FOCUS ON THE MAIN THING!
Holy One, send me into the world in the power of your Spirit, to live, work, and share the gospel joyfully.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 11:17-34
Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat different sorts of people belong to your church? How well do those different people relate to each other? Is there unity?
As with clothing (vs 2-6), pagan meal practices infected the Corinthian Christians’ meetings. Hosting a meal was about showing off the host’s wealth and power, and underlined social divisions among his guests. Wealthy people gave wealthy friends the best at banquets, and patronized lower-class people who were present by giving them inferior food and drink. This was what the believers were used to, and some were still acting this way (vs 21,22).
But the Christian meal, the Lord’s Supper, is not like that, because at this meal everyone is equal: equally sinful, and equally saved by Jesus’ death. To use the Lord’s Supper to reinforce social divisions was unworthy (v 27) – it was not really the Lord’s Supper (v 20). Those who acted that way failed to recognize the body of believers as Christ’s own (v 29).
Paul’s remedy is to focus on the heart of the supper, proclaiming the Lord’s death while we await his return (v 26). In that way, wealthy Christians will recognize their spiritual poverty and be gladly generous for the sake of Christ, and poorer Christians will recognize their spiritual riches in Christ and be gladly grateful to God (see 2 Corinthians 8:9).
Give thanks for what Christ has achieved through his death, and for the unity that gives his people. In what ways might that unity be better expressed in your church?
Dear Jesus, you are my High Priest. May I always prepare myself to receive the bread and the cup. Thank you for your loving presence with me at the table.
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