In 1 Corinthians 11.23-25 the apostle Paul recounts the words of Jesus at the last supper before his death. These are familiar words that are often used in the celebration of Communion:
This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
Paul then adds these important words which state one of the purposes of this special sacrament:
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11.26
In this sacrament we are proclaiming the central glory of salvation—the death of Christ. Earlier in 1 Corinthians Paul had stressed that importance and centrality of “the word of the cross” (1 Corinthians 1.18). Paul preached the message of “Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1.23). In fact, he argues that, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2.2).
So when we participate in the Lord’s Supper we are also proclaiming the gospel message—Jesus has died for sins. We are not proclaiming the funeral of Jesus as if he is still dead. No. We are proclaiming the glory of the cross as that place where Jesus takes away sin. Consider these words from Ephesians 1.7-8:
In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished on us.
Think of it—we have redemption; the release from our sins. We have forgiveness from God. All this is due to the riches of God’s grace which has been lavishly poured out on us. These blessings are bought for us by the blood of Christ that he shed on the cross. Let us proclaim with joy the Lord Jesus’ death today. He is the risen One and his blood is strong to save!