The Christian and the Eucharist
Last week I wrote about how my disability has changed the way I approach the Eucharist. I’m fully aware that many of my readers may have never heard the word “Eucharist,” so today I thought I’d write why I not only referred to the Lord’s Supper as “Eucharist,” but also why I like the word.
The Eucharist. Probably not a word that most of my readers have heard a lot. I think that’s a shame. The word is not only biblical but says a great about the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper has been called the Eucharist since Christianity’s earliest days.
Why was the Lord’s Supper ever called the “Eucharist?”
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’” (Matt 26:26-29)
In verse 27, Matthew, with his inspired pen, tells us that Jesus took the cup and gave it to His disciples after he “had given thanks.” “Had given thanks” is εὐχαριστέω (eucharisteō) from which the English “Eucharist” comes. Thus, “Eucharist” reminds us of Jesus’ giving thanks at the Lord’s Supper. “Eucharist,” therefore, reminds us that we come to the Table with thanksgiving.
Why come to the Table with thanksgiving?
- Jesus gave His perfect life for my sinful life
- Jesus’ body was beaten, spat upon, scourged, and pierced through that my body might be raised to life on that Great Day.
- Jesus suffered the Father’s wrath that I might find grace.
- Jesus gave His very blood that I might find the remission of my sins.
- Jesus gave His blood that I might be justified before God.
- Jesus enacted the new covenant in His blood.
- Jesus’ blood has paid my ransom.
- Jesus entered the most holy place with His own blood and thereby secured my eternal redemption.
- Jesus’ blood purifies my conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
- Jesus’ blood opens up the holy place and lets me draw near to God with full assurance of faith.
- Jesus freed me from my sins by His blood.
- Jesus’ blood allows me to have victory over the forces of evil.
- Jesus’ body, if eaten, will allow me to live forever.
- Jesus gave His body for me – yes, even me, the sinner – because He wished to save me from my sin.
“Eucharist” reminds us that we have so much for which to be thankful when we come to the Table of the Lord. As we commune with each other and the Resurrected Christ, let us never forget to offer thanks to God!