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The taste of the bread and the taste of the cup

 

16The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 1 Corinthians 10:16

The cup of the Lordís Supper is a delicious drink. It is called in Scripture, "the cup of blessing." Whether it is wine or grape juice, this drink is physically pleasing to sip. This fact is not accidental. This delightful drink, this cup of blessing, stands for a delightful message: He suffered death for me that I might have life. He took my judgment on Himself. I donít have to pay for my sins; instead, I get to inherit a blessing. When a judge declares you not guilty, you are delighted and relieved. This is an easy message to swallow and the drink that symbolizes this message is similarly easy to swallow.

On the other hand, the unleavened bread of the Lordís Supper, although being good for you spiritually, is simply not delicious. This flat bread does not have sugar on it. It has no custard filing inside of it. We donít eat it with cream cheese and a topping. Unlike the cup, it has a dry, unexciting taste to it. This is deliberate.

In the Old Testament this bread was called the bread of affliction because the Hebrews made the dough without leaven because they were leaving Egypt in haste. This bread was eaten during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to commemorate their coming out of Egypt in haste.

Just as the Hebrews came out of Egypt in haste, so the New Testament believers come out of sin in haste. The unleavened bread stands for the truth that the believer has been crucified with Christ so that he can live for righteousness or follow Jesus. "Crucified with Christ" is a good message but it is truly hard to swallow. The dry unleavened bread stands for a difficult message to receive. Itís kind of like eating your peas and carrots. Eating them might not be an enjoyable experience, but they are very good for you; and, eventually, you get used to them and even desire them.

Letís look at the two elements of the Lordís Supper this way. Imagine going into a corporate board room and telling these people that their problems, legal and otherwise, are over and that furthermore, their company was going to experience unprecedented growth, prosperity and success. Would they not be relieved and thrilled with your message? This is essentially the message of the cup.

Now imagine going to the same management team and telling them that a lot of changes need to be made in their company. Imagine telling them that they are making a series of mistakes that need to be rectified immediately. Not only will you leave them with a list of mistaken company policies (sanctification), but you will also present them with a list of new policies to implement (righteousness).

Obviously, this latter message relating to criticisms and suggestions would be much harder for them to swallow. This latter message is essentially the message of the bread of the Lordís Supper.

We often hear the phrase, "God bless America." This phrase is like asking America to drink the cup of blessing. This is easy for people to swallow. What about a phrase relating to God make America holy and help her live right. This would be like asking America to eat the bread of deliverance or the bread of affliction. Are Americans interested in being delivered out of their sins in order to live for God. This latter message is not so easy to swallow.

Nevertheless, the bread of the Lordís Supper is good for Americans. It is good for American churches. It is good for you; not delicious, but it stands for a truth that will make you good.

In order to clear up some possible confusion, we need to understand that repentance is implied by both the cup and the bread. One needs to repent and believe to receive both forgiveness for sin and deliverance from sin The Exodus story has two pictures of repentance. For the Hebrews to be shielded from the angel of death they were instructed to stay inside their houses. This is a picture of the repentance necessary to receive forgiveness of sins. For the Hebrews to experience deliverance out of Egypt, they needed to be trying to get out of Egypt. Daaah! The opening in the Red Sea that the Lord made for them would only benefit those who were willing to move their legs and start walking across. The picture of the Hebrews walking away from and out of Egypt is a picture of the repentance necessary to receive deliverance from sin.

Thus, as delightful as the cup of blessing is to the palate, it still is necessary to repent in order to receive the blessings it symbolizes.