I Corinthians 11:23-29 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
Years ago in a sermon or Sunday School lesson or somewhere I heard about four "looks" of the Lord's Supper. I don't remember whose thought it was, but I have kept that in memory through the years and added to it. As we approach the time for the Lord's Supper, these thoughts are again in my heart and mind.
Five Looks of the Lord's Supper
1. Appreciation (gratitude; thankful recognition). In the Lord's Supper we look upward in thanks for God's provision, verse 24 "when he had given thanks."
In everything give thanks. In general we are to be thankful for God's provisions for us. All we have is the Lords and we owe Him all. He supplies us bread and drink. In the context of the Lord's Supper He supplies the bread and wine, which is His body and His blood. Let us be thankful that God provided a Lamb for the offering, a Lamb to take away the sin of the world.
2. Retrospection (the act or process of looking back on things past). In the Lord's Supper we look backward in memory of the crucifixion, verse 24-25 "this do in remembrance of me."
As we thank Him for His life and blood, we look backward in memory to "the event" of the past. The event from all eternity. The event that shapes the future. The crucifixion is why the Son of God came into world, to give His life a ransom for many. It is backward in time; it is an historical event. In looking back we are brought face to face with the past, present and the future. But not just the event -- the man of the event -- this do in remembrance of me!"
3. Manifestation (an act of demonstration; making evident or showing plainly). In the Lord's Supper we look outward in proclamation to others, verse 26 "ye do shew the Lord's death."
The Lord's Supper paints a picture. It manifests in bread and wine the Lord's death. Those who participate and those who watch see what we cannot say. We preach the gospel with our tongues. We praise His name with our lips. But here in the Lord's Supper, in common elements from our common experience, we portray the truth in tones we cannot speak and in tunes we cannot sing. Oh, the mystery of the divine.
4. Prospection (the act of looking forward). In the Lord's Supper we look forward in hope of our Lord's return, verse 26 "till he come."
In terms of frequency or the time of the Lord's Supper, it hard to find a specific schedule that must be followed. But we are to do it "oft" and do it "till He comes." While looking backward to the marvelous death of our Lord, we are reminded that He yet lives and that He is coming back again. Every time we eat this bread and drink this cup we ought to whisper, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
5. Introspection (the examination of one's own thoughts, impressions, and feelings). In the Lord's Supper we look inward in examination of our participation, verse 28 "let a man examine himself."
The Lord's Supper is not a thoughtless robotic experience in which we go through outward formal motions of eating and drinking some symbolic thing. It calls us to introspection, an examination of our deepest motives of observance. Look not to determine your worthiness, for we are all unworthy and yet made worthy by the blood of Jesus. Drink it worthily, a description of the manner of observance rather than the person, discerning the Lord's body as you partake of Him in that which symbolizes Him. The examination is not to keep us from eating and drinking, but to prepare us for eating and drinking! Let a man examine himself, and so -- in that self-examined state -- let him eat and drink.