1 Corinthians 11 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the L_rd in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment upon himself. This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, that we may not be condemned by the world.” 1 Corinthians 11:27-32
Almost every time I have partaken in what the “Church” calls “The Lord’s Supper” or “Communion”, a pastor has mentioned today’s passage: “Whoever eats or drinks the cup of the L_rd in an unworthy manner…”. “Unworthy” is most often taught to mean, “non-believer”. The pastoral exhortation is usually accompanied with an invitation for a non-believer to believe and follow Jesus (Yeshua), before eating & drinking judgment upon themselves by taking Communion in an “unworthy manner”.
It is always a good thing to lead people to a moment where they are given the opportunity to choose Yeshua, and I believe the “remembrance” evoked in replicating the events of that “Last Seder” (Last Supper) was intended to bless believers. But reading today’s chapter, I wonder if the aforementioned scenario that Paul describes was intended to accurately sum-up a specific issue in the Corinthian Messianic community, and less an instruction on how to observe the sacraments.
First off, the topic Paul is addressing is self-serving activities among professing believers. “For, to begin with, I hear that when you come together as a congregation, there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.” 1 Corinthians 11:18
There were social cliques and class divisions among the body of believers. Paul was reminding the Corinthian believers of the graciousness Yeshua displayed, while serving His disciples. Furthermore, Paul exhorts that those guilty of discrimination had abandoned the essence of the “Last Seder”, perhaps, calling their faith into question.
“For as often as you eat and drink this cup, you proclaim the L_rd’s death until He comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26
I learned in kindergarten: You are what you eat. When we take into ourselves the bread and cup, we are reaffirming our commitment to live sacrificially…even unto death…laying down our lives as an example, so that others may enter-into a saving relationship with Yeshua and commune with Him as we do.
Perhaps, to “eat in an unworthy manner”, means that a believer would receive these elements into his body, all the while blaspheming them, by refusing to live sacrificially. It would be akin to breaking the Third Commandment: Do not use the L_rd’s Name in vain.” This would invoke the judgment of G_d, which leads to the disciplined correction of His children. The end goal being that the reputation of G_d’s Holiness among His people would be preserved in the World…so that those in the World, in turn, would believe in Yeshua.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Tuesday, September 10, 2013