WERE YOU THERE…?
Mighty God, you are immortal, invisible, and “God only wise”. I acknowledge your greatness and give you my praise.
Read 1 CORINTHIANS 10:14-22
Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper
14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.
18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19 Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22 Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
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.
Reflect‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord? … sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.’* If you know this song, sing it now (no one will hear!), and pray for a fuller grasp of what Jesus’ death means.
The Corinthian church is fragmenting, and Paul calls them to unity in Christ. The central act of their life together is to be the shared meal to remember and participate in the benefits of Jesus’ death, the Lord’s supper (vs 15-17). The thanksgiving cup and the one loaf that they share symbolize and enact their unity (v 17), which Paul will later call being ‘the body of Christ’ (12:27). In this meal they find unity, for as they worship together at the foot of the cross, they are all sinners, all brought to participate with God and each other by God’s forgiving love (see 11:26).
For some of the Corinthian believers, life in Corinth would have involved meals in idol temples (8:4). However, loyalty to Christ must be exclusive – they cannot join in the Lord’s supper one day and participate in worship of idols the next (v 21). Paul calls them to run away from any kind of idolatry (v 14), taking the way out that God promises (v 13). They must not confuse the Lord’s supper with pagan banquets (vs 20,21). How does our own participation in the Lord’s supper today strengthen us in maintaining loyalty to Christ?
How can/does God deepen your understanding and participation in the benefits of Jesus’ death, which the bread and wine of Communion symbolize?
These are the gifts of God for the people of God. I thank you Lord Jesus for the bread broken and the wine poured, Christ’s body and blood given for me.
*’Were You There,’ African American spiritual
Book and Author Intros
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