Featured in the February, 2005 Issue of the Ashburn Baptist News
Through the centuries Christianity has acquired numerous symbols: the cross,
the triangle, the fish. But in the Bible, there are only two symbols: baptism
and the Lord’s Supper.
Both of these symbols center in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The baptism of the believer symbolizes acceptance of Christ and participation in
his death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6).
In the Supper, the sufferings of our Savior are the message.
The broken bread (I Corinthians 11:24) symbolizes our Lord’s broken body, and the
poured out cup (I Corinthians 11:25), symbolizes his blood shed for us.
As an example to us, Christ was baptized (Matt. 3:13-17). And it was Jesus who
instituted this memorial supper (Matt. 26:26-28).
Believers are commanded to participate in each of these ceremonies. Baptism was
clearly commanded by Christ (Matt. 28:19) and Jesus said of the Supper, “Do this
in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:18).
Since this Supper symbolizes Christ’s death for our sins, it has no meaning for
the person that has not received him as Savior. There is no magic in this meal
and it does not work any forgiveness of sins, since it is a symbol of what
Christ has done.
The Bible is clear that only believers who have been baptized should be
partaking of the Lord’s Supper and those baptized are members of the church
(Acts 2:41). After being baptized and banded with
the Lord’s people, then they participate in the Lord’s Supper.
But even one who is a believer, baptized and part of the Lord’s church should
not come thoughtlessly or carelessly to the Lord’s table. The apostle says, “A
man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.”
All sins should be confessed and forsaken before partaking of this sacred
supper, for the Scripture says, “Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing
the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (I Corinthians 11:19). This
is so serious that a careless participating in this ordinance can result in
sickness or even death (I Corinthians 11:30).
For nearly 2,000 years, the Lord’s churches have observed this sacred ceremony
and the Lord’s people have remembered their Savior’s sufferings by participating
in this Supper.