47 Question 1

According to the “Catholic Answers” website, “The Eucharist is a true sacrifice, not just a commemorative meal, as “Bible Christians” insist.”  We must ask how the bread and wine could be a sacrifice when it was the Lord Jesus Himself that instituted this remembrance feast.  Was He actually sacrificing His own body while still alive?  Were the disciples actually eating his flesh and drinking His blood?  Let’s read an account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper in Mark 14:22-25, “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  How could this be anything else but symbolic since the Lord was still alive?  How could the loaf truly be His body when He was there in the room with the disciples?  How could the cup hold His blood while His blood was still circulation through His body?

The Lord’s purpose is clear; He desires that we remember Him and His death for us by partaking of the emblems that He gave to us on the very night He was betrayed by Judas.  As we read in 1 Corinthians 11:23-28, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, 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.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”

In contrast, the sacrifices of the Old Testament under the law were a continual reminder of the sins of the peoples.  We read in Hebrews 10:1-3, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.”  These sacrifices could never put away sin.  They were never intended to put away sin.  If they could, then, according to what we just read, all sacrifices would have ceased.

Let’s continue to look into the Word and read Hebrews 10:10-12, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”  Because of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, we who have trusted Him as savior now are sanctified, or made holy.  We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  All those who trust in Jesus are now made righteous.  There is no need for another sacrifice.  The work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross has satisfied God’s righteous demands for the payment of our sins.  The only sacrifice that the Lord looks for today is the sacrifice of praise as we read in Hebrews 13:15-16, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.  But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

It is important that we have a good understanding of the purpose and value of partaking of the Lord’s Supper.  To reduce it to being a sacrifice really robs the Lord Jesus of His glory and the worship of His people that are gathered together by the Spirit of God to worship the savior.