Jesus Institutes of the Lord's Supper
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, 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.
The Practical Application
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The bread [therefore] is a symbol of the body of the Lord Jesus which was given for His own — given up to death for them, for us, for all believers — on the cross; and when we eat it, we are to remember Him. Attention to the word "remember" would save from many mistakes. We remember a thing that is past; i.e., we recall it to mind. So when we eat the bread at the Lord's Supper, we recall the fact that the Lord was once dead; we remember Him in that condition — the condition of death — down into which He went, when He bore our sins in His own body on the tree — when He endured all the wrath that was due to us, and so glorified God even about our sin. It is therefore not Christ as He now is, but Christ as He then was, whom we remember in the breaking of bread.
The cup also sets forth the same thing. "After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament [covenant] in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come" (vv. 25, 26). The wine, then, of which we partake is an emblem of the blood of Christ; and this in itself speaks also of death, for we cannot think of blood, as apart from the body, except in connection with death. Indeed, verse 26 emphasizes the truth that, both in eating the bread and drinking the cup, we show, announce, or proclaim, the death of the Lord. We cannot too earnestly insist upon this, that in the Lord's Supper we look back to a dead Christ; that we take it in remembrance of the fact that He once was lying dead — dead on the cross, and dead in the sepulchre; because He not only bore our sins, but was made sin — He who knew no sin — that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Note well that it is not even a dying, but a dead Christ — not a dying Christ, a continual repetition of His sacrifice, as so many erroneously teach, but a dead Christ; "for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14).
We are thus at the table as givers, not as receivers; though surely we do receive when there according to God. But the object of our assembling is to worship, to render the homage of our hearts to God, because we have been redeemed through the death of His Son. And who could describe the blessedness of the privilege of showing in this way the Lord's death? Gathered around Himself, with the touching emblems of His body and blood before our eyes, thus claiming the affections of our hearts, His love, which the many waters could not drown, nor the floods quench, penetrates and possesses our souls, and constrains us to bow in willing adoration at His feet, and makes us long for the time when we shall see Him face to face, and beholding His glory, be with Him, and worship Him throughout the ages of eternity.
Edward Dennett Twelve Letters to Young Believers.