Q.77. Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?
A. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper: “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.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Paul repeats this promise in these words: “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? Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.”
Though the words nourish and refresh are never used in the word to explicitly describe the Lord’s Supper, the idea that faith can well up in a person and provide thirst quenching satisfaction is present. Read John 4:1-14. Faith is a nourishing and refreshing thin for our soul and mind in that it frees us from the anxiety of performance. Rejoice that faith is so tangible.
Why do the gospel writers and Paul all record that the meal occurred on the ‘night he was betrayed’? This allusion informs us that the final meal was the Passover meal and that as the lamb was sacrificed for the assurance of life, so Christ assuredly chose this meal to declare that his very life was being given that we might live. Read Matthew 20:28.
Why was the bread broken? The allusion has two parts. In breaking the bread and declaring it his body, Jesus made a statement about the reality of death and the separation his body and soul were going to undergo: His body would be in the grave and his soul would suffer God’s wrath for sin. But the breaking of the bread also pictures the reality that Jesus body belongs to many and all who look to him are part of his one body. Read 1 Corinthians 10:16-17.
What does remembering involve? When we remember an event in history, frequently we are less concerned with recalling the details of the event and more interested in experiencing the emotions and benefits that event bestowed upon us. That is why when you sit around looking at old picture albums, people laugh. The event is a catalyst for recalling the benefits of earlier times that have shaped your life. Such was Jesus’ intention. He wanted the disciples to reflect on all the benefits his death and resurrection assured for them in life and to celebrate those publicly. Read 1Corinthians 15:17.
Intimately wedded to the Lord’s Supper is the proclamation that Christ is coming again. The Supper has become far to solemn a meal in many churches, when in fact the final statement ‘until he comes’ is a victorious celebration that death is defeated, sin abolished and the reign of God assured. These should be things worth celebrating joyfully. Read 1Thessalonians 4:16-18.
Truly all of these realities – the abolition of sacrificial offerings, complete forgiveness, unity with Christ, a reflection on all the spiritual benefits of salvation and the promise that Christ is coming again are enough to nourish and refresh the weary soul for a lifetime. Let us never get tired of allowing our minds to be renewed by these wonders. Read 2Corinthians 4:16.