Terminology – The Lord’s Supper, part 2


At Jesus’ last Supper He gave new meaning to the centuries old tradition of the Passover.  This new meal is referred to in various ways, but the most common are: Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper and the Breaking of Bread.  Today we will look at some of the implications of the title “the Lord’s Supper”.

The title “the Lord’s Supper” appears in 1 Corinthians 11:20:

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.

In this passage the Corinthian church is being corrected because of the disrespectful way in which they celebrated the Lord’s Supper, but we will not be dealing with that in this post.  Our focus today is the implications of the title “the Lord’s Supper”.

Here are some things that came to my mind:

  • Memorial.  It reminds us that this sacrament is a continual memorial of Jesus’ last meal and, as such, His sacrifice for us.  As a memorial, this title lends the meal a sense of solemnity.
  • Passover.  It connects this New Testament sacrament with with the Old Testament Passover meal which Jesus was eating at His last supper.  When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we are joining in on a passover celebration that has existed since the time of Moses, only now we are seeing it in the new light of the life and death of Jesus.
  • Salvation.  The Lord’s Supper, as a continuation of Passover, is a reminder of God’s saving power as seen first in the Exodus but fully revealed in Christ.  In contrast to the memorial aspect of the Lord’s Supper, the fact that it is a celebration of salvation gives the meal a more positive aspect.
  • Fellowship.  This will become more of a focus with some of the other terms (Breaking of Bread and Communion), but the fact that it is called a meal reminds us that God has called us, like His disciples, to have a personal, gather-around-the-table type of relationship with Him.
  • Moods.  As we take the bread and cup we have multiple possible moods – celebration for salvation, solemnity for Jesus’ death, and comfort in a meal with a friend.  It is very difficult for most of us to balance these moods.  Most of us have adopted only one of these as our primary thought and mood.  Next time you take the Lord’s Supper try meditating on one of the other aspects of the Lord’s Supper.

Question:  What does the term “the Lord’s Supper” mean to you?  Please leave a comment.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship.