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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 75 - 1 Corinthians 11:20 - The Heavenly Banquet Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


Let me notice here the many words which are connected with "the Lord" by the apostle: The Lord's body, verse 29; the Lord's blood, verse 27; the Lord's bread, verse 27; the Lord's cup, verse 27; the Lord's death, verse 26; the Lord's supper, 20. For in this ordinance Christ is all and in all; everything here speaks of Jesus, and He speaks in everything; He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. His name is here as ointment poured forth; its spikenard sendeth forth its smell; He is as a bundle of myrrh, a cluster of camphire from the vineyards of Engedi. Here our fig-trees put forth their green figs, and our vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Here is the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense, on which we sit and wait till the day break, and the shadows flee away. Christ is here "all and in all."

Why does the apostle call it the Lord's supper? Supper was the chief meal of the day; and besides, this feast, at its first introduction, was really a supper, like the passover; an evening meal, partaken of at the close of the day's toil and weariness:

I. The Lord appointed it. On the night in which He was betrayed, He took the bread and wine, saying, Do this in remembrance of me. This then is His commandment. If a stranger ask, What is the meaning of this, and why do you observe this peculiar rite? we answer, The Master has bidden us. He instituted the ordinance, and so we call it by His name, the Lords supper. It is not man's feast, or the church's feast, it is the feast of the Lord. Each observance of it carries us straight back to the first institution by the Lord Himself. He has bidden us thus shew His death till He come.

II. He provides. The feast of fat things is of His providing, so is the table, so is the banqueting house, so is the raiment. All the viands are of His selection, His purchase, His setting out. He is both appointer and provider. The provisions must be rare, and suitable, and nourishing, in such a case. The fruit gathered by Him must be sweet to our taste; the grapes, and pomegranates, and figs, and olives, the milk, and honey, and wine, are all of His procuring. They have come out of His garden and storehouse, they have been gathered, and set on the table by Himself. His wisdom knows what we need, and His love prepares it all.

III. He invites. Come, is His message to us! My oxen and fatlings are killed, all things are ready, come to the marriage, come to the feast; eat, O friends; drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved. In coming to the table, do we remind ourselves of Christ's invitation, and say to ourselves, I come because the Lord invited me? Who am I that I should refuse His loving message? He bids me, and I come. It is the Lord's supper, because He invites us to it.

IV. He is Himself the feast. He is the Paschal Lamb. He is the bread and wine. Yes; Christ is Himself the provision, as well as the Provider. It is on His body and blood that we feed; His flesh is meat and His blood is drink indeed. Everything at the table speaks of Christ himself as the real and true food of our souls. All that bread is to us, Christ's body is to our souls. All that wine is to us, Christ's blood is to our souls; and in partaking of the bread and wine, we feed by faith upon the body and blood of the Lord.

V. He partakes with us. He sits at the table Himself, and forms one of our number. The feast is for Him as well as for us. Here we have fellowship with Him and He with us. Here we have the closest and dearest intercourse that we can have on earth. We see eye to eye, we speak face to face. He gives us His love, and we give Him ours. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine," is the motto of the feast.

Such are the reasons why this feast is called the Lord's Supper. Seated at this table, and partaking of this Supper,

(1.) We look backward. And as we look back, we see the passover, we see the shew bread, we see the cross. These all come before us as we sit at the table.

(2.) We look forward. For we shew His death till He come. We fix our eye on the coming glory, on the resurrection blessedness, on the marriage supper of the Lamb. How bright that future seems in a dark world like ours!

(3.) We look inward. In doing so, we ask, Is my soul prospering? This feast is meant to nourish, Is it flourishing me? It is meant to quicken all my graces, faith, and love, and hope, Is it doing so to me? It is meant to elevate my affections, Is it doing so to me? Do I find my spiritual being invigorated and quickened by these heavenly viands, and by this divine fellowship?

(4.) We look around. Brethren in the Lord are on each side. Our fellow believers, our fellow pilgrims,—heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,—fellow citizens of the New Jerusalem. In each face we see one who has joined himself to our common Lord,—one who is a member of the one body, whose head is Christ. Love circulates around, as well as joy and peace.

(5.) We look outward. We cannot, at a feast like this, forget a world which is famishing; shutting itself out from this heavenly feast, and reveling in its lusts and vanities. Poor world! We say. Thou hast no gracious Master, no heavenly table, no life giving bread and wine. Oh that ye would bethink yourselves, and turn to Him who is the Bread of Life. We pity you, we pray for you, we plead with you to come.

For here at this table we find all we need,—the fullness of Christ. Here we taste.

(1.) His love. It is love that passeth knowledge, the love of Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. Yes; the love of Christ fills that cup, and pervades that bread.

(2.) His peace and joy. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." "These things have I spoken to you, that my joy might remain in you."

(3.) His consolations. These come to us with special power here. This is the place of comfort, the table of comfort. Here we have Christ as the Comforter, and the Holy Ghost also as such.

(4.) His glory. For that glory is our hope, specially at the table. Here we get the foretaste of it. As we eat and drink, we realize the coming glory in the day of His appearing, when that day shall break, and the shadows flee away. "Till He come!" This is our communion watchword. "Till He come!" This is the voice of the bread and wine. In them this blessed hope is wrapped up. To this they point and beckon us. Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him!