J. F. English.
In Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11:20-26 there is brought before us the institution of the Lord's Supper. In Luke, we have its record by the Lord, and in 1 Cor. a reference to the ministry of the Supper which the Apostle had previously communicated to the saints at Corinth. It is mainly from the record in 1 Cor. 11. that our thoughts regarding the Supper are formed. That is to be expected, as in this epistle we have the truth of the administration of the assembly in the light of the fellowship to which we have all been called. Evidently the Corinthians had been meeting together, professing to take the Supper, but their conduct called forth the corrective reiteration which the Apostle had previously delivered to the saints at Corinth. In order to add weight to the seriousness of their conduct the Apostle calls their attention to the significance of breaking the bread and partaking of the cup, for he adds to the words of the Lord, "For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do announce the Lord's death till He come." This is the great appeal to self-judgment so that the Supper might not be partaken unworthily as the Corinthians appear to have been doing, but it is not that which the Lord has asked us to do; His request is simply that we might do this "for a remembrance of Me." The Lord does not say in what way we are to call Him to mind, but if we refer to the Scriptures in which there is a word of God to His own in regard to that which is to be remembered by them we will see that it is the significance of the incident in relation to the dealings of God with His people that is to be before them. The Passover and all the various Feasts inaugurated by the Lord God, were for a remembrance of the way in which He had acted towards His people and their relationship with Him. For us today, we can see how all these were shadows of that which was going to be true of the Lord Jesus and has been and is being effected by Him. When we come together in Assembly, we lose our individuality; we are part of a whole; this should make us sensible to the fact that the remembrance of the Lord and His death as it applies to us personally, should be before us before we come to the Assembly meeting, rather than when there. Surely each one of us should ever have before us the remembrance of our Beloved Lord in His sufferings and death on the Cross for us; we do not need to come together to bring this to remembrance. This ought to be continually before us, drawing out our hearts in love and thanksgiving to Him, and creating in us a desire to be in our place around Him in His own appointed way, in Assembly.
On the evening of His resurrection day, when He appeared in the midst of His own gathered together we read "then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." He lives for us. In His great love for the Church He gave Himself, and He says to us, "This is my body which is given for you." We remember His words in Matt. 13:46, having found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Is not this what He would before us, rather than that which was substitutionary? His intense love for the Church lies behind these sweet words and the giving of Himself. As we think of what that giving of Himself involved for Him, we learn the more to value His precious love and wonderful thoughts to us. We also learn in Him the love of the Father towards us, in that He gave His only begotten Son for us. What did this mean to the Father? Nothing will affect us more when we are with the Lord in glory, realising our place and blessings as the great love that has us there. Then the cup surely speaks to us of the Father's blessing in His great love for us as His own. In the account of the Supper we read "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood." It expresses the present attitude of the Father towards us, as His own. He loves us with the same love wherewith He loves the Son, and we are brought into the place of sons with the Father. The precious blood of the Lord, the token of His life laid down, is the ground on which God is able to forgive sins righteously and bless us according to the desire of His Heart. We know, as we partake of that cup, there is nothing in the heart of God for us but love, the love of the Father for His sons, in no less measure than that with which He loves the Son. How precious this makes the Son of God to us, in the joy of His presence, being with Him in spirit where He is with the Father, we worship as we contemplate the way that love has taken to bring us to Himself. We rejoice with the Father in His joy over His Beloved Son in all that He has accomplished in His death, as far as we are now by the Spirit able to comprehend it. It is joy to know that the Father has Him again in His presence eternally, the Man of His Right Hand, ever His delight and joy in the highest place of glory.
We thus see that the Supper is the introduction to our Assembly worship. When we are with the Lord in glory, we shall not need it to bring Him before us; we shall be in His blessed presence in all the joy of the Father's house. In the meantime, however, the Lord in His love for us and great grace, desires to have us near Himself where we can participate in our blessed portion in Him with the Father now. Where there is simple subjection to the Holy Spirit (He who knows the mind of the Lord) we should find each recurring Lord's Day morning meeting increasingly precious in the foretaste of the portion that awaits us when at home with Him. Even in the Tabernacle worship, the High Priest was able to go into the Holiest, where everything spake of the glory of God and the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. If this was so true with the shadow how much more so now that the substance has come. May the Lord grant that we may be able to take up our priesthood, as sons with our Great High Priest, the true Aaron, in the power of an ungrieved Spirit, worshipping as we gather around Him, our beloved Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God who again repeats to us "Do this in remembrance of Me."