In 1 Cor. 11:17-34 Paul addresses how we are to partake of communion, the Lord’s Supper. We generally focus in on verses 28-29.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 (NKJV)
What I want to focus on is the phrase, ‘not discerning the Lord’s body.’ In general I believe the teaching on this addresses the elements, the cracker and grape juice or wine because they represent Jesus broken body and shed blood.
While there is important truth in that in the context of the passage there is a broader application. Paul’s focus is on the behaviour of the congregation as they gather. In the early church they ate a whole meal together. Here is what Paul said of their behaviour.
20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 1 Corinthians 11:20-21 (NKJV)
What concerned Paul was how they were treating one another in the process. They were not discerning Jesus body, that is, the church, and in the process were not honouring Jesus presence among them and within them. Paul’s statement below is a commentary on verses 20-21.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 11:27 (NKJV)
I don’t know how often we think about this but our call as Christians is also a call to honour and bless our fellow believers. We have different degrees of relationship with different ones but regardless of the level of relationship the common factor needs to be one of respect and honour. When we do this we discern Jesus body, honour His presence and instead of coming under judgment we open the door to the blessing of more of Jesus presence in our lives.
Are we discerning His body?
2 thoughts on “Honouring His Presence Part 1 – Discerning His Body”
Right on, Randy. While many commentators postulate that Paul was referring first and foremost to discerning Christ’s physical body in the observance of the Lord’s table, I believe, because of the Corinthian context, that Paul is referring first and foremost, as you say, to the respect and honour we need to afford one another in the church.
Thanks Mark, I will see where this series takes us in terms of understanding how we honour His presence.