THE LORD’S SUPPER – DIVISION IN THE CAMP? BY DOUG KRIEGER
Why is it that what was divinely instituted – the Lord’s Supper (aka, the “Holy Communion” – Lord’s Table - Eucharist) – has become one of the most divisive issues within the Body of Christ, among believers in Yeshua/Jesus? You’d think that “discerning the Lord’s Body” would be the keynote in bringing and expressing our oneness we have in Christ—but it has become a lightning rod for Christians to divide from one another—more so than baptism! Even the phrase: “Let’s break bread” – gives us a sense of peace; of gathering together as one without contention and separation . . . ALAS! We’re so factious to the point we have no idea how separated we really are! This segment on EKKLESIA is not easy to transcribe—for swirling around in my cranium are a myriad of ways to approach this theological imbroglio. Unraveling the meaning and practice of this expression of Christian Oneness and its myriad practices and those divisions which ensue from the how, when, why, where and what it all means to believers today is no small fete. This brevity would be preposterous to advance the notion we can summarize the manifold issues which surround this topic in one setting—so, consider this a 40,000-ft. high overview of the Grand Canyon, AZ on the left side of the plane (hardly an in-depth look at this immense site). Let’s try to approach it from an “Ekklesia” point of view, as well as touch on some major theological issues surrounding this most sacred, yet divisive (sad to say), experience. Alas! It turns out that this may be one of the longest chapters of what has become a book on the topic of Ekklesia. Unfortunately, some have “tabled” the Table because of its tendency to “ceremony” and sundry methodologies and acute theological contentions. So sad this has happened when such a celebration of our Lord can be a joyous experience for all believers! We’ll consider the following: (1) Major traditional theological issues relative to the Lord’s Table. (2) New Testament occurrences, descriptions of the Lord’s Supper. (3) New Covenant and New Commandment implications (4) The “Ekklesia” implications regarding “Breaking of Bread” MAJOR TRADITIONAL THEOLOGICAL ISSUES REGARDING “HOLY COMMUNION” Again, this practice and/or experience of the “Communion Table” is one of the most “separating” issues within the Body of Christ—What is its essence? What really takes place when it occurs? Who can participate? What so-called qualifications are necessary to “partake”? How is the “Lord’s Table” administered (and who can serve it)? When should it occur? Why should we do it in the first place? All these considerations afflict the Body of Christ and cause enumerable division and separation from one another—tragic as it is. Keeping a blind eye to the myriad of division abounding in the Body of Christ over this issue could readily be observed as someone in unintended denial! Virtually all of Christendom (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants, non-affiliated Christians) consider the Lord’s Table to be a “sacrament” or “ordinance” – with all agreeing that baptism is the other “main sacrament” or ordinance (at least these two sacraments are accepted by virtually all of Christendom—other so-called sacraments like “marriage” would be considered on an equal par with these two main ones—but, again, all of Christianity embraces these two practices as sacraments (i.e., “sacred” to the Christian experience and practice—and directly ordained by the Lord). Duly noted, however, are our Quaker/Friends and Salvation Army brethren who consider both such “sacraments” unnecessary for “holy living” (shocking—but “live with it”—their conviction: Such practices do not assure anyone of “holy living”).(1) The “Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci “Holy Communion” (again, I waft back and forth on these expressions which all mean “the same object of our discussion” but are spoken of by sundry segments of Christianity in different ways—Lord’s Table, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Blessed Sacrament, the Breaking of Bread, the Bread and the Cup, the Love Feast, Memorial, Remembrance, “The Lord’s Evening Meal’ (Jehovah Witnesses), even “the Mass” in the Catholic Church, etc.) yet, even from these expressions, one can tell we are obviously deeply embedded in the Christian practice of the “Table.” Incidentally, the term “Eucharist” is derived from the following (original links in quotes kept for viewing): The Greek noun εὐχαριστία (eucharistia [from whence Eucharist]), meaning "thanksgiving", appears fifteen times in the New Testament but is not used as an official name for the rite; however, the related verb is found in New Testament accounts of the Last Supper, including the earliest such account: For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks (εὐχαριστήσας), he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me". (1 Corinthians 11:23–24) The Lord's Supper, in Greek Κυριακὸν δεῖπνον (Kyriakon deipnon), was in use in the early 50s of the 1st century, as witnessed by the First Epistle to the Corinthians (11:20–21): When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk.