Let Us Keep the Feast

Let Us Keep the Feast

Ernest B. Sprunt

In the Book of Exodus, where the Lord is giving instruction regarding the feast of the Passover, He anticipates the question being asked, “What mean ye by this service?” In order that a correct answer be given to the inquiring one, the children of Israel were to be well-informed relative to the reason why this feast was observed and how it was kept.

Luke, chapter 22, takes us to the upper room where the Lord Jesus met with His disciples to keep the last Passover. He gave to His own a new feast, for He took bread and having given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you.” Surely the Christian of today, like the Israelite, needs to know the importance and significance of the service of remembrance which he is thus enjoined to observe.

Let us, therefore, consider some of the things that are indicated by a direct revelation from the Lord to the Apostle Paul: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:24-29).

The passage shows us, first of all, that this feast was characterized by

Simplicity

The common concept of a banquet is a table laden with the finest of delectable foods and liquors so that the guests may eat and drink to the point of gluttony and intoxication. How strange, then, must seem a feast that consists of a morsel of bread and a mouthful of wine! The Corinthians, however, were solemnly admonished not to turn the remembrance feast into a banquet, lest they come together unto condemnation. Let us ever seek to maintain scriptural simplicity when we gather to remember our Lord Jesus Christ.

This feast carries with it a note of

Sadness

After the death of a beloved Christian it was revealed that, shortly before her homegoing, she had written a request that every sister in the assembly receive a piece of her china as a token of remembrance. How carefully the women would keep this memento, prizing it far above its actual monetary value because of their esteem for the one who had left it to them! With tears, every time the piece of china was observed, they would recall the loveliness of the departed one.

Similarly, our hearts are softened as we ponder that our dearest Friend, the Lord Jesus, gave to us a loving remembrance of Himself in the bread and wine. With what reverence and tenderness we should keep the feast seeing it was the last request of our Absent Lord!

Notice that this feast was instituted in the same night in which He was betrayed. He so soon was to be rejected by His people, the Jews; sold by His companion, Judas, for thirty pieces of silver; forsaken by His own disciples as they turned to their own families. At such a time He left for us this cable to keep us from drifting away from Himself. Can we therefore refuse His dying request, or turn our backs on Him, or seek after worldly pursuits, or engage in any other activities which would prevent us from keeping the feast in remembrance of Himself?

The Lord’s supper is not observed solely because of sentiment; rather, we learn through the Scriptures its deep

Significance

According to His own words concerning the bread, He declared, “This is My body which is given for you.” Likewise, of the cup He said, “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22: 19).

The bread would tell us of His incarnation through which, in obedience and humility, He took upon Himself the body which was prepared for Him and tabernacled among men. It would enable us to recall His suffering and death at Calvary, where He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. It would speak of His giving Himself as a sacrifice for sin, acceptable, well-pleasing to God.

The cup signifies the blood which was shed for us, that precious, precious blood of the Lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:9). This is the very blood which cleanses us from all sin and brings us nigh to God. By means of the blood of Christ we are all, as believers, made unto our God holy priests to offer up spiritual sacrifices, the fruit of our lips, giving praise to God.

Who would dare to esteem lightly the bread and the wine, seeing these have such a significant meaning to the child of God?

The intelligent reader of the Word, having learned the meaning of the emblems, finds in the feast a

Sweetness

We sit down beneath the shadow of Calvary’s tree with great delight and enjoy the fruits of His suffering and death. Sitting there we realize that He bore the wrath in our stead, for He said that His body was given for us and His blood was shed for us.

Sweet, too, is the thought that we remember and worship the One Who is now living in Glory, rather than one who has died and gone to corruption. With the eye of faith we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour, of which He is abundantly worthy because of the triumphs of His death.

We also enjoy the sweetness of His promised return, when He will transport us from earth into His own presence in eternal glory. The showing forth of the Lord’s death is “till He come.” How blessed to remember Him in His death, His resurrection, and in the hope of His coming again!

The closing verses of 1 Corinthians 2 assert that with the observance of the Lord’s supper there is associated a

Solemnity

Those who participate must first examine themselves lest they eat and drink judgment to themselves through partaking of the emblems unworthily. Let us notice that the Scriptures declare some to be ineligible to keep the feast, for to do so would bring upon themselves the judging hand of God.

The unconverted man must not eat, because he has not accepted the truth of Christ’s death as a sacrifice for his sins nor has he owned His Lordship. The Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper are reserved for those who have first acknowledged Christ as Saviour and Lord. The Corinthians are given the admonition, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (2 Cor. 6:14).

The unclean man should not eat. The Scriptures teach that one who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, must be put away from the assembly. “With such an one no not to eat” (1 Cor. 5:11). “Therefore put away from yourselves that wicked person” (v 13). If one were guilty of such sins as are listed in the passage, self-examination would lead to confession, thus sparing the offender from eating and drinking judgment to himself.

The unmindful man is not worthy to eat. God so highly esteems the Person of His Son and His sacrifice at Calvary that He will not look lightly upon any who enter into His presence carelessly to worship, whether this be through lack of knowledge of the Scriptures or through want of consideration for the significance of the bread and wine. We are not to keep the feast with “the leaven of malice and wickedness” (1 Cor. 5:8) but, rather, we are to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:22).

Therefore, let us keep the feast with sincerity and truth, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.”