1 Corinthians 11:29
For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
The Saviour is here making a spiritual feast for His people, presenting Himself to them under the form of bread and wine; you are, therefore, not to look on these as mere dumb signs, but as objects which speak most distinctly to your spiritual ear. It behoves every Church, that is, every company of believers —
I. TO REALISE THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD AMONG THEM AS HIS GUESTS AND FRIENDS. At His table you are to meditate of His love — to sit down and commemorate His sufferings on your behalf; His object is to make you happy; He commands you to take this as a pledge of His friendship; you must not stop short at the mere symbol; this is, in effect, His body that was broken for you, and this is His blood which was poured out for you on the accursed tree. His hands, His feet were pierced for you — His side, too, was pierced, after He had given up the ghost: His sufferings were such as no tongue can tell, and such as cannot be known to mortal man. His affection for you was written in blood, and that blood was His own! That bread and that wine tell you that He died for you; and that in so doing He made "an end of sin, and brought in an everlasting righteousness." "He is now able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him." "Eat, then, oh! friends, and drink, oh! beloved," is His language. As He died for you, so He now lives for you: and at the close He will come again, and take you unto Himself, that you may be for ever with the Lord.
II. TO RECIPROCATE THE FEELINGS OF THE LORD JESUS. The soul must and will speak to the praise of sovereign mercy. That we may properly discern the Lord's body, we must —
1. Discern the evil of sin. Where is sin painted in colours so dreadful as here?
2. Discern the relation of man. What is the depraved creature man worth to his Maker? He is lost for all the ends which he ought to answer. Divine mercy could not reach him, apart from a proper Mediator and an atonement for sin. After this redemption he needed the exercise of Divine power to create him anew. The Cross, clearly seen, is death to human glorying. There is no room for it there! Go then, Christian, to His table, and take a fresh lesson from your Lord, who, with all His perfections, was made lowly in heart, since the more you share of this, the more abundantly will you possess rest to your own soul.
3. Discern the beauty of holiness and the necessity of cultivating it. Can you have a more impressive lesson on the evil of sin than the table of the Lord affords you? Will you prepare a second Cross for Christ, and with your own hands nail Him to it? Is there anything in the universe so full of beauty as holiness? Is it not the interest of every creature to press after a close resemblance to our Judge and our Creator?
4. Discern His sovereign and unutterable love. Were we not all enemies, full of selfishness, a god to ourselves, and a rule to ourselves, living without God, and having no hope in the world? Yet He came to die for these very enemies.
(The Christian Witness.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.