(2) You can see from all these descriptions of this Passover Preparation Feast (Nisan 13) which took place in the Upper Room (prior to Passover Day on Nisan 14 when He was buried) by our Lord and His disciples, just how many “divisions” have resulted from what was clearly the Lord’s effort in gathering together His disciples/friends, coupled with His “Upper Room Discourse” and prayer for the ONENESS of His followers (John chapters 12-17). For such a brief moment in time and space—can you imagine how many practices and intense divisions within Christendom have resulted! Dare you read the entire article in Wikipedia on this, you will be exhausted—as in: How could something so simple become so incredibly complicated and ultimately, so divisive? (See Endnote #10) The THREE traditional views on of the essence of the practice of the Lord’s Supper (i.e., “What’s IN the bread and cup?”) include: (1) Transubstantiation - (Latin: transsubstantiatio; Greek: μετουσίωσις metousiosis) is, according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the change of substance or essence by which the bread and wine offered in the sacrifice of the sacrament of the Eucharist during the Mass, become, in reality, the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In this teaching, the notions of substance and transubstantiation are not linked with any particular theory of metaphysics.(3) (2) Consubstantiation or “Sacramental Union” (Note: There is a difference.) This is much more elaborate than meets the less astute theological eye; to wit: In the sacramental union the consecrated bread is united with the body of Christ and the consecrated wine is united with the blood of Christ by virtue of Christ's original institution with the result that anyone eating and drinking these "elements"—the consecrated bread and wine—really eats and drinks the physical body and blood of Christ as well. Lutherans maintain that what they believe to be the biblical doctrine of the manducatio indignorum ("eating of the unworthy") supports this doctrine as well as any other doctrine affirming the Real Presence. The manducatio indignorum is the contention that even unbelievers eating and drinking in the Eucharist really eat and drink the body and blood of Christ. This view was put forward by Martin Luther in his 1528 Confession Concerning Christ's Supper. AND For the reason why, in addition to the expressions of Christ and St. Paul (the bread in the Supper is the body of Christ or the communion of the body of Christ), also the forms: under the bread, with the bread, in the bread [the body of Christ is present and offered], are employed, is that by means of them the papistical transubstantiation may be rejected and the sacramental union of the unchanged essence of the bread and of the body of Christ indicated.(4) (3) Memorialism/Remembrance Only: These three categories (Transubstantiation, Sacramental Union, and Memorialism) are exceedingly broadly based and have scores of theological derivations. However, this so stated, the “Remembrance/Memorial” view is as follows (and it’s a mouthful): Memorialism: Is the belief held by some Christian denominations that the elements of bread and wine (or juice) in the Eucharist (more often referred to as The Lord's Supper by memorialists) are purely symbolic representations of the body and blood of Jesus, the feast being established only or primarily as a commemorative ceremony. The term comes from Luke 22:19: "This do in memory of me" and the attendant interpretation that the Lord's Supper's chief purpose is to help the participant remember Jesus and his sacrifice on the Cross. AND, to demonstrate the sundry divisions within the Body of Christ on this issue: This viewpoint is commonly held by Baptists, Anabaptists, the Plymouth Brethren, Jehovah's Witnesses, segments of the Restoration Movement and some non-denominational Churches, as well as those identifying with liberal Christianity, but it is rejected by most branches of Christianity, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Church, Independent Catholic Churches, the Church of the East, Lutherans, Presbyterians and other traditional Calvinists, as well as the vast majority of Anglicans and Methodists, who variously affirm the doctrine of the real presence.