1. THE LORD’S SUPPER
a. Why has Christ established the Communion service for us—and what is to be our attitude regarding it? Matthew 26:26–29; 1 Corinthians 11:26.
“In partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, Christ pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer. He committed to them the new covenant, by which all who receive Him become children of God, and joint heirs with Christ. By this covenant every blessing that heaven could bestow for this life and the life to come was theirs. This covenant deed was to be ratified with the blood of Christ. And the administration of the Sacrament was to keep before the disciples the infinite sacrifice made for each of them individually as a part of the great whole of fallen humanity.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 656-659.
“The Communion service points to Christ’s second coming.”—Ibid., p.659.
“None should exclude themselves from the Communion because some who are unworthy may be present. Every disciple is called upon to participate publicly, and thus bear witness that he accepts Christ as a personal Saviour. It is at these, His own appointments, that Christ meets His people, and energizes them by His presence. Hearts and hands that are unworthy may even administer the ordinance, yet Christ is there to minister to His children.”—Ibid., p.656.
2. CHRIST, THE BREAD OF HEAVEN
a. How did Christ identify Himself with the life-giving provision of bread? 1 Corinthians 11:23–25; John 6:33–35, 50, 51, 63.
“To eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ is to receive Him as a personal Saviour, believing that He forgives our sins, and that we are complete in Him. It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life. His love, His grace, must be assimilated.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 389.
“The life of Christ that gives life to the world is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons; by His word He stilled the sea, and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ, and the Saviour desired to fix the faith of His followers on the word. When His visible presence should be withdrawn, the word must be their source of power.”—Ibid., p.390.
b. What should we learn from the way Christ responded when challenged by Satan to abuse His creative power for selfish purposes? Matthew 4:4.
“As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the word for ourselves. We are not to obtain it merely through the medium of another’s mind. We should carefully study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His word. We should take one verse, and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’”—Ibid.
“As the Son of God lived by faith in the Father, so are we to live by faith in Christ. So fully was Jesus surrendered to the will of God that the Father alone appeared in His life. Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus we also are to overcome as Christ overcame.”—Ibid., p.389.
3. THE WINE
a. What kind of wine was offered by Christ at the wedding in Cana and the Communion service? Isaiah 65:8.
“The wine which Christ provided for the feast, and that which He gave to the disciples as a symbol of His own blood, was the pure juice of the grape. To this the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of the new wine ‘in the cluster,’ and says, ‘Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it.’ Isaiah 65:8.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 149.
“The Communion service points to Christ’s second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples. Whenever they met together to commemorate His death, they recounted how ‘He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.’ In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord’s return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, ‘As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26.”—Ibid., p.659.
b. What precious promise is found in 1 John 1:7?
“The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought. The enemy of God and man is not willing that this truth should be clearly presented; for he knows that if the people receive it fully, his power will be broken. . . .
“That simple faith which takes God at His word should be encouraged. God’s people must have that faith which will lay hold of divine power; ‘for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.’ [Ephesians 2:8.] Those who believe that God for Christ’s sake has forgiven their sins, should not, through temptation, fail to press on to fight the good fight of faith. Their faith should grow stronger until their Christian life, as well as their words, shall declare, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ . . . cleanseth us from all sin.’ [1 John 1:7.]”—Gospel Workers, p. 161.
a. Who can partake of the Lord’s Supper? 1 Corinthians 11:27, 29. Give an example of when it was taken unworthily. John 13:10, 11, 18.
“Judas the betrayer was present at the sacramental service. He received from Jesus the emblems of His broken body and His spilled blood. He heard the words, ‘This do in remembrance of Me.’ And sitting there in the very presence of the Lamb of God, the betrayer brooded upon his own dark purposes, and cherished his sullen, revengeful thoughts.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 653.
b. Though a member of the twelve, why was Judas unworthy in heart to partake of the Communion? What preparation was intended to soften his hard heart—and is needed by us, too? John 13:14, 15.
“The constraining power of that love [of Jesus] was felt by Judas. When the Saviour’s hands were bathing those soiled feet, and wiping them with the towel, the heart of Judas thrilled through and through with the impulse then and there to confess his sin. But he would not humble himself. He hardened his heart against repentance; and the old impulses, for the moment put aside, again controlled him. Judas was now offended at Christ’s act in washing the feet of His disciples. If Jesus could so humble Himself, he thought, He could not be Israel’s king. All hope of worldly honor in a temporal kingdom was destroyed. Judas was satisfied that there was nothing to be gained by following Christ. After seeing Him degrade Himself, as he thought, he was confirmed in his purpose to disown Him, and confess himself deceived. He was possessed by a demon, and he resolved to complete the work he had agreed to do in betraying his Lord.”—Ibid., p.645.
“[Christ] had washed the feet of Judas, but the heart had not been yielded to Him. It was not purified. Judas had not submitted himself to Christ.”—Ibid., p.649.
“There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for self, to seek the highest place; and often this results in evil surmisings and bitterness of spirit. The ordinance preceding the Lord’s Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of heart that will lead him to serve his brother.”—Ibid., p.650.
a. Before the service, what action should we take? 1 Corinthians 11:28.
“The holy Watcher from heaven is present at this season [of feet washing] to make it one of soul searching, of conviction of sin, and of the blessed assurance of sins forgiven. Christ in the fullness of His grace is there to change the current of the thoughts that have been running in selfish channels. The Holy Spirit quickens the sensibilities of those who follow the example of their Lord. As the Saviour’s humiliation for us is remembered, thought links with thought; a chain of memories is called up, memories of God’s great goodness and of the favor and tenderness of earthly friends. Blessings forgotten, mercies abused, kindnesses slighted, are called to mind. Roots of bitterness that have crowded out the precious plant of love are made manifest. Defects of character, neglect of duties, ingratitude to God, coldness toward our brethren, are called to remembrance. Sin is seen in the light in which God views it. Our thoughts are not thoughts of self-complacency, but of severe self-censure and humiliation. The mind is energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation. Evil thinking and evilspeaking are put away.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 650, 651.
b. How can we be worthy to take part in the Lord’s Supper? Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:8, 9.
“Sins are confessed, they are forgiven. The subduing grace of Christ comes into the soul, and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity.”—Ibid., p.651.
“You who feel the most unworthy, fear not to commit your case to God. When He gave Himself in Christ for the sin of the world, He undertook the case of every soul.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 174.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How does Jesus want me to benefit from the Communion service?
2. Why does the Lord refer to Himself as the Bread of life?
3. What should be our focus when partaking of the Communion wine?
4. Why do we need to be worthy to come to the Lord’s table?
5. How can I be better prepared for my next Communion service?