1 Corinthians 10: 15-17 the Message
15-18I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is.
Precisely in the Lord’s Supper Paul locates the ground of all believers’ being one: Because there is one loaf and one cup, and because all believers share that one loaf/cup, they, though many, are one body (10:17). Christian unity is grounded in sharing the loaf and cup; it depends on partaking in Christ’s death.
So the Lord’s Supper is not just another meal; it is not just another get-together of believers. The Lord’s Supper and its worship setting are for Paul the definitive action that stands at the heart of the life of faith. In the Lord’s Supper believers can inescapably see that they stand only in and by God’s grace; in the supper believers look with confidence toward the future when the end of the ages will come; and in the supper believers see most clearly how they relate to and with each other. The Lord’s Supper is like a lens through which the most important things about one’s new life in Christ are absolutely brought into focus.
-Adapted from the New Interpreters Bible Volume X, p. 918-919.
Questions about the Scripture
1. In I Corinthians 1:10,11 Paul childes the Corinthians for their divisions: “don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose….Chloe’s people gave me some information about you, that you’re fighting with each other.” Why do you think it is so easy for people, even Christians, to be divided into rival groups?
2. In verse 15 above, Paul assumes (maybe with a little spiritual sarcasm) that he is addressing “mature” believers even if they are not acting like it. Contrast how mature believers would differ with immature believers in handling conflict.
3. Paul asserts that as Christians partake of the one loaf and drink from the cup of blessing, they are receiving the very life of Christ. How does this experience help us move from fragmentation to being unified in him?
4. Re-read the last sentence from 1 Corinthians above. What would being “raised to what Christ is” look like in our relationships this week?