THE POWER OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
A Message by Dr. Leslie Quarcoopome
Wednesday 28th March, 2018
I believe a lot of us have participated in the Lord’s Supper for many years, but when it comes to spiritual things, the power is in understanding what you do. If you just do it as a routine without an understanding of the essence and the power thereof, you will not benefit from the power. I believe God, through this message, will enlighten us on the power of the Lord’s Supper.
Now, it is important to us as Christians to understand that everything we do in the house of God must be done with meaning. It is very easy to do things as routine and traditions and customs without understanding the meaning and not benefit from its power. Even in Church while singing and worshiping, if you don’t do it with meaning, you will not benefit from the song. Christianity is not about being religious but about being spiritual. Religiosity is only about following rules and routines, traditions and customs but being spiritual is to do these things with meaning; this also applies to the Lord’s Supper. It is very easy to take the Lord’s Supper without benefitting from it, simply because it is something we do at Church so we also get involved or because we have been confirmed and are allowed to approach the Lord’s table. May God give us understanding into what it truly means so the power begins to flow in our lives, as Solomon said in the book of Proverbs “In all your getting, get understanding”.
Questions to ponder over:
- What is the Lord’s Supper?
- How did it come about?
- What does it mean to take the Lord’s Supper?
- What are the benefits in taking the Lord’s Supper?
- Change of Priesthood
Luke 22:19-20 – “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”
This was the first time we see what we refer to as the Lord’s Supper, and it happened just before Jesus Christ was crucified as He prepared the minds of His disciples towards His departure but He gave them the order to do it even after He was gone. In the Verse 20, He mentioned that His blood is the New Testament Covenant which came with a lot of changes as to how things were done. We already saw in the earlier message that under the New Covenant we can now enter boldly into the thrown room of Jesus which hitherto, was not so. A lot of things that happened prior to His death and afterwards was like a transition from the Old to the New Testament. For instance, from the Old Testament, to be a Priest, one must be in the blood line of Aaron, the Levite. In the New, the Priesthood changed; Christ became the great High Priest. So, just like how Aaron was in those days and his descendants became Priests, Jesus is the great High Priest and everyone born in Him also became a Priest as Paul said in Hebrews 7 that “I have made you kings and priests” implying that every child of God in a way, is a Priest. In the old Covenant, it was the Priest who could go and stand in the gap before God on behalf of the people but because you and I are Priests under the New Covenant, we could also go ourselves and stand in the gap on behalf of our families, brethren and church. Some of the things that happened at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion were symbols of the handing over from the Old to the New type of Priesthood. One of such symbolic things that happened was Caiaphas tearing off his own clothes before Jesus during the time of the interrogation. In the Levitical laws, one thing a Priest was not supposed to do was to tear His clothes; a Priest who did that had virtually laid down his Priesthood, but when Jesus stood in front of Caiaphas, he (Caiaphas) got angry and tore his clothes with the notion that he was just acting in anger but what he didn’t know was the fact that, spiritually, a handing over ceremony was taking place: he was handing over to Jesus as the new High Priest. Another symbol was the curtain at holy of holies tearing into two. Under the New Covenant, once the Priesthood changed, the concept of what the temple was also had the change.
Under the New, the temple changed from something build by the hands of men to the bodies of men. “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” In the same way that the old temple had three compartments; i.e. the outer court, the holy place and the holy of holies, the New Covenant Temple (our body) also has the flesh, the soul and the spirit. The flesh represents the outer court, the soul represents the holy place which is the middle zone and the spirit represents the holy of holies. Just as the Ten Commandments and the Ark of the Covenant which carries the presence of God was in the holy of holies, when we accept Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God comes to dwell inside our spirit which is our innermost part. So, the Priesthood had changed, the temple had changed, and one other thing the Priests did at the time was to offer incense, and that also had to change.
Under the New Covenant, our incense is our prayers and worship. The Bible makes it clear that every morning, there should be incense burning at the altar; hence, as a New Testament Christian, prayer and worship must never depart from your life.
On the day Jesus gave the Lord’s Supper, the fact that He took bread and wine was a symbol to show that He has now become the High Priest.
Genesis 14:18-19 – “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he [was] the priest of the most high God”.
