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  • Writer's pictureJohn Davis

The Tiny Lord's Supper

During the sermon last Sunday we read the following text from 1 Corinthians:

When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. 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, (1 Corinthians 11:20–23, ESV)

I mentioned during the sermon that the Lord's Supper used to be much more of a meal the congregation ate with one another. You can see this from the text above. So why has it turned into a tiny cup with some grape juice along with a tiny cracker?

I don't have evidence for this, but my best guess is that the shrinking of the Supper over the years was done in an effort to avoid the abuse of it, such as the situation in Corinth Paul was addressing above. Clearly, you are not going to satisfy your hunger or thirst with the small amounts we take during communion each week. Thus, instead of focusing on our hunger or thirst, we instead focus on what the Supper is all about, namely Christ and his death and our unity with one another.

Is the way we do it now unbiblical because it is seemingly different than the way they did things in Corinth? No, for two reasons. First, nowhere in Scripture will you find a command regarding the portion size of the Lord's Supper. This is simply a matter of prudence. Second, when Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, he did so with the "fruit of the vine" (which makes grape juice instead of wine acceptable) and "unleavened bread."


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