1 Corinthians 11:23-29 — Communion with Christ and each other

This is a passage that people often hear during communion.  Paul writes,

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 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.”  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.” 

It can be easy for us to take communion mindlessly, to treat it as a simple religious ritual.  And for the Corinthians, that’s exactly what they did, leading them to defile the communion table by how they treated the poor among them.

But Jesus said, “When you do this, when you take the bread and drink the wine, remember me.  Remember that I gave up everything for you.  Remember that I poured out my blood so that your sins could be covered and we could be reconciled.”

As we remember what he did for us, though, we need to remember that he also died for our brothers and sisters as well.  That they are precious in his sight too.

So then, communion should be a time that not only brings us closer to Jesus, but closer to each other as well.  And while we should remember that Christ died to reconcile us to God, we should also remember that Jesus died to bring us reconciliation with one another, that we should be all one.

Paul wrote in Ephesians,

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.  (Ephesians 2:14)

Now to be clear, Paul was talking about the barrier between Jew and Gentile, the barrier being the law of Moses and all its requirements.  But the principle still stands, there should be no division between any Christian, whether it’s because of race, social status, or whatever.

Paul goes on to say,

His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  (Ephesians 2:15-16)

Again, Paul’s point is that whether Jew or Gentile, all now come to God through the cross, not the law.  And because of that there, should be no division between Jew and Gentile.  But it is no stretch to say that Christ not only died so that Jews and Gentiles would be one, but that all believers would be one.

For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.  (Ephesians 2:18-19)

None of us should be considered outsiders in the church of Christ.  Whether Jew or Gentile, as Paul is primarily saying here, whether rich or poor, whether high in social status or low, Christ died that we might be one with God, and with each other.

Part of our remembering Christ during communion is remembering this one crucial truth.

Do you?  When you take communion, are you only thinking about your relationship with God?  Or are you thinking about your relationship with others?  As you take communion, how is your relationship with your brothers and sisters in the church?  Not just in the local congregation you attend, but with all the brothers and sisters you are in contact with?

I’m not just talking about discrimination.  I’m asking if your relationships are right with the Christians around you?  Or are you holding hurts or bitterness towards anyone?  If so, you need to get it right.  To not do so, and then to take communion would be to eat and drink judgment on yourself (I Corinthians 11:27-29).

How about you?  Are you one, not only with Christ, but with your brothers and sisters as well?

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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