(5) I know, it’s exhausting…but moving on here… NEW TESTAMENT OCCURRENCES AND DESCRIPTIONS It is of keen interest to this writer that the “Last Supper” is described with the “bread and the cup” in the so-called synoptic gospels (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20). Prominent in these accounts; however, the Gospel of John has no mention (at best “veiled allusions”) to the “bread and the cup” (John 13:1-30); but instead, elaborates upon “foot washing”—absolutely, NOTHING is given concerning the New Covenant nor anything about the sequence and administration of the “bread of His Body” and the “cup of redemption in His blood” nor the inauguration of the New Covenant . . . but the New Commandment is most definitely mentioned (John 13:31-35; 14:15, 21, 23; 15:12-15). Likewise, in John’s gospel Jesus goes into great detail regarding the Promise of the Spirit in His Upper Room discourse—more so than in any of the synoptic gospels (i.e., by His “going, He is coming to us” – John 14)—He speaks of His Indwelling us; of the Father and the Son through the Spirit of Promise (John 14:19-31) abiding in us. Furthermore, John speaks of the “abiding life” wherein Jesus is the vine and we are the branches (John 15); and then of the “interior work of the Holy Spirit” in the lives of the believers in John 16, culminating in His High Priestly prayer found in John 17 and offered at the conclusion of the Last Supper before His disciples/friends in that same Upper Room. No, nothing is said about the New Covenant with the bread and the wine but a whole lot is said in John’s gospel concerning the intimacy and indwelling of the Spirit of Life in Christ Who would, through His death, be sent from the Father to indwell all of His believers! Notwithstanding, the allusions to the “breaking of bread” are recorded in Acts 2:46 and, most definitely, in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34—we will discuss this in some detail in item #4 on the implications of the practice of Ekklesia within the context of the Lord’s Supper. I find it most remarkable that the synoptic gospels are riveted upon the “bread and the wine” but the gospel of John is focused on the subjective impact of the Holy Spirit’s life within the believers and of the oneness of the Body of Christ that would result in the Promise of the Spirit—along with the New Commandment given to “love one another AS I have loved you—that you also love one another”—for it is this that produces the Oneness of His people including the gifts given to us in John 17 of a common Life (the Life of the Father—for we are all His children—John 17:2-3 – the Truth—John 17:8, 14, 17 [for His “word is truth”]—and His Glory, John 17:22-24 that we might manifest this glory to the world around us).(6) The expression of the GLORY is based upon the common Life of the Father and the Truth of His Word (Christ is the “Word made flesh”) and the Spirit of God is expressed in the Spirit of Promise enabling us to share in the LOVE that the Father and the Son share (John 17:22-24) . . . without the New Commandment (i.e., the “Love Commandment”) the world will not be able to see how the Father loved and still loves the Son “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). John 17 clearly reveals that through the giving up of His Life we now would be brought into the very fellowship of the Triune God wherein we share in the same love and fellowship the Son and the Father have always had before the foundation of the world! This is truly amazing! NEW COVENANT AND NEW COMMANDMENT IMPLICATIONS I would like to expand upon how the New Covenant and the New Commandment are one in the same—with separate emphases. We at ONE BODY LIFE MINISTRY, on whose board I currently serve, has had the privilege of serving/teaming-up in ministry with our beloved brother in Christ, Gaylord Enns of LOVE REVOLUTION NOW.