The Cup of Blessing

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  11 : 23-26
Subject: Lord's Supper; Communion
Introduction

The Passover recorded in the book of Exodus will always serve as a backdrop for the Lord’s Supper in which Jesus participated and the Lord’s Supper was instituted.

This passage in 1 Corinthians is like a diamond against a black backdrop. One of the most beautiful passages is given in the middle of a story of rebuke of worldly, carnal, selfish and insensitive attitudes and behavior.

The most beautiful and meaningful of Christian celebrations was instituted on the very night the Lord was arrested and betrayed. In the midst of the world’s evil, God establishes His good; in the midst of Satan’s wickedness, God plants His holiness. In the midst of Satan’s absolute worst, the condemnation of the Son of God on the cross, God accomplished His absolute best, the sacrifice for the redemption of the world through the cross.

In the Passover meal there are 4 cups of wine used, each bring their own significance. Let’s study together with special emphasis on the 3rd cup.

I. The Cup of Sanctification

The head of the family pronounces a blessing over the first cup; the cup is shared, blessed by herbs dipped in a fruit sauce. The head of the family would call the rest of the family to attention and would then proceed to offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God and a prayer to sanctify the family for this special meal. It was a time of spiritual preparation. This prayer of thanksgiving would remind those listening of their gratefulness toward God and how God deserved our gratitude, in light of the fact that they were present at the table and not in bondage to Egypt even still.

Gratitude For Freedom God granted.

The sanctification would give them the right heart to take part in the coming events of the supper.

II. The Cup of Declaration

It was at this point, the youngest son would ask why this night is different from other nights, why unleavened bread is eaten on this night? In reply, the head of the family tells the story of the exodus from Egypt and delivers an explanation of Deuteronomy 26:5-11.

Deuteronomy 26:5-11

“”And you shall answer and say before the Lord your God: 'My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid hard bondage on us. Then we cried out to the Lord God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders. He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, ": a land flowing with milk and honey:"; and now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, O Lord, have given me.'

"Then you shall set it before the Lord your God, and worship before the Lord your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you.’”

This is a Confession of the Lord’s Faithfulness

The meal was then served and interpreted as a present act of remembrance of and a thanksgiving for God’s past liberation (freedom) of an oppressed people, a celebration of God’s faithfulness followed by singing of the Psalms.

Psalms 113:1

“Praise the Lord!

Praise, O servants of the Lord,

Praise the name of the Lord!”

Psalms 113-118 is considered a Hymn, the Hallel, which means praise

Theme of this hymn:

113-The Majesty and Condescension of God

114-The Power of God in His Deliverance of Israel

115-The Futility of Idols and the Trustworthiness of God

116-Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death

117-Let All People Praise the Lord

118-Praise To God For His Everlasting Mercy

The 2nd cup is given because it reminds the people of what bondage they were under and what extent God went to in order that they might be freed from wicked Pharaoh.

III. The Cup of Redemption

Luke 22:20

“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”

This cup was to emphasize the blood that was shed for their deliverance. The Passover lambs were put to death and had their blood placed over the doorposts were in Jewish homes. Only when the death angel of the Lord saw this blood over the doorposts of the children of Israel did he pass by and spare their lives. This cup of redemption focused on the high cost of deliverance, namely the precious blood of a spotless lamb, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, Himself, stood behind the story of Israel’s deliverance. As we in the New Testament take this cup, it is to remind us of the high cost of our deliverance, namely the blood of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:16

“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?”

Also the bread that had represented the Exodus now came to represent the body of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:24 – “This is my body which is (broken) for you.”

“Body” – represents the whole person; His incarnate life, His whole teaching, ministry and work, all He was and all He did.

“for you” – I became a man for you; I gave the gospel for you; I suffered for you; and I died for you.

Our gracious, loving, merciful God became incarnate not for Himself but for us.

Whether a person wants and receives the benefit of that sacrifice is his choice but Jesus made it and offers it for every person. He paid the ransom for everyone who will be freed.

We now eat the bread and drink the cup not to remember the Red Sea and the Exodus but to remember the cross and the Savior.

IV. The Cup of Celebration

Praise

This cup would be taken and God would be praised for His work in delivering the people from bondage.

“This do in remembrance of me” – this is a command from our Lord Himself.

To remember is to go back in one’s mind and recapture as much of the reality and significance of an event or experience as one possibly can. To remember Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross is to relive with Him His life, agony, suffering, and death as much as is humanly possible. We remember once again His once-for-all sacrifice for us and rededicate ourselves to His obedient service.

It’s a celebration of what He did and what’s yet to come. Verse 26 “till He comes.” It helps to keep us looking forward to the days when we will be with Him.

The Lord’s Supper is more than a remembrance for our own sakes; it is also a proclamation for the world’s sake. It is a testimony to the world that we are not ashamed of our Lord or of His blood, that we belong to Him and are obedient to Him.

There is much involved in our remembrance.

We remember Christ’s work on the cross.

We partake of Christ’s spiritual presence in the fellowship (communion).

We worship in holiness.

We proclaim salvation in Christ.

We anticipate the return of Christ.