The Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper or Communion was a special meal Jesus served and ate immediately before his death, Mt 26:26-29. Was this a one time event or something that should be repeated regularly by Christians today? If we look at the actions of Jesus and his accompanying remarks at this supper we would be lost regarding his intentions for the future. Let's examine his instructions prior to his ascension into heaven. Jesus instructed his apostles to teach his new converts to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you, Mt 28:20. To know what Jesus meant we need to direct our attention to what the apostles taught and practiced. This is how the early Christians knew how often they should observe the Lord's Supper.
We will look at a few churches and see just what the apostles taught them.
The church in Jerusalem
Immediately after the church was birthed under the leadership of the apostles, the followers were continuing earnestly in the breaking of bread, Ac 2:42. This term breaking of bread came from their reference to the supper instituted by Christ, 1 Co 10:16. How did all of this get started? The church in Jerusalem followed the teachings of the apostles and soon thereafter the celebration was adopted by the church in Thessalonica. They followed the example set forth by the church in Jerusalem. The apostles instilled in the new converts the words of Jesus, "as often as you eat of this bread and drink of this cup, you do show the Lord's death until he comes", 1 Co 11:26. The word show means to remember or reflect upon. The intent was for us never to forget what he has done for us. We are to share regularly in the Lord's Supper, but the question still remains, how often should we observe it?
The church in Troas
According to Ac 20:7, an apostle and his traveling companions were meeting with the Christians in Troas to break bread on the first day of the week. The same elements that were found in Ac 2:42 were also present in Troas. What were these elements? The apostle's teachings, fellowship and the breaking of bread. The Bible says the first day of the week. Was this to be monthly, quarterly or an annual event? The Bible informs us that it was 12 days after the Days of Unleavened Bread, which is another name for the Passover, Ac 20:6. This is not an annual date to break bread.
Luke gives the account of it being the first day of the week. This is the same word that God said when he told Israel, "to remember the sabbath day", Ex 20:8. Israel never inquired which sabbath day, because every week had a sabbath day. From this understanding it was obviously every sabbath day. Based on Ac 20:7 it is very clear and unmistakable that every first day of the wek was their time to come together and break bread.
The church in Corinth
By the time Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, several spiritual problems developed. One of the major problems was the gross abuse of breaking of bread. There were major issues of division going on at the church of Corinth. These gatherings had been reduced to drunken feast, 1 Co 11:21. This behavior made it impossible to properly or whole hearted to participate at the Lord's Supper. Due the importance of breaking bread, the early Christians had to always stay on top of their own personal issues. As in the other churches, the Corinthian Christians met on the first day of the week, just like the churces in Galatia, 1 Co 16:1.
There is no specific command by Jesus or his apostles about the proper frequency of the Lord's Supper. Christians are obligated to follow the examples of Christ and his apostles' teachings. The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, do. The teachings and examples of the apostles included a weekly observance. Where did monthly, quarterly, semi annual or annual celebrations come from? They certainly are not found in the Bible. Here is the bottom line. When you observe it or how many times you observe it is your personal choice.
The Biblical answer is on the first day, (every first day).
Peace and blessings be unto you
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