A Memorial Unlike any Other.
I Corinthians 11:17-26
Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day, but it was officially proclaimed Memorial Day on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan. Memorial Day is a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered, traditionally observed on May 30 but now officially observed on the last Monday in May.
It’s a day to remember fallen heroes; why do we remember them? We want to remember them because they fought for our freedom. Monuments are built to help us remember something important in the past. Photographs become memories, a photo can take us back in time to remind us of a joyful or painful memory.
Jesus also gave his followers something by which to remember him; it wasn’t the cross, though we do remember him by looking at the cross. It is what is known in Scripture as the Lord ’s Supper or communion meal. This was instituted by Jesus the night he was betrayed. HE had dinner with his apostles and while they were still eating, he took two elements of the meal, bread and wine to introduce something significant; something by which we should always remember him. The followers of Jesus began the practice of remembering Jesus during their fellowship meals, (the Bible calls this the breaking of bread)
Acts 2:42 The believers were devoted to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
It was during this breaking of bread or fellowship meals that the followers of Jesus remembered and honored Jesus.
About 25 years after the death of Jesus the apostle Paul wrote a letter to a church who was abusing this practice. Paul planted this church during his 2nd missionary journey around 52 AD, then five years later he wrote a letter because he heard about some of the issues this church was having.
Paul found out about the problems this church was having and he reprimanded this church for their abuse in their gatherings. Abuses in the church.
-Disunity in their gathering. (Your meetings do more harm than good because of the divisions among you)
-(v.19) no doubt there will be differences of opinions in a group, The word Differences (aireseis :heresies) “factions” (ESV) (haireseis) means confirmed parties arising out of self-willed opinions contrary to truth.
These is an upside to these conflicts or heresies in the church, they separate those approved by God from those who are not. They separate those who are sound in truth from those who are not. These conflicts will help identify those who are in the truth from those who remain in errors.
The disunity of this church was evident in their fellowship meal, by which they were to remember Jesus. (20)
-You eat without thinking about others.
-Some were getting drunk with the wine used in their gatherings.
Their gathering was dishonoring to God and Paul said he would not praise them for what was going on in the church.
He then goes on to remind them of the teachings he passed on to them, which they had ignoring. V.23-26
The communion meal or Lord’s Supper reminds us of the past.
-The night he was betrayed, he took bread, broke it and said, this is my body which is for you. Do this in my memory. Jesus body was represented in the bread, a piece of bread that is devoured to satisfy someone’s hunger.
–This cup is the new covenant in my blood, whenever you drink it, do it in my memory. Jesus blood was shed on the cross and because of it, we have peace with God. He purchased our freedom by his blood shed on the cross.
Paul reminded the church that this is what they should be remembering in their gatherings. Jesus didn’t do all this so you would gather and not even be concerned about your brothers and sisters or for you to get drunk at the Lord’s Table?
The Lord’s supper or communion reminds us of the present.(v.26)
Whenever you eat the bread and drink the cup, you are to proclaim Jesus. (The word proclaim here is to declare openly; to preach Jesus). To proclaim what his death accomplished.
This memorial is not done just one a year, whenever you do it. In our worship service we do it every Sunday. We want to remember Jesus every week. The reason behind doing this is to proclaim Jesus, what he has done and what he will do.
The Lord’s supper points us to the future.
-We are to proclaim Jesus until he comes again. He died, but he resurrected and is coming back to establish his kingdom that will never end.
This memorial meal is unlike any other memorial, we do remember the past; however Right now we enjoy fellowship with Jesus and with one another because of what he did. We announce and proclaim what he has accomplished through his death by partaking of these elements. This memorial reminds us of the future glory. One day we won’t have to be reminded again because we will live with our Savior forever and ever. In the meantime, don’t forget what he did just for you.