Melchizedek, some people believe was Jesus Christ who visited earth before His time. The above text is the first ever time the word Priest was used, making him (Melchizedek) the first ever Priest in the Bible. He was said to have had no mother and father and all other things used to describe him shows he was a Jesus Christ at the time. His first act that he performed as a Priest was to take bread and wine and give it to Abraham; and Jesus Christ, on the night of His betrayal also took bread and wine and gave it to His disciples as a sign that he is now a Priest. The first significance of the Lord’s Supper as we see here is that, Jesus used it to establish the fact that He has now become the High Priest. So, the Lord’s Supper is used to make statements.
- Declaration of His Death
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 – “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come”.
From the passage, taking the bread and wine is a declaration and an affirmation that indeed Jesus Christ died even without saying it verbally.
Why is it important to proclaim His death?
In our earlier lessons, we have learnt about the benefits of the cross and benefits of the blood which are all benefits of His death so, anytime you proclaim the death of Christ, it is like plugging into any power that is in the death of Christ. It is important also to declare His death because there are a lot of religions that don’t believe He died; some believe He just fainted and came back up. So, in taking the Communion, what you are actually saying is that “I believe that Jesus died and resurrected” and by making such a statement, you plug into every power that is in the death of Christ.
We can liken this power to the electricity from Akosombo Dam; it can do anything we need but before we can benefit from that power, we must plug into it. So, there is a lot of power in His death and resurrection and whenever we go to the Lord’s Table and take the Communion, we are virtually ‘taking the plug and plugging it’ into the benefits of the death and resurrection.
- We Are One in Christ
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 – “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread”.
When we come to the Lord’s Table, we also declare that all of us are one, because if we believe that the bread and the wine that we take is the actual body and blood of Christ, then even though we are all taking various pieces of bread and cups of wine, at the end, it is the same thing we all share. Anybody who believed in Christ and takes of the bread and wine, eats and drinks the same thing that you eat. This is why we must not give room for fights among churches because what we take in here is the body and blood of Christ, same as what the people of other denominations and congregations also take. Once we all commit ourselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and take the same body and blood, there is no point to fight or quarrel among ourselves. What it means is that, if you come to the Table, yet have a very denominational mentality, your actions are contrary to the Communion you are taking. In fact, denominationalism is the creation of man which God decided to just endorse, but that wasn’t God’s original intent for the Church. A look at the New Testament when the church aid had just started, the church was all one in any town you entered. They only met in different places.
Denominationalism came in because, as human beings, we may interpret certain portions of scripture differently and failure to agree on one particular thing, begun to affect the harmony with which they carried the Word of God, and that was how the divisions started. The interesting thing is that, when we all appear in front of the judgment seat on the final day, we won’t be there according to denominations but as individuals which is why we need to tolerate how things are done in other places. The only thing we need to do is to check whether their acts are Biblical or not. The fact that it is different from yours doesn’t make it is wrong. One day the disciples saw someone casting out demons from a man and stopped him saying he wasn’t part of them; they believed they were the only ones on the right path but Jesus rebuked them saying “…whosever is not against us is with us”. From the Text from 1 Corinthians, Paul was saying we are children of God drinking one cup and eating one same bread.
Some members prefer preachers who shout while others like those who talk softly but God created everybody differently. Some may even come and read their sermons line-by-line but full of the power of God. The story is told of a man named Jonathan Edwards who used to write down his sermon and read it slowly and softly without any energy or charisma whatsoever but by the middle of the sermon, there is weeping and conviction of sins among the congregants. It’s not about the style but the anointing of the Holy Spirit behind the words and acts.
Don’t be too quick to condemn and label people as false just because their style is different from yours. The Bible says “By their fruits you shall know them” and not by their methods. If we are to go by the methods, there are certain people even in the Bible that we will condemn.
Jesus saw a blind man one day and instead of laying hands, He did something strange: he spat on the ground and mixed it with sand and applied it on the eyes. Moses also, one time in the desert with the Israelites, were being bitten by snakes and were dying and God gave him an instruction to erect a bronze snake so that whoever looks at the snake will be healed.
Many of us will quickly condemn such acts if we should see a man of God perform same acts or use similar methods today because in our minds, snakes are used in the occult world and represents satan but later Paul said that “As Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so will the Son of Man be lifted high…”. That snake was actually a foreshadow of Jesus on the cross – Jesus was represented by a snake. This is why I don’t believe in stereotype interpretation of dreams because in the Bible, things don’t always represent the same thing. A lion could represent the devil because the Bible says “The devil roars like a lion…”; at the same time a lion can be Jesus because the same Bible calls Him “The lion of Judah”. The point here is that, when we take the Communion, we affirm the fact that, we are all one body in Christ. So, there is no point after eating the Communion, to go criticising other denominations and churches.
