Bible Q&A: A Question About the Lord’s Supper

The Bible says, “As oft as you gather together, do this in remembrance of Me.” So why do we not take the Lord’s Supper every time we meet (i.e., Wednesdays, Bible studies in which “two or more gather,” gospel meetings, etc.?) Why only on Sunday?

While instituting the Supper, Jesus mentioned a day:

“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” (Matt. 26:29; cf. Mk. 14:25).

“…for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God…for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now until the kingdom of God comes” (Lk. 22:16, 18).

After instituting the Supper, Jesus told them, “…just as My Father has granted me a kingdom, I grant you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom” (Lk. 22:29-30).

Notice from these passages that He promised them He wouldn’t partake of communion with them until “that day” when He drinks it with them “in My Father’s kingdom,” that it would be “fulfilled in the kingdom of God,” that He wouldn’t drink of it again “until the kingdom of God comes,” and they would “eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.”

What is the kingdom of God?  Daniel prophesied it would arrive during the Roman empire’s existence (Dan. 2:1-45).  During the time of Rome, John the Baptist and Jesus prophesied it was “at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mk. 1:15).  After promising Peter He would build His church upon the rock of Peter’s confession, Jesus promised to give Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:15-19).  He also told His disciples that some of them would be alive when the kingdom came (Mk. 9:1).  Notice that the terms “church,” “kingdom of God,” and “kingdom of heaven” are all used interchangeably, proving they are the same thing.

Right before His ascension, Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the kingdom (Acts 1:6).  His non-direct answer pointed them towards what would happen ten days later on Pentecost (vs. 7-8).  On that day, the church began with the baptism of 3,000 souls (Acts 2:1-42).  Starting at Acts 2, the rest of the Bible would always interchangeably refer to God’s kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, and the church as having already come and presently existing (Rom. 14:17; 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 2:12; Rev. 1:4, 6, 9).  Therefore, the church/kingdom began its existence on Pentecost (Acts 2), a Jewish holy day called the Feast of Weeks which always took place on the first day of the week (Lev. 23:15-16).  This means the church/kingdom began on a Sunday.

Remember, Jesus promised He would not partake of communion with His disciples until “that day,” the day His disciples would be in His Father’s kingdom, the day God’s kingdom came (Matt. 26:29; Mk. 14:25; Lk. 22:16, 18).  God’s kingdom came and began its existence on a Sunday, the day of Pentecost (Acts 2; Lev. 23:15-16).  Therefore, the first time the disciples observed the Lord’s Supper after Jesus instituted it would be on Sunday, Pentecost, the day God’s kingdom came. 

This fits with Luke’s account of the very first activities of the newly converted 3,000 on Pentecost (Acts 2:42).  “The breaking of bread” refers to the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16-17; cf. 11:23-25).  In Acts 2:42, the apostles directed the Jerusalem church to observe communion on the day the church began, a Sunday.  The fact that they were “continually” doing so suggests by definition that it was a fixed habit.  Further evidence that this is so is found in Luke’s account of the Troas church (Acts 20:7) and Paul’s direction to Corinth and Galatia (1 Cor. 16:1-2).  The Troas church gathered together for the purpose of “breaking bread” (i.e., partaking of communion) on Sunday and did so with Paul’s approval.  Paul directed both the Corinthian and Galatian churches to take up collections every first day of the week, implying that he knew they had the habit of assembling together every Sunday.  Since he taught the same thing at every congregation (1 Cor. 4:17; cf. 1 Cor. 16:1), we can be confident that all the early churches gathered together to observe communion under his direction.

There is even evidence outside of the Bible which shows that the early church observed communion on Sundays.  The Didache, an uninspired collection of Christian teachings written around the close of the first century A.D., says, “But every Lord’s day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. (14:1; cf. Rev. 1:10).  Around fifty years or so later, one of the apostle John’s disciples, a Christian named Justin Martyr, was writing a defense of Christianity to Emperor Antoninus Pius.  In chapter 67 of his defense, he wrote, “The day of the Sun is the day on which we all gather together in a common meeting, because it is the first day, the day on which God, changing darkness and matter, created the world, and it is the day on which Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.” Going back to the Bible, all of the biblical evidence points to Christians assembling together to partake of the Lord’s Supper on the first day of every week (Acts 2:1-42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:1-2; cf. Lev. 23:15-16).  Thus, “as often as you drink it” in the context of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:25) refers to as often as Christians come together on Sundays.  When we do so, we can be confident that Jesus is with us just as He promised (Matt. 26:29; cf. 18:20; Heb. 2:11-12).  Since the entirety of the biblical evidence points to Sundays, we must obey God’s directive to not add to nor take away from Scripture and keep our observance of communion on Sundays as well (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; 1 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 22:18-19).

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