In Matthew 26:26 – 29 we see the account of Jesus instituting what we refer to as the Lord’s Supper or communion. We see that it was done while Christ and apostles were observing the Passover feast.
Throughout the Old Testament we see that the children of God had many feasts that they observed. These were held to celebrate certain festivals, like Passover, and also to sacrifice peace offerings. We see these things detailed in Exodus 12 and also in Leviticus chapters 3 and 7.
During these feasts, the Israelites had certain rules about the sacrifices that they were to follow. For instance, the animals were to be spotless, and were to be prepared in a particular way. If they did what they were supposed to then they would experience the blessings of God.
However, many times they failed to do what they were supposed to. Those feasts and sacrifices were not to be profaned by offering less than perfect animals. In Malachi, we see that Malachi was sent to the people of God to call them to repent for profaning the worship.
Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations. (Malachi 1:10-14 ESV)
Are we guilty of the same thing when we come before the Lord to participate in the supper that He instituted?
Do we say, “What a weariness this is,” like the Israelites did?
Do we snort at it like they did?
Do we bring an unworthy attitude like they brought unworthy animals?
In other words, do we bring our best to this memorial or do we profane the worship by coming before the table with a “just-checking-another-thing-off-my-worship-list” mentality?
Just as Malachi warned the Israelites, Paul warns Christians in 1 Corinthians not to eat or drink this supper in an unworthy manner because if you do you eat and drink judgement on yourself.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27-29 ESV)
The Lord’s Supper is a time of reflection. A time of remembrance. A time of solemn thanks to God for Jesus and for what He did. The Israelites were supposed to bring their very best before God. The same God that demanded their best still wants our very best as we approach that memorial. If we don’t then He may also ask us, as He did the Israelites, “Shall I accept that from your hand?”