1 Corinthians 11:23-34
23 “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a person must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For the one who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not properly recognize the body. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number are asleep.31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, have him eat at home, so that you do not come together for judgment. As to the remaining matters, I will give instructions when I come.”
Do this in remembrance of me: Paul makes it clear that Jesus wanted the Lord’s Supper to be a celebration. We are to take the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus’s finished work on the cross. According to Paul this action was not, therefore, an action to become right with God.
The New Covenant in my blood: The New Covenant began at Jesus’s death. This New Covenant promises total forgiveness and a new nature to all who believe in Jesus (See Hebrews 8 and 10). Therefore, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper ought to be focused on these New Covenant realities achieved by Jesus Christ.
Proclaim: The Lord’s Supper is about proclaiming the Gospel of grace. Notice that Paul does not express that communion is about becoming right with God or more purified. Rather, it is about proclaiming and remembering Jesus and His finished work on the cross. Believers are qualified by the work of Christ. Therefore, we are to take the Lord’s Supper with this in mind.
Unworthy way: Drunkenness and gluttony were rampant at the Lord’s Supper. Paul wanted the believers to examine themselves to make sure they were not contributing the problem and instead drinking and eating in remembrance of Christ. It is also important to note that Paul is not excluding anyone from taking the Lord’s Supper. This lifestyle was making people weak and sick (see verse 30).
Drinks judgment: The key is understanding where the judgment originates. In the context it is not God who is judging but rather people. This judgment of people arises out of the divisions occurring because of the misuse of the Lord’s Supper. Those who were being neglected were being judged by those who were drunk and gluttonous. Likewise, the drunk and gluttonous were being judged by the neglected. It is within this context that Paul encourages the believers to judge themselves well to ensure that they take the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ instead of something that is disrespectful.
Judged ourselves rightly: Paul wanted the believers to have right motives while eating of the Lord’s Supper. The wrong motives were causing division within the church.
Disciplined by the Lord: Paul considers the judgment occurring within the church to be discipline from God. The judgment is used by God to expose the wrong intentions of those who were becoming drunk and gluttonous. God sometimes uses people to correct us when our behavior is unfitting with our identity in Christ.