(7) Gaylord’s text, THE LOVE REVOLUTION(8) embodies the vision and practice of this most dynamic discovery—even revelation (aka, “illumination” by the Holy Spirit)—of such a doctrine and practice. Gaylord Enns: “Recovering the Lost Command of Jesus” The “Great Commandment” is contrasted by the “New Commandment” by brother Enns. In essence: The Great Commandment (or Greatest Commandment) is a name used in the New Testament to describe the first of two commandments cited by Jesus in Matthew 22:35–40, Mark 12:28–34, and Luke 10:27a. In Mark, when asked "which is the great commandment in the law?", the Greek New Testament reports that Jesus answered, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord Our God, The Lord is One; Thou shalt love thy Lord, thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind", before also referring to a second commandment, "And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Most Christian denominations consider these two commandments to be the core of correct Christian lifestyle. (9) Yet, even in this Wikipedia disclosure, the New Commandment given in John’s gospel is obfuscated. Observe the statement: “Most Christian denominations consider these two commandments to be the core of correct Christian lifestyle.” Enns brings out that in his research into Church history over the last 2,000 years, scarcely any recognition to the importance of the New Commandment—nor of LOVE itself—is mentioned by Christian scholars, Early Church Fathers, theologians, pastors or teachers. This historical absence of content regarding the New Commandment, juxtaposed to the Great Commandment, is a striking discovery made by Enns and something wholly significant (viz., its absence) from Christian teaching. According to Enns, its omission from Christian theology is both revealing and tantamount to a complete exposure as to why division persists within wide swaths of Christendom. There is little (if any) emphasis upon the New Commandment with the empowerment of the “abiding Life” needed to love as the Lord has loved us by His “resurrection love” poured into the believer when Jesus in resurrection breathed INTO the disciples the HOLY BREATH (viz., the Spirit of Life) and poured out (i.e., “clothed”) that same Spirit of Power upon the early disciples at Pentecost! The Great Commandment puts the emphasis upon the believer doing the love; whereas the New Commandment places the emphasis to love one another upon the very love of Christ which would abide in us upon His death, resurrection and impartation of the Spirit of Life into us—viz., we can love one another because He is loving through us! Brother Gaylord’s BREAKTHROUGH on this topic is invigorating the Body of Christ at this very season and bringing an emphasis so terribly neglected; yea, nigh for the past 2,000 years! At a recent conference held here in Sacramento (Fall, 2019), I broached the question to Gaylord: Can we say that the New Commandment found only in John’s Gospel is the working out—nigh, the actual MANIFESTATION—of the New Covenant? That is, Jesus’ washing of the feet of the disciples, and speaking of the Promise of the Spirit, and of the abiding Life of Christ in the believer (viz., “I am the vine you are the branches”) and the subsequent repetition of the Love Commandment—the New Commandment (John 13:34; 15:12-14—after He speaks of the Vine/Branches and the abiding life of His believers) being the very manifestation of the New Covenant—for by ingesting His body (the bread) and drinking from the cup of His redemption (His blood) are we not living by His very Life under the New Covenant? Most certainly we are for John’s gospel makes this impeccable reality known to us all: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes [a]in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is [b]food indeed, and My blood is [c]drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:47-58) One might deem me, in certain evangelical circles, involved in some form of Catholic heresy, however, does this not speak not only of the “abiding life” but of the “assimilated life” we share in his body and blood? It is by eating His bread (body) and drinking His cup (blood) that we enjoy Him as our Life (bread) and as our Redemption (blood)—and by His Body and Blood we now live out the New Commandment . . . the very expression of the New Covenant. There’s more—MUCH MORE—but should this not be all-sufficient? Why would the Lord enjoin us to practice this “supper” over and over for the last 2,000 years? Surely, we are not to “crucify the Lord of Glory” afresh? No, but in that He died once, He is NOT to be sacrificed over and over again: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28). More so: “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God . . . For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,’ then He adds, ‘Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 10:12-17). I’m leading up to something here. The writer of Hebrews is drawing our attention to the “once and for all sacrifice” of the spotless Lamb of God, thereby inaugurating the NEW COVENANT—for, “This is the covenant” is taken right out of Jeremiah 31:31-34 whereupon the SPIRIT OF GOD is to write His laws upon the fleshy tablets of our hearts. This is NOT some far