By H.D. Matheson, East Ridge Church of Christ
The Moore American
MOORE — We are happy to continue introducing Moore American readers to the East Ridge church of Christ. We are grateful for your presence today; as we take a little time to read a portion from the Word of God.
For nearly 2,000 years, since the church of Christ was established in Acts chapter 2, churches of Christ have honored the pattern of communing together every Lord’s Day (Acts 20:7).
The practice of using one cup in the Lord’s Supper has a special history. While the East Ridge church of Christ has honored this pattern at this location since its inception in 2006, we certainly, did not originate the idea. Instead, the Lord Himself established that pattern when He instituted His Supper the night in which He was betrayed.
Paul reviews what my Lord did (2 Peter 1:20-21) in his letter to Corinth. Just after Paul describes Jesus taking the unleavened breadG740 (Greek word 740: artos — one loaf), saying, “this is my body,” (1 Corinthians 11:24). Paul then focuses on the cup.
“After the same manner also he took the cup,” says Paul, “when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft 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.” (1 Corinthians 11:25-26).
The pattern of Jesus only taking one cup is consistent in all of the accounts of the Lord’s Supper — Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, and Luke 22:20. In Mathew 26:27, Matthew records that after taking of the cup, the Lord commanded His disciples, saying, “Drink ye all of it;” other Bible translations express “Drink of it, all of you.”
Let’s remember that Jesus obeyed His Father’s teachings in all things (John 3:16, 8:28-30) and those who love him we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). We cannot forget what Jesus says in John 12:48-50 “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” “And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.”
Truly the scriptures have been sufficient on how we are to observe the Lord’s Supper. But the Lord also provides us with the divine, reference and representation of that one cup. Both Luke the physician (Colossians 4:14) and Paul the apostle recorded the perfect Word (John 1:1-4) when He gives the cup to the disciples and says “This cup is the new testament in my blood” (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25).
Please consider, however, that in Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-25, Christ evokes three items of remembrance in His communion – His “body,” His “blood” and His “new testament.” Each of the things should be present at the Lord’s Supper.
Notice that the scripture does not say this cup is my blood, but rather “this cup is the new testament in my blood.” It was Christ’s blood that authorized (sealed) the new testament, and it removes sins of a penitent, baptized believer.
In describing the Lord’s communion, Luke and Paul (Acts 22:3) were the formally educated disciples in the new testament and emphasized the cup or the drinking vessel containing fruit of the vine (both are explicit), while Matthew and Mark emphasize the fruit of the vine in the cup.
In the Lord’s communion the fruit of the vine recalls the Christian’s remembrance to the blood of Christ that was shed for our sins; while the cup (containing fruit of the vine) evokes to Christian’s celebration to that one blood-sealed covenant of Christ.
The new testament was brought from heaven and sealed with Christ’s blood. Both cup and fruit of the vine are literal, not figurative. And together the cup and fruit of the vine symbolize the Lord’s blood and His one blood-sealed covenant.
There is one covenant between God and mankind and that one cup of the fruit of the vine on the Lord’s table symbolizes, to Christians, the covenant authorized by His blood.
In our search, did you notice that the Holy Spirit always referred to one loaf and one cup of unleavened fruit of the vine?