Perhaps one of the keenest reminders of our Christian fallibility is that the Lord’s Supper, instituted as a simple act promoting fellowship, has become the subject of complicated debate and blatant division. Yet through all the controversy, certain indisputable biblical realities about the Supper still stand as a basis for unity and a starting point for profitable use.

1. The Supper was instituted by our Lord. This means it is not an option or luxury. Even if only out of obedience—not the worst of reasons—Christians are to be present at it. But another meaning is that the Supper is not a useless ceremony, like many of the things men institute. The Lord was not demanding obedience merely for its own sake; he was demanding it for our good. He had a purpose. A last implication is that no matter what we think about the “real presence,” the Lord is surely host at his own table, and we come as his guests. The Supper is a privilege as well as a duty and benefit. It is the Lord’s.

2. The Lord’s Supper was instituted in a Passover setting. This yields many valuable insights. It establishes a relation with God’s congregation or people in the Old Testament. It suggests the interrelation of type and antitype, or of prophecy and fulfillment. It brings into focus the continuity of God’s plan and its execution. Above all, it directs attention to the fact that God’s people in both Old Testament and New became his people by his own act of deliverance. As the Passover reenacts the meal on the eve of the redemption out of Egypt, so the Lord’s Supper reenacts the meal on the eve of liberation from sin and death. On the one hand is the Passover lamb, on the other hand the Lamb of God.

3. This leads on to the next consideration, that the Lord’s ...

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