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The first written record of Jesus making Passover into Lord’s Supper

April 17, 2023
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Daily Scripture

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

23 I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread. 24 After giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me.” 25 He did the same thing with the cup, after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do this to remember me.” 26 Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you broadcast the death of the Lord until he comes.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Christians treasured Jesus’ words before anyone wrote a “gospel.” 1 Corinthians 11 was the earliest written account of the Lord’s Supper. (Yes—Paul wrote that letter 15-20 years before any of the four gospels.) * Some Christians in Corinth held to Greek feasting customs, which stressed social rank (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:20-22). Paul said they did not correctly “understand the body” (1 Corinthians 11:29). No matter their social rank they were equal in Christ’s church family, all forgiven by his grace.

  • We hear Jesus’ words at communion services, just as the early Christians in Corinth did: “do this to remember me’ and “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.” Jesus pointed to Jeremiah’s promise (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34). He was saying, as scholar William Barclay translated it, “This cup is the new covenant and it cost my blood.” ** How can you join the earliest Christians in worshiping Jesus, recalling and honoring the price he paid to offer you grace and forgiveness?
  • Sometimes people misunderstand 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 and make the Eucharist a hurtful time of guilt and fear. (Have you ever heard something like, “YOUR sins put Jesus on the cross”?) Paul wanted the Corinthian converts to see that the communion table was (and is) a place where all of us, as sinners, can rejoice in God’s forgiveness and acceptance. In what ways can you prepare yourself to approach communion with a spirit of joy and gratitude, not guilt?
Prayer

Living Lord, thank you for the Lord’s Supper, when I can act out you being an integral part of my spiritual life, just as the juice-soaked bread becomes part of my physical life. Thank you for welcoming me at your family table. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Valerie Vogt

Valerie Vogt

Valerie Nagel Vogt was born, raised, and attended college in California. Her Master of Divinity degree is from Duke Divinity School. She was ordained in the Rio Texas Conference where she served as an associate pastor in the Austin area and San Antonio. From congregational care and welcoming guests to leading in worship, Valerie loves the ministry of the local church. She feels blessed to have served as a pastor since 2011. She juggles ministry with being a mom to Caleb (born 2012) and Jacob (born 2015), friend, avid reader, lover of the outdoors, beginner to the world of CrossFit, and foodie.

While it’s hard to pick one thing as my favorite part of being a pastor, I think presiding at Communion is one of the greatest privileges of my ministry. I have shared Communion on Sunday mornings in worship, at the bedside of those who are dying, in hospitals, and in homes. Every time I say, “the body of Christ given for you” and “the blood of Christ poured out for you” I am filled with awe. I especially love serving Communion to children. When they come to receive the elements, I bend down to their eye level and say, “God loves you very much.” They often express great joy in being handed bread and dipping it into the juice.

At the church I served before moving here, we used a very sweet, soft bread for Communion. While everyone enjoyed it, the kids LOVED it. I would giggle almost every time a child came up to me after worship to ask for some of the leftovers. Some would come running. Some would shyly make their way over and wait for one of their parents to ask me for more. Some parents would come running after their kids, not sure if they were allowed to ask for more. One of my favorite things to say to the kids was, “How much do you want?” Often their eyes would get big as they looked at the remaining pieces. The bold ones would say, “A big piece.” The reserved kids would wait until I asked, “Do you want a piece for each hand?”

Communion is a gift, and we should receive it with reverence. It is important to prayerfully reflect on what Jesus has done out of great love for us. It’s also more than okay to want more–to literally want more Communion and to spiritually want more, a deeper connection with God. For the parents who were used to seeing leftovers handed out after worship there was delight in how much their kids loved the bread and juice, how much they loved Jesus. For the parents who were new to our practice of handing out the extras there was surprise at the playfulness of kids gathered around the Table. I would tell the parents that I want the kids to feel comfortable to freely come, to honestly ask, and to know that there is more than enough.

At the Table and in the family of God there is abundance. Come, see, and taste that the Lord is good.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* “Paul received at least two sets of visitors from Corinth before writing 1 Corinthians from Ephesus sometime before Pentecost (see 1 Cor 16:8), probably in either 54 or 55 CE.” (Charles A. Wanamaker, Introduction to 1 Corinthians in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 304 NT.)
** William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series: The Letters to the Corinthians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1975, p. 103.