Table Manners: Discerning the Body

Those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. — 1 Corinthians 11:29

1 Corinthians 11:29

A major problem the apostle Paul had to deal with in the Corinthian church was this: some members of the church were gorging themselves on the communion bread and getting drunk on the wine, and they were leaving others without any bread or wine to share!

These new believers in Christ needed to learn that this was not what the Lord desired. He wanted them to take the bread and wine with thankfulness and reverence. After all, Jesus called these elements his “body” and his “blood,” and then he offered his life as a sacrifice for his church.

When the Israelites received manna in the desert, they were told to gather not too much or too little, but just what they needed (Exodus 16:16-18). Paul wanted the same for the Corinthian church: receive what you need from God’s generosity and, in turn, be ­generous to others.

Otherwise, said Paul, they were not “discerning the body of Christ,” and they were eating and drinking “judgment on themselves.” In other words, when people do not humbly reflect on the meaning of the bread and wine (Christ’s gracious gift of himself to pay for all our sins), they disrespect both the gift and the giver, “sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”

So when we come to the table, may we humbly acknowledge the gift of Christ our Savior, and may we be thankful.

Lord Christ, help us to reflect on the meaning and beauty of your sacrifice for us. Give us humility and joy. In your name, Amen.

Bible References

17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

23 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:

24 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.

25 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.

26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

27 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.

28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Passion For God’s Purpose

Know What You Believe