By Lee Magness
Many of us call the meal “the Lord’s Supper” (1 Corinthians 11:20), but the Greek word translated “Lord’s” is not a possessive noun, but a descriptive adjective. Although the meal does belong to the Lord (Jesus inaugurated the meal, is present in the meal, presides at the meal, etc.), Paul was emphasizing that the meal is characterized by the Lord. It is the Lordly Supper. In every way it is focused on him—past, present, and future.
The meal is a remembrance of Jesus past, not just a memorial of the meal he instituted, but a recollection of his very person. “This is my body . . . do this in remembrance of me. . . . This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25, author emphasis).
The meal is also a proclamation of Jesus present, a dramatic announcement and reenactment of his atoning death: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
And the meal is an anticipation of Jesus future, one of the most meaningful ways we have of leaning into God’s future, living in his constant presence “until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
At the Lordly Supper, we must keep the focus on Christ.
This Communion meditation is excerpted from “Meeting and Meaning at the Lord’s Supper,” by Lee Magness, from 2012.