One Sunday, during the Lord’s Supper, the plate of unleavened bread was being passed down our pew when my then 3-year-old son loudly announced, “Dad, I want some!” Now, this was nothing new. He had been doing it for almost as long as he had been able to speak. But that day, my usual response of, “Son, this is just for Christians”, did not suffice. He fixed me with a very knowing and confident look for a toddler and declared, “Dad, I know it is just a cracker!”
Even though I later tried to explain these things to my little boy, he continued to believe we were trying to trick him and keep this little snack for ourselves. My son, in his innocence, could not grasp that the cup and the cracker represented something far more. He is not the only one who has struggled with this distinction. Adults can also lose sight of what the wafer and the cup signify.
It is not just a cracker, it is an emblem. While the bread and fruit of the vine do not become the body and blood of our Lord, as some falsely teach, we must never look at them as “common” things (Hebrews 10:29). They serve as powerful symbols that call to mind the death of the Lord.
Christians partake of these emblems with these words in mind “this do in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). “With just a morsel of bread and a few drops of grape juice, we draw our hearts back to Him who died for us.” (Christopher Stinnett). The Corinthian church once lost sight of this purpose and made a mockery of this act of worship. They failed to observe it as a memorial but instead turned it into a common feast, thus earning the Apostle’s rebuke, “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Corinthians 11:29).
It is not just a cracker, it is an examination. Paul taught, “…whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). The Lord designed it to be a time, at the beginning of every week (Acts 20:7), for one to examine his or her life in relation to the Cross (James 4:8).
It is not just a cracker, it is communion (1 Corinthians 10:16). Communion means fellowship or joint participation. Jesus indeed promised, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29. Cf. Lk 22:28-29). The church is His kingdom (Mark 9:1, Acts 2:47, Colossians 1:12-13). We must never forget that as we come together on the Lord’s day to partake of this memorial meal, Jesus is our unseen guest.
It is not just a cracker, it is a proclamation. In our observation of this memorial, we proclaim our faith in the saving power of Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and His future coming. Paul said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
No, it is not just a cracker and a bit of juice. It is so much more! It is a meal shared with our Lord, which looks backward to His death, inward in self-examination, and forward toward His future return.