In my family, Christmas is a great season of celebration. We love it so much that we typically decorate our house as soon as the weekend after Halloween! And on Christmas Day, we enjoy eating a birthday cake together to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is a wonderful day because we show our selfless love for each other through gift-giving. Isn’t it interesting, though, that nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to remember the Lord’s birthday (though it is not wrong to do so), but we are commanded to remember and proclaim his death day?
- What is your attitude toward memorializing Jesus’s death day?
- How do you usually approach Communion?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-34 (ESV)
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also he took the cup, 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 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 27-34.)
- What is the result for those who eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner (vss. 27, 29)?
- What did Paul ask believers to do in order to eat and drink the cup in a worthy manner (vs. 28)? How might a person do this?
- What are the alternatives to this self-evaluation (vs. 32)?
- How did Paul imply that the believers in Corinth were selfish and self-serving (vss. 33-34)?
- If “discerning the body” (vs. 29) also implies a perceptive, selfless consideration for believers in your church body, then what are some ways modern Christians fail to do this? What can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul reprimanded the Corinthian believers’ thoughtless participation in Communion by warning of God’s judgment. He reminds us that the Lord’s Supper is about more than personal introspection. It is also about the well-being of the church, because in his death, Jesus Christ laid the foundation for a new community of believers who bear his name. Believers who are selfless, perceptive to others’ needs, forgiving, and sensitive to the poor and to latecomers. The Lord’s Supper leads us to remember Jesus’ death for us, as well as to reflect on our relationship with one another as fellow Christians.
- Prayerfully invite the Holy Spirit to examine your heart, as at Communion, and to filter out what you need to clear up with God, and with other believers in your church body.