“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:16–17, KJV)
On many occasions, my wife and I will invite people over to our home for a meal. There is something special, something intimate about sitting with people and eating together. I find that eating a meal with someone does more than just fill our bellies. It joins people in a way that is deep. In that setting we join in not just the same food, but in someway we bond with one another. We share life’s experiences. We share our stories.
When we have people visit and eat with us, we normally speak of the great things that God has done in our lives. We share the testimonies of how the Lord rescued us by His grace and granted us eternal life. You see, when we, as believers, enjoy a meal with others, we are not the only ones there. The Lord is with us in a special way so that there is an intimacy of fellowship that is beyond the material and joins the eternal.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth and in this section began dealing with a believer’s freedom in eating foods. His opening phrase told them to “flee from idolatry.” Yet, in this section, Paul lays out a beautiful picture of the depth of true Christian fellowship. He does so by reminding them of their participation in the Lord’s Table. He wrote of the breaking of bread and the cup that they drank. This is the imagery that the Lord gave the church at the Passover meal the night He was betrayed prior to His crucifixion. It was a remembrance meal. They were to remember the body of Jesus broken for them and the blood of Jesus shed for them.
It is vital for us to grasp the deeper meaning of what Paul stated here. The word translated “communion,” is koinonia, which refers to partnership, literally participation. When the church came together to partake of this meal, there was something more than individual gratification and blessing that happened. Their participation together was an affirmation that they were all joined by the work of Christ into one body. The fact is that the church is one body, the body of Christ and their joint participation emphasized this truth.
However, the problem in the church is not the fact of our unity. The problem is that we often do not walk in the unity that we really have. We often do not act like we are one in the body of Christ, that we all are joined with Him vitally and intimately. The foundational truth that Paul wanted them to consider is their oneness with each other and with the Lord. He wanted them to count this truth as a fact in their hearts. In doing so, they would act differently towards one another and this would resolve the multitude of problems they were experiencing in the church.
We need to reinforce this truth today. When we participate in the Lord’s Supper, I truly like to have every person partake together. The reason is that it is a picture of the reality of what Christ has done for us and what He has made us. He has made us one in Him. When we partake of the elements of the communion meal, we truly must consider our joint participation in Christ. Let us put away all bitterness, grudges, unforgiveness, and all other wrongs that we have with one another. Let us renew our love for one another just as Christ has loved us.