How Often Should We Partake the Lord's Supper?
The Lord’s Supper has always been an important aspect of Christianity. Jesus Himself instituted the Lord’s Supper on the same night that He was betrayed (Matthew 26:26-29). The bread represents the body of Jesus. The fruit of the vine (i.e. grape juice) represents Jesus’ blood. Even till today, Christians continue to partake of the Lord’s Supper, both the bread and the grape juice, in memory of Jesus’ death (1 Corinthians 11:23-29).
However, it can be observed that different Christian denominations partake of the Lord’s Supper with different frequencies, and even on different days. Some partake every Sunday morning; some take it once a month; some do it quarterly; some observe it once a year on Easter Sunday (which coincidentally is happening next week). Some partake of it on Saturdays instead of Sundays. This leads to the question: what is the right day and frequency for the observance of the Lord’s Supper?
1. Importance of the Lord’s Supper
The above question is important for us to address, because of the importance of the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is important because, through the Lord’s Supper, we:
We remember Jesus’ death (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). The crux of the gospel is in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). If we do not remember our Lord’s death, we have lost sight of our faith. The Lord’s Supper is the opportunity for us to remember our Savior who died for us.
We proclaim the Lord’s death (1 Corinthians 11:26). Jesus Himself gave us the Great Commission, which is to go into all the world and teach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). Hence, we need to preach and share with lost souls about the good news of the Lord who died for them. By partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we are also telling the world that Jesus died for us.
We have communion with Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16). Christianity is a walk with God (Colossians 2:6). We seek to continually grow closer in relationship with our Lord. By partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we are having communion with our Lord Jesus.
2. The Frequency of the Lord’s Supper
In order to determine the frequency of the Lord’s Supper, we need to go to the Scriptures to see the example of the apostles and the first century Christians. The key verse is Acts 20:7. In that passage, we read that the Christians were together on the first day of the week (i.e. Sunday) to listen to Paul’s preaching. In that verse, we see a side comment intended to explain why they were together on the first day of the week. They were together on the first day of the week because it was “when the disciples came together to break bread.” Breaking bread here would be an obvious reference to the Lord’s Supper. Hence, from Acts 20:7, we see that Christians regularly gathered on Sunday, for the purpose of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Additionally, on that day, they would listen to God’s word and observe the other acts of worship.
Another text we may consider is 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, which brings up again the “first day of the week.” In that passage, Christians are instructed to set aside their giving to the Lord on Sunday. When we compare this text with Acts 20:7, it comes together perfectly: since Christians gathered together on Sunday for the Lord’s Supper, it would make sense for them to offer their monetary offerings to the Lord on the same day. The original Greek construction of the text can be more clearly seen in the ESV translation: “On the first day of every week…” The instruction to give to the Lord is not just for one Sunday, but for every Sunday. The same principle can be applied for the Lord’s Supper: it is not to be partaken only on one Sunday, but every Sunday, when the saints gather together to worship God.
It should be no surprise that the Lord’s Supper should be partaken on Sunday. While Saturday was the special day for the Jews, Sunday is the special day for Christians. Our Lord Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday (Matthew 28:1-10). The church began on the day of Pentecost, which fell on a Sunday (Acts 2:1-47). When the apostle John spoke of the “Lord’s day,” it would therefore be abundantly clear that he was referring to Sunday, which is the day that Christians gathered to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
3. The Assembly for the Lord’s Supper
We have seen that it is important for Christians to partake of the Lord’s Supper, and to do so every Sunday. Additionally, it is important for Christians to partake it together. The Christians at Corinth were rebuked by the apostle Paul because they did not partake of the Lord’s Supper in an appropriate manner. They partook of it as if they were having lunch, and they did not wait for one another (1 Corinthians 11:21-22). Paul instructed them to wait for one another so that they could partake of the Lord’s Supper together (1 Corinthians 11:33). Hence, it is important for Christians to assemble together every Sunday, so that they can partake of the Lord’s Supper together.
Because it is important to partake of the Lord’s Supper together, Christians should take heed not to forsake the assembly, as some have the habit of doing so (Hebrews 10:25). The assembling of ourselves is important because by our fellowship, we are mutually encouraging one another. Furthermore, we assemble to partake the Lord’s Supper together. This tells us that we cannot stay at home and partake the Lord’s Supper by ourselves. We ought to partake of the Lord’s Supper together.
May Christians everywhere never forget this divine command to observe the Lord’s Supper. May we all do so every Lord’s day (i.e. Sunday), so that we may always be reminded of the death of our Lord. May we continue to do so, as we proclaim the Lord’s death, till He comes again.