Instructions that go with Taking the Lord’s Supper
1 Corinthians 11:23-27 – “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.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, 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.”
3 ways by which you can take the Communion in an Unworthy Manner:
- There are a lot of theoretical debates when it come to eating and drinking in an unworthy manner. One is that, you have wilful and unconfessed sin and taking the Communion. We have studied the power in the blood of Jesus and we saw that the cleansing power in the blood of Jesus is instantaneous; meaning when we sin and confess, immediately, we receive forgiveness but that is not an excuse to abuse the blood of Jesus by intentionally sinning and composing a prayer for forgives for every sin.
People who indulge in those acts may think they are receiving forgiveness but I announce to you today that such sins are not being forgiven. The only thing that activates the forgiving power of Jesus is one thing called REPENTANCE. If there is no repentance, there is no power in the blood to forgive and cleanse you. So, if while praying that prayer of forgiveness, you have decided deep in your heart to do it again when you get the chance, it means you are not praying that prayer with a heart of repentance. Such prayers don’t activate the cleansing power of Jesus. To be forgiven, you must come to a place where you truly want to stop, not because you have been caught.
- We eat in an unworthy manner also when we eat with lack of understanding of the worth of what the Communion actually is.
- Using the Communion as a means of entertainment or enjoyment makes it unworthy for us. In those days, the people took it as real food, not just a symbolic little wafer and cup as we do today. A further read into 1 Corinthians 10 reveals that certain people came and over-ate and got drunk all in the name of Communion.
1 Corinthians 11:28-30 – “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.”
Paul continues to say, those who eat and drink in an unworthy manner do not discern the Lord’s body: not having an understanding of what it means to take the Lord’s body. The essence of taking in the body of Christ, is for the purpose of healing of your diseases. He was broken and went through the pain for you, and Bible says “by His stripes we are healed”. So, if you take this body and put it inside yours, it stands for healing for your body for “He took our sicknesses and nailed it to the cross”.
- One benefit of taking in the Lord’s Supper is that it brings healing to your body. Paul tells us due to lack of understanding, many are sick and some are dying – taking the Lord Supper with understanding prolongs life because the body has been broken already and taken care of every sickness already.
In the Jewish history, when one is being beaten, they give 39 lashes instead of the original 40 thinking that when they should deliver all 40 lashes, the culprit would die. Interestingly, there is a way in which diseases are categorises (e.g. cancers, infectious diseases etc) and studies showed that all the various groups number up to exactly 39. This means for every stripe that Jesus took, it represents one of these groups. Therefore, there is no disease in your body that the finished work of the cross cannot heal. It doesn’t matter what the doctors have said about it. Once the Bible has said “He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities and by His stripes we are healed” that disease can be healed.
There are testimonies of people who have taken the Holy Communion with understanding and experienced healing in their bodies. Some of the healings are instant according to God’s call. There were people Jesus prayed for who immediately got their healing and also some whose healing came progressively like the blind man who started seeing men as trees. Jesus had to pray for him again after which he saw clearly. If you are prayed for and do not experience the healing immediately, still know that something has started taking place inside of you. When Jesus cursed the fig tree, it didn’t wither immediately but later. Whatever method God chooses to employ in your healing, the end result is that, you will be healed.
There is the testimony of a patient who received medications for a long time but unto no avail until he started taking Communion. The power of the Communion can act as a catalyst to any medication. God is not against taking medicines. Taking medicines doe not mean you don’t have faith because God created the plants from which the medicines are manufactured. Healing from God comes in diverse ways. In case there is any hidden disease that might be waiting to explode, the power of the blood and body of Christ in the Communion will subdue it.
- The Communion has the power to deal with sin in our lives. You may have struggled with certain sins for years without breakthrough. Sins like pride, gossiping are serious sins that plague us. Others have problems with uncontrollable anger but the Lord’s Supper has the power to deal with such besetting sins. There are people who have struggled with things in their lives, but after taking the Lord’s Supper, realized that the desire for those things just left.
May everything that is a sin in your life be taken care of as you take the Communion. All diseases and sins in your life will bow and die as you take the Communion.