others, because of unresolved offenses. Paul says: a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. If when we examine ourselves, there is unresolved offense, we need to resolve it. To choose not to participate in communion because of offense, is to choose to hold onto offense rather than remember Jesus. It is judging others rather than examining ourselves. The answer is not to abstain from remembering Christ and proclaiming God’s love demonstrated in His death, but simply to forgive. We can’t avoid judgment by choosing to judge others. We escape judgment by remembering Christ, proclaiming His death and the love of God. We escape judgment by boldly coming into the presence of God at the throne of grace.
Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul says: many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. The choice really is simple. We can choose to remember sin or we can choose to remember Christ. We can choose life to our bodies or death. If we will remember Christ and proclaim His death, the demonstration of God’s love we will ourselves be reconciled to God and receive the mercy and grace for our needs in the presence of God.
Jesus taught us to pray saying: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (Thank You that I am reconciled to You and have full access to all I need by Your mercy and grace) ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.(As I live in Your grace and mercy, may I not only experience it at the throne of grace, but may I appropriate all the promises and realities of the kingdom of heaven for every earthly circumstance) ‘Give us this day our daily bread. (Your word says Your mercies are new every morning. Give me the grace I need today, for what I will face today) ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (I choose forgiveness over offense.) ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ May I remember Christ and proclaim His death, the demonstration of the love of God, today and every day. Amen.