So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. – 1Cor. 11:27 NIV
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The Apostle Paul was addressing several issues with regards to the Christian community in Corinth and it was time to address the issue surrounding the taking of the Holy Communion. Apparently, some people had showed some form of disregard for this sacred act that has probably led to weakness, sickness and death amongst them a situation that the Apostle Paul was obviously not happy with. He however had to firstly address the issue of disagreements which he says must always occur in order to know who has God’s approval, but observed that such disagreements was making their gathering together produce more harm than good for them – 1Cor. 11:17-19.
This is because they partake in the ceremony of the Holy Communion with this disagreements still high on their minds. Emphasising that he passed to them what he got directly from the teaching of Jesus Christ, he expected that all will eat one meal at the same time but because of these disagreements, some were not only bringing their own supper, but also eating without bothering about the presence of others, or worse still the lack of some, while they were not only eating but even becoming overfed. All these negates the conditions for partaking in the ceremony of Holy Communion which will make the ceremony not produce the expected and desired result – 1Cor. 11:20-21. There was no need for anyone to attempt to humiliate the church of God by such acts, after all, such a person could have eaten the supper at home if he/she was not willing to comply with the rules guiding the ceremony. He made it clear that the ceremony was beyond the physical act of eating but was a symbolic demonstration of the proclamation of the death of Christ which should be done regularly until he returns – 1Cor. 11:23-26.
This is why whoever participates in this ceremony, in a manner that he described as unworthy will be committing sin against the body and blood of the Lord, which is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion.
In this scripture, Paul identifies the following:
1. Disagreements was normal as there will always be the need to debate who had the right and approved knowledge of the Gospel.
2. Such disagreements was not enough reason to participate in the ceremony of the Holy Communion with negative thoughts and acts, as that negates the essence of the ceremony.
3. The ceremony of the Holy Communion is simply to keep the death of Christ as a major issue in the consciousness of all, until his return.
4. It is possible to participate in the ceremony of the Holy Communion in an unworthy manner and that will constitute a transgression against the body and blood of Christ.
Several Christian groups today administer the Holy Communion to its members, albeit in different manner, all in an attempt to follow the injunction of our Lord Jesus Christ. One however wonders whether this observation and instructions of Paul are effectively communicated to the communicants. Just as the Apostle indicated, disagreements should not be a hindrance to effective participation in this ceremony as long as the intending communicant has completely put aside all manner of disagreements and is not involved in acts that are contrary to all the principles surrounding participation in the ceremony. As far as the Apostle Paul is concerned, failure to either communicate this or non-adherence to it by intending communicants remains a major cause of weakness, sickness and death within the Christian community (1Cor. 11:30), negative events that could have been avoided if Christians were more discerning with themselves – 1Cor. 11:31. Apostle Paul believes God cannot be blamed if he judges Christians in this manner as it is His approach to avoiding greater judgement for us when He is to judge the world – 1Cor. 11:32.
It is therefore advisable that the average Christian should avoid this punishment of God that can ultimately be fatal and for which the Almighty cannot be blamed, by ensuring that they do a honest self assessment and confirm that they are worthy to participate in this ceremony. Partaking in it in anger and bitterness could just be the reason for that your physical and spiritual weakness and sickness. Adjust today to avoid spiritual or even physical death. May God save us from such negatives over our lives in Jesus name. Amen.