1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 1 Corinthians 10:20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-31; John 6:11, John 6:23-42 John 6:48-59
Like a foolish husband arguing with his wife over the true meaning of the word "love," but failing to embrace his bride, sometimes the Church has gotten tangled up on words and missed the pure reality. Can we fully explain "love?" I will show you love. But it is hard to explain.
The Church of our Lord Jesus has sought to come to terms with the deeper meaning of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. We have and continue to debate the meaning of the sign of love which our Lord left us, the Lord's Supper.
As we come to the Lord's Supper tonight, we are reminded that this, along with Baptism, represents the central act of communicating the Gospel, apart from preaching. Indeed it is the preached word pictured. The most important things can create disagreements. You would expect such from important matters.
There is the Roman Catholic View which is called Transubstantiation: In this, the operation of the priest mystically transformed the bread and the fruit of the vine into the literal body and blood of Jesus. To eat His flesh and drink His blood carries a literal meaning.
It was good to go back to the Law and to the Testimonies during the Reformation to discuss this matter. With all regard for my Roman Catholic friends, I agree with the consensus of Protestants that this view simply cannot square with the Word of God. Yet, within Protestantism there are three main views:
The Memorial View: Ulrich Zwingli, a fine preacher and pastor of Gross Munster in Zurich, Switzerland held this view. The memorial view holds that the Lord's Supper is only a memorial and nothing more. More could be said of this and all of the views, but this is the essence.
The Lutheran View: Luther held to a view called consubstantiation (a term he didn't care for, himself), that is, that the body and blood of Christ, though in heaven, are also physically in, with and under the elements of the Lord's Supper. Zwingli and Luther got together and locked theological horns at the Marburg Colloquy in 1529. Luther would quote John 6:53: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourself." And he would repeatedly quote 1 Corinthians 11:24: "This is my body." He even wrote it with chalk on the big conference table, but Zwingli wouldn't budge, and pointed to John 6:63 which says, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."1 And so it went.