We believe that the most important event in the world’s history is the death of Jesus Christ. At the Lord’s supper we remember why Christ did what He did.
In 1 Corinthians Paul describes what happened at the last supper where Jesus told His disciples to eat the bead and drink from the cup in remembrance of Him (1 Cor. 11:23-25). Then Paul says,
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26NIV).
“For” shows a reason we repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. This is new revelation beyond the Gospels. The reason is to “proclaim the Lord’s death”. The Greek verb “kataggello” (Strongs #2605) means to proclaim, announce, or declare. It’s in the present active indicative showing that the declaring is an ongoing process. It’s a proclamation of a physical death that provides forgiveness. It took the physical death of the body of Christ to save our souls. Participation in the Lord’s Supper is like a visible sermon where we proclaim the Lord’s death to one another.
“Whenever” shows we repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. The Greek adverb “hosakis” (Strongs #3740) means as often as, as many times as or whenever. It seems clear from Paul’s visit to Troas in Acts 20:7 that the practice of the early church was to meet on the first day of the week to remember the Lord. But this was not just for the early church as the church is said to do it until Jesus Christ returns. That’s what we do it each Sunday morning. It’s a good way to start the week.
“You eat this bread and drink this cup”, describes the two visual aids used in the Lord’s Supper to “proclaim the Lord’s death”. The bread symbolizes His body and the cup of wine symbolizes His blood (death). The bread represents the person of Christ, and the blood the work of Christ.
“Until He comes” says how long we are to repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. The Lord’s Supper is more than a memorial celebration of Christ’s body and blood (death); it’s an anticipation of seeing Him again. We are to do it until He comes again to take us to heaven. In the meantime we repeat the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis and wait for Christ’s return.
When we take the bread and wine we are declaring the importance of Christ’s death. It’s important because God saves people only by means of Christ’s death (1 Cor. 1:18). We are proclaiming that Christ’s sacrificial death provides forgiveness and peace with God. We recall His suffering and death and the blessings and benefits which come from His death and resurrection. And we offer thanks and praise for all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ.