22 May 2005
Matthew 26:26, 1 Corinthians 11:26 & Ephesians 3:17
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 96. What is the Lord’s Supper?
A. The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.96. What is the Lord’s Supper?
A. The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament in which bread and wine are given and received as Christ directed to proclaim His death. Those who receive the Lord’s Supper in the right way share in His body and blood with all His benefits, not physically but by faith, and become spiritually stronger and grow in grace.
1. When did our Lord institute this Sacrament?
He instituted it the same night in which He was betrayed (1 Corinthians 11:23).
2. What are the outward elements of the Lord’s supper and what do they signify?
The outward elements are the bread which signifies the body of Christ, and wine which signifies the blood of Christ.
3. Who should administer this sacrament?
Even as Christ first administered it, so should it be administered now by ministers who have been called to that Holy office.
4. When Christ said “This is my body” in the institution of this sacrament, did He mean his real body?
No, He did not mean for us to take his words literally any more than we take literally the words “That rock was Christ”. In addition, note that Paul states it is the bread we eat (1 Cor. 11:26), not the body of Christ.
5. How do the bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ?
There is a representation in that even as the food itself would nourish and strengthen the body, so spiritually speaking, we have our souls nourished and strengthened by partaking in obedience.
6. What are the three main views regarding the Lord’s supper?
The Roman Catholic view (transubstantiation) states that there is a change of the bread and wine into the real body and blood of Christ. The Lutheran view (consubstantiation) conceives of the presence of Christ in a physical sense though the elements continue to look and taste like bread and wine. The Reformed view is the spiritual presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. It is a seal and pledge of what God does for believers.