And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take…
We must never forget that this central ordinance of our Christian worship was instituted by our Lord himself. It is an indication of his foresight and forbearance; for it shows first that he saw we should need to be repeatedly reminded of what he is to us, and then that he condescended to help the infirmity of our wandering natures by providing the most impressive means for continually presenting the great central facts of his work before our minds and hearts. He enlists the services of the three senses of sight, taste, and touch, to aid the sense of hearing in bringing before us the vital truths of his gospel.
I. THE CHRISTIAN FEEDS UPON CHRIST.
1. Christ himself. These elements do not represent abstract doctrines or moral precepts; the theory of redemption or the ethics of the Sermon on the Mount. They represent Jesus. He is our Life.
2. Christ received as food. We eat the bread and drink the wine. Christ is the Bread of life. We must personally participate in Christ, and receive him into our lives, in order to profit by his grace.
3. Christ as every day food. Jesus chose the common bread and wine of the country, such as were always at hand. He does not wish to be a rare luxury for wedding feasts and kings' banquets. He will be the poor man's bread, and his daily bread. Yet this is what is most essential. Some people look for rare delicacies in Christ, but they will not make him their daily Bread. Then they will starve. We must live upon Christ.
II. CHRIST BECOMES AS FOOD TO OUR SOULS IS HIS INCARNATION. These elements do not represent the soul of Jesus. They stand for his body and his blood. Strange speculations have risen around this fact, and some have imagined that the properties of the spiritual, of the Divine nature itself, were transferred to the body of our Lord. It is straining the words of Jesus, and putting an unnatural meaning on his language, to suppose any such miraculous transformation of his body to have taken place. In a simpler way we may understand that it is through his incarnation that he becomes our food. Food must be in some way like what feeds on it in order that it may be fully assimilated and absorbed. Christ becomes one with us in his incarnation. We can come near to him in his earthly life. We can touch him, and sympathise with him, and understand him in some degree. Thus we feed on his body and blood, and so receive him.
III. CHRIST GIVES HIMSELF TO US IN HIS DEATH. The bread is broken; the wine is poured out; and these two elements are taken separately. Thus our Lord sets before us the thought of his death. He could not be our Life if he had not given up his own life. It is not the body of Christ in his earthly ministry, it is the body on the cross, that feeds us. It is not the blood in the veins, it is the blood shed, that saves us. The Lord's Supper was instituted on the night before Jesus was betrayed. It pointed on to the cross. It is now the great memorial of Christ in his sacrifice for us. In conclusion, let us consider how we may approach this sacred feast. We cannot eat and drink "worthily" if we are to be worthy of Christ or free from all sin before we come. This is impossible, and it is not required of us; for Christ is himself the Saviour from sin. What we want is to recognize him as our Life, to trust in him as our Saviour, to surrender to him as our Lord. Then we can come to his table at his own invitation, and refresh our souls with his grace. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.