As we prepare to participate in the Lord’s Supper this Sunday at Immanuel I thought it timely to ask, Why the Lord’s Supper? D.A. Carson, commenting on Luke 22:7-20, answers by explaining both the commemorative and anticipatory nature of the rite:
Someone has said that the four most disputed words in the history of the church are “This is my body.” Without entering the lists on all that might be said about this clause, surely we can agree that one of its functions, as it is repeated in the ritual that Christ Jesus himself prescribed, is commemorative: “Do this in remembrance of me” (22:19). It is shocking that this should be necessary, in exactly the same way that it is shocking that a commemorative rite like the Passover should have been necessary. But history shows how quickly the people of God drift toward peripheral matters, and end up ignoring or denying the center. By a simple rite, Jesus wants his followers to come back to his death, his shed blood, his broken body, again and again and again.
It is also an anticipatory rite. It looks forward to the consummated kingdom, when the Passover and the Lord’ s Supper alike find their fulfillment (22:16, 18). We eat and drink as he prescribes “until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26), when commemoration and proclamation will be swallowed up by the bliss of his presence.
Looking forward to commemorating the death and resurrection of Christ with you even as we anticipate His triumphant return! This is the glory of the bread and the cup.
[Quote from D.A. Carson’s daily devotional, For the Love of God vol. 1, March 8 entry.]