off, prior to the commencement of the literal 1,000-year Millennium, New Covenant exclusively and prophetically reserved for the Jews (viz., Judah); no, it IS the very New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:33-34 and inaugurated in the Upper Room by the “bread of His body” and the “cup of His blood” given to both Jew and Gentile with the Promise of the Spirit: BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT ALSO WITNESSES TO US. We are empowered to embrace the outworking of the New Covenant via the New Commandment to love one another AS HE LOVED US! “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel (both with Ephraim and with Judah) after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34) Brethren, there is but ONE NEW COVENANT—its origins are in Jeremiah and its inauguration is in that Upper Room. Likewise, there is but ONE NEW COMMANDMENT and it is intrinsically connected to the working out by the Spirit of God based upon that same New Covenant written upon the fleshly tables of our hearts . . . listen up now: “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the NEW COVENANT, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:1-6) The very GLORY of the New Covenant bursts forth in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 culminating in this glory: “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:16-18). The New Covenant in My Blood In other words – the expression of the New Covenant not only transforms believers in Christ—in the the Image of Christ, the Messiah, but enables them under the banner of the New Commandment to love one another as He first loved us. Yes, the emphasis of the New Commandment is the empowerment to love one another by the Spirit of the Lord working and writing upon the fleshy tables of our hearts—for His commands are not grievous—AND, all of this partaking, transformation, and loving one another has a glorious result: THE ANSWER TO OUR LORD’S PRAYER IN JOHN 17—the ONENESS of His One Body! It is through the BLOOD OF HIS CROSS – the very expression of His everlasting Life in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ that He has made of the two (Jew and Gentile) ONE NEW MAN – SO MAKING PEACE (Eph. 2). Now, we are enjoined to practice the TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL (Galatians 2:5, 14—Jewish believers in Yeshua should eat with Gentile believers in Jesus)—living out the New Covenant/New Commandment—all within the context of: I WILL BUILD MY EKKLESIA. This brings us to our fourth and final discussion regarding the Lord’s Table: THE “EKKLESIA” IMPLICATIONS REGARDING THE “LORD’S TABLE” I Corinthians 11:17-34 is broken down into three segments: (1) Conduct at the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-22). (2) Institution of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26). (3) Discerning the Lord’s Body (1 Cor. 11:27-34). I purposefully used the phrase “discerning the Lord’s Body” juxtaposed, over against the phrase “Examination of Yourself” for that is precisely NOT the emphasis found at the Lord’s Supper—it has everything to do with “discerning the Lord’s Body” – not discerning what a wretched sinner you are! Allow me some latitude to explain myself. I will NOT magnify the sordid divisions resulting from the institution of this partaking with its myriad of theological differences. Suffice it to say there is ONE BODY/BREAD and ONE CUP/BLOOD and it is predicated upon and inaugurated as the NEW COVENANT (the fulfillment of Jeremiah 31) so recognized as “often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:25). How we go about doing this is somewhat irrelevant—so is our frequency thereof . . . “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). Indeed, whether you use the “fruit of the vine” or water—it’s the SAME CUP which we share! Good grief, Krieger, you’re off the reservation now! What concerns me is the DIVISION so amplified at Corinth among the brethren. Interestingly enough, the apparent wealthy were gorging themselves by taking their own supper ahead of others (at the very Love Feast) while those with little (the poor) were going hungry. This wasn’t much of a “Love Feast” as much as it was an apparent “feeding frenzy” taking place, leading to drunkenness by some of the wealthier brethren (hard to visualize this environment)—how inconsiderate of them! For: “Do you despise the ekklesia of God and shame the poor who have nothing” (Free translation of 1 Cor. 11:22). This puts a new twist on the phrase: “Whose God is their belly!” Imagine, the Ekklesia at Corinth was an expression of economic inequality on display. Of course, we in the West and/or those following our example, would never delight in such a separation of the poor vs. the wealthy in a “Church setting.” Go figure—there appears to be a pernicious tendency of such in certain congregations and among even house gatherings where those of a certain economic affluence find it far more comfortable to “table” with those of equal enhancement—while the poor of the congregation/gathering are viewed with contempt. It ought not so to be among us! At issue in Corinth was a division of the wealthy vs. the poor; consequently, this division spewed over, if you would, into this: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an UNWORTHY manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man EXAMINE (Strong’s Greek #1381 – dokimazo) himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor. 11:27-29). We have the notion that this kind of self-examination has everything to do with our own sinful condition—and that somehow we must confess our wretched condition, our sins, by reflecting not only upon them but, on the affirmative side whereby we both confess and apply the blood of Jesus afresh, by asking Him to forgive us of our sins. THAT, dear friend is NOT the injunction so given here—sorry to disappoint—for I know that most of us, including yours truly, find this occasion a blessed time to reflect upon the Lord’s forgiveness of my sin(s). Nor is the understanding of “he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner” well positioned in our thinking—it has little or nothing to do with coming to the Table with unconfessed sin but everything to do with these divisions aforementioned . . . it’s not “How’s it going with me?” but “How’s it going with me and the brethren?” “Not discerning the Lord’s Body” is grossly misunderstood! Let me explain what IS going on here (not to sound “too presumptuous”). The word dokimazo (translated examine) is derived from the Greek word dokimos (Strong’s Greek #1384 meaning “acceptable” or “approved”) and is used in 1 Corinthians 11:19: “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are APPROVED (dokimos) may be recognized (i.e., “manifested”) among you.” In other words, “But let a man EXAMINE (dokimazo) himself” in 1 Corinthians 11:28 is derived from the same Greek word found in 1 Corinthians 11:19; to wit: “That those who are APPROVED (dokimos) may be recognized among you.” The necessity of factions (NOT heresies) found in 1 Corinthians 11:19 are there in the Ekklesia so that those who are EXAMINED or APPROVED or ACCEPTABLE will be manifested. Obviously, these are mature brethren who keep the “Unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace” amongst the sundry, but necessary factions—for there is wide diversity among the brethren—we are NOT a homogeneous group (although we “like our own” who think and act like us and even look like us and practice the Faith as we do—but that is NOT what’s going on here). In order to overcome this disunity in Corinth, the brethren were challenged by Paul to examine themselves (approve themselves)—be those brethren who keep the unity among the factions which most certainly will be there—for some in Corinth were of Paul, some of Apollos, some of Peter and some, even, of Christ (1 Cor. 1:11-14; 3:4-9). We’re all affected by various ministers/ministries—“factions” (in a good way)—but we praise God for those “approved” brethren . . . in point of fact, all the brethren should seek such APPROVED CONDITION and, thus, embrace the unity of the Body of Christ . . . ridding ourselves of such disunity among the factions . . . ending factious disputations! What is “unworthily” here is not your sinful condition . . . well, yes, it is in one way . . . but what’s at stake here is our disunity we may have in the Ekklesia, the Body of Christ. It has everything to do with DISCERNING—CONTENDING for the Lord’s Body. The Corinthian Christians were NOT discerning the Lord’s One Body but holding to their factions—either to various ministry leaders or to their own economic differences. DISCERNING in the Greek (Strong’s #1252 – diakrino) literally means to “discern” or “contend” as per the Lord’s One Body—i.e., one who is approved (examined) is one who contends for the Lord’s One Body and is wholly opposed to separation of that One Body due to anything which would keep the brethren apart from one another (viz., a factious spirit). The Lord’s Supper is, yes, DO THIS IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME . . . but ME has everything to do with MY ONE BODY! You may be thinking our brother Doug borders on the sacrilegious in that he takes away from this expression of our celebration of the person of Christ Himself Who has forgiven us all our sins and has committed to us His very Life that we may live in His presence forevermore! Surely, He has so forgiven us and given to us His Eternal Life—but THAT’S NOT WHAT IS GOING ON HERE nor is such an emphasis exclusively celebrated each time we come to the Table of the Lord. Yes, remember Him, but know this: He’s remembering, if you would, His One Body . . . AND SO SHOULD WE! What is going on here—and the reason why some of God’s children at Corinth were getting sick, even unto death (1 Cor. 11:30)—has to do with the divisions among them/us. Why does Paul then say: “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment . . .“ (1 Cor. 11:31-34). Can you follow me here? Paul’s concern was for the Oneness of the Ekklesia—not for how we examine our sinful condition and then rehearse how He forgives us of our sins. Although we should keep short accounts with the Almighty . . . but again, that’s NOT the emphasis displayed at the Communion Table. It has everything to do with the Oneness of His One Body and our relationship thereto. Imagine, someone of Catholic persuasion partaking in this manner with a view that he or she is truly One Body with their Orthodox brethren—and the same goes for Protestants, Evangelicals and unaffiliated brethren. Our “gaze” should not be on our “Roman Catholic Communion” of parishioners but upon the whole Body of Christ! We’re not just one with all Baptists or Protestants but one with all who call upon the Name of the Lord! Yes, it sure sounds like when the Love Feast took place in Corinth folks had lots of food brought in by the brethren—yet, some were “more equal than others” . . . meaning, they (the rich) were hogging the goodies and stuffing themselves with the very own food they brought . . . better to eat at home than to display such selfish behavior. You come to this Table to declare there is but ONE BODY – One Bread – One Cup – but you act like there are a multitude of such entities (aka, DIVISIONS gone DIVISIVE, factions gone factious). Paul’s not asking them to drop all their factions and divisions or economic differences—but he’s sure appealing to them to stop with the divisive and factious behavior—let alone the outworking of their economic differences. Better for those to manifest who are approved; to examine yourself to see if you are contending for the Ekklesia, and NOT contending for your own belly! The best way to do this in REMEMBRANCE OF ME is to be at peace, at Oneness with all God’s children and to “love one another as I have loved you that you also love one another.” If you come to celebrate the Lord through a corporate meal—remember, you’re NOT the only one at the table—others are there to eat as well . . . it’s called SHARING. We SHARE the bread and the cup – but there is one bread so broken and one cup so shared. Indeed, if you’re that hungry, better to eat at home than to come to a Love Feast to gorge yourself! How practical is that? Very! I hope this little study on the Breaking of Bread has been helpful. We find in 1 Corinthians 11:17 through I Corinthians 14 one of the rarest glimpses of the Ekklesia’s gathering. Though it is but a brief window into how, what, when, why, and even where the Ekklesia comes together, it is simply a marvelous account of how brethren can experience Christ and bring the riches of their experience of Him to His One Body—SHARING in the “Table of His Love” - pouring out our love to Him and to one another through the love wherewith He first loved us! LUKE’S PASSING OF THE CUP BEFORE THE BREAD & CUP? I find it most fascinating how only in Luke’s gospel we read of the “passing of the cup” prior to the breaking of the bread and Jesus’ comment: “This cup is the New Covenant in My blood” being shared: “Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:15-18) It is only after these comments in Luke that we hear: “He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘this is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” (Luke 22:19-20). I am not concerned with the Passover practice of sundry cups prior to the bread and the wine (interesting though that may be); however, I am fixated upon Jesus’ behavior in Luke’s gospel to “take this (i.e., the cup) and divide it among yourselves.” Why? The singularity of this recording by Luke is theologically impressive! Does this suggest prior to the taking of the bread, the cup of His blood was shared? The other gospels do NOT indicate this sequence. God’s original intention was for humanity/mankind to partake of the Tree of Life in the Garden of God/Eden—to enjoy and be sustained by His Eternal Life; however, that intention was disrupted by rebellion, deception, and disobedience. So, we partake of the BREAD OF LIFE first and then, due to the fall of man, we partake of His Redemption, which brings us back, if you would, to the Tree of Life. But here, in Luke’s gospel we have the “passing around of the cup” - the cup whereof He said: “Take this and divided it among yourselves.” Paul certainly places the “bread before the cup” in 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. So what’s with the cup being passed around and divided among the disciples prior to the bread and the cup? Be aware of the fact that Luke does share the “sequence” of the bread (Luke 22:19) and then the “cup” (Luke 22:10). But is this simply (viz., Luke 22:17) a forethought or emphasis by Luke of what was going to take place in Luke 22:19 (i.e., the bread comes first and then the cup—Luke is just giving us a little foretaste prior to the actual sequence of events?)? Or, is there a more profound meaning going on here? The other gospels do NOT record this “prior sharing of the cup” in this manner. Could this be a glimpse of how the Body of Messiah would participate in ONE CUP of Blessing to be SHARED among them? It wasn’t Jesus serving each one of them the cup—they were dividing the cup (sharing the cup) among themselves . . . from disciple to disciple with the express intent that each would be able to drink therefrom . . . and not that anyone of them would drink it all; leaving nothing for the others. That’s the imagery that one derives from these statements. There appears to be an immediate reflection of His One Cup being shared by each of the disciples—they were doing the sharing under His injunction: DIVIDE IT AMONG YOURSELVES. Fascinating, when the cup is mentioned after the bread in Luke 22:20, He doesn’t tell them to drink it (nor record their drinking of the cup) as in Matthew 26:27; Mark 14:23-24; nor, for that matter Paul’s sequence of drinking from the cup found in 1 Corinthians 11:25. You may consider that I’m making “something out of nothing” - however, the Scriptures are inspired by the Holy Spirit—this is no faux pas on Luke’s part. Jesus fully intended them to mutually participate in this sharing of this cup PRIOR TO the bread and the cup being shared. The emphasis here is upon the disciples participation—what He has given to them, they are to share it with one another! When we do celebrate His Supper—we do so with the profound awareness we are One Body, at peace with all God’s people . . . and, if we have ought against any member, we ought to DISCERN, contend against such factious attitudes and divisive spirits within “ourselves” (aka, “let a man examine/approve himself”). Indeed, could these not be the “approved ones” who manifest when the “whole Ekklesia comes together?” I think so. May we earnestly seek to be those approved of God, who stand against our “own belly” — pass the cup brethren — and share in the love and joy given to us in Christ under the New Covenant by living out the New Commandment in answer to our Lord’s prayer in John 17: THAT THEY ALL MAY BE PERFECTED INTO ONE! “That they may be perfected in Unity” 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 2. Ibid. 3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacramental_union (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorialism (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 6. Henry Hon’s three books, with similar entitlements: One Ekklesia, One Truth, One Life & Glory illuminate the message of John 17 @ https://www.amazon.com/Henry-Hon/e/B07GK3T3W6%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 7. https://www.loverevolutionnow.org/ (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 8. https://www.loverevolutionnow.org/shop (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Commandment (retrieved on 11/11/2019) 10. Please note that the Last Supper took place on Nisan 13 (Passover Preparation Day) when the lamb is slain [for Jesus was crucified on this very day—the slaying of the Pascal Lamb] but the bodies of the crucified were taken from the crosses prior to the actual Passover Day [when the lamb is eaten] commencing on Nisan 14 at 6 p.m. that “same day” of His crucifixion; for the Hebrew calendar begins a “new day” in the evening/morning sequence from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the “next 24-hour time frame.” Therefore, He was buried on the Passover (Nisan 14) in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-56—the “Sabbath” being considered a “high holy day” on Passover in the “middle of the week” or Wednesday/Thursday (Nisan 13/14) based on the Julian Calendar, not the Gregorian calendar.