New City Catechism – Week 46

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Read our weekly blog below. Here are other resources related to this week’s question:

Worship Guide
“All Creatures of Our God and King”
(Hymn #11 in Hymns of Grace)
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Q46: What is the Lord’s Supper?

A46: Christ commanded all Christians to eat bread and to drink from the cup in thankful remembrance of him and his death. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the presence of God in our midst; bringing us into communion with God and with one another; feeding and nourishing our souls. It also anticipates the day when we will eat and drink with Christ in his Father’s kingdom.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are visible ordinances or sacraments that the Lord commanded. They do not replace the preaching of the gospel but they convey the gospel in an additional and dramatic way. As baptism signifies our death to our old self and new life in Christ, so the Lord’s Supper proclaims the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:26).

There are several key truths that the Lord’s Supper portrays regarding the gospel. First, Jesus said, “do this in remembrance of me.” When we celebrate communion, we are focused on the substitutionary death of Christ for our sins. We are reminded, that as the Passover lambs were slain in the place of the firstborn children of Israel, so God’s firstborn, is put to death for the redemption of His covenant people.

Jesus told his disciples, before that last Passover supper, that he had earnestly desired to eat the meal with them before he suffered (Luke 22:15). In similar fashion, the Christian will see communion as a deep fellowship with Christ. Paul wrote that the cup we bless and the bread we break are a communion in the blood and body of Christ. When we take the elements we draw near to the Lord in our hearts and affirm once again our need of His saving work.

The catechism says that by taking this we feed and nourish our souls. Such a statement does not mean that we have a magical view of the elements. When Paul writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26) he uses one of the same words “proclaim” as he uses for preaching the gospel. The Lord’s Table, in a very tangible way, feeds and nourishes us, as would the very preaching of the gospel. Communion is a celebration of the gospel in physical form.

Though the formula is nowhere found in scripture, we say that we “celebrate” communion.  There is good justification for doing so. The supper reminds us of our redemption from the bondage to sin, our glorious communion with Christ, His love for us in laying down his life as atoning sacrifice, and that He is coming again. So, we will continue doing so, “until he comes.”

-Pastor Jay