It is clear that the Lord?s Supper has some kind of relationship to the death of Jesus. Jesus said at the Last Supper that the bread was His body, given for you, and the wine was His blood, poured out as the blood of the new covenant. When Paul talks about the Lord?s Supper, he says that it ?proclaims the Lord?s death until He come.?E
But HOW is the Supper related to the death of Jesus? Trying to answer that question has been at the root of many of the historical debates about the Lord?s Supper. Is the Supper in some way a repetition of the death of Jesus? Is it a new sacrifice? Or, is it simply a reminder of the death of Jesus, something to call our attention back to the cross?
There are many ways to come at this sort of question, but one connection between Jesus?Edeath and the Supper that is often neglected is the way that the Supper conforms US to the death of Jesus. At least we can say this: If we leave this table, and then go about our weekly business in our sinful self-centered fashion, we have belied everything that we said was true when we came to this table. But we can say more: Because the Spirit works in this meal, if we come to this table with faith, expecting God to form and change us and do His will with us, then this meal not only reminds us of Jesus?Edeath but molds us in accord with that death. In baptism, Paul says, we died with Christ so that we might live with Him. And at this table, we participate regularly in His death so that we might conformed to His life.
How