At the King's Table
Jesus reclined at the table
Jesus had a fervent desire to share this meal
The Cup of Oneness
At this time I want ask all of you to get your communion cup
The bread as the “body of Christ”
The Body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. At the last supper (Mt 26:26–29; Mk 14:22–25; Lk 22:15–20; 1 Cor 11:23–26), which accompanied the Passover supper, Jesus held up a loaf of bread and said, “This is my body”; then he picked up a cup of wine and said, “This is my blood of the covenant” (Mt 26:28). Jesus meant that the bread symbolized his body, which would be broken when he was beaten at his trial and pierced at his crucifixion (Lk 23:33; Jn 19:1, 2). The apostle Paul said that “Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7), meaning that the Passover lamb in the OT was an object lesson pointing to “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29).
For Christians, the body of Christ is viewed symbolically as a broken body (Mt 8:17; 1 Pt 2:24; cf. Is 53:4, 5) in the breaking of the bread at the Lord’s Supper. The cup is a sign of his blood poured out, viewed as the central factor in God’s covenant of grace with his people. Jesus referred to “the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:20). The whole ceremony of the Lord’s Supper was also to be a memorial (1 Cor 11:25, 26). In the ceremony believers are reminded that Christ died for sinners, that is, for the forgiveness of their sins (Mt 26:28). They are also reminded that they are participating in the body of Christ in that they are united with him (Rom 6:1–11; 1 Cor 10:16; Gal 2:20; Phil 3:10).
The Body of Christ Viewed as the People of God. The phrase “body of Christ” is also used as a metaphor for the whole church, a unity of believers connected with and dependent V 1, p 372 p 372 on Christ. God’s people are thus said to be members of Christ’s “mystical body” (1 Cor 12:27), in fellowship with Christ and spiritually nourished by him (Eph 5:25b, 29). A number of other metaphors are also used for the whole people of God, such as the vine (Ps 80:8), temple of God (1 Cor 3:16, 17), building (1 Pt 2:5), chosen people (v 9), and family of God (Eph 3:15). Such metaphors amplify the interrelatedness, communion, and dependence of the “body of Christ” upon the living God.
The term “body of Christ” was often used by Paul to remind a local church that it was a vital part of the larger body. Paul said to the church at Rome, “For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom 12:4, 5). Paul taught the Corinthian Christians that they, individually and collectively, were part of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27). They and Paul were all baptized by one Spirit into that one body (v 13; Eph 5:30).
In the NT the term “body of Christ” is used to mean both the universal church and each local group of believers. In both senses the church is said to be the spiritual body in which believing Jews and Gentiles are united (Eph 2:14–16; 3:6; 4:4). It is the body that Christ redeemed (Eph 5:23b), over which he presides (Col 1:18) and sovereignly rules (Eph 1:22, 23) and for which he supplies strength and unity (4:15, 16; Col 2:19).
Christian believers are said to be “baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). Scripture also describes this baptism as being divinely “born anew” by the Spirit of God (Jn 3:3–5), and becoming “new creations in Christ” (2 Cor 5:17) through a spiritual “washing of regeneration” of sins and renewal (Ti 3:5, 6). The believers who make up the one body of Christ are said to share together in partaking of Christ the one loaf, the one who is the bread of life (Jn 6:35), set forth symbolically in the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 10:16, 17).
Each member of the body of Christ has been given spiritual gifts with which to serve Christ in the body (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:11). Such gifts are enumerated several times in Scripture, and range from apostleship and pastoring to encouraging and showing mercy (Rom 12:7, 8; Eph 4:11). The ministry of serving is to be shared by all Christians, for example, through giving to the physical needs of others (Acts 11:29, 30; 1 Cor 16:1–4; 2 Cor 8:1–5) and praying for one another (Eph 1:15–23; 3:14–19; 6:18–20). No one should look down on others or on their gifts, since God has chosen each one to function in his or her place in the body (1 Cor 12:14–26). The gifts are given “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph 4:12, 13). The goal is “to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ” (vv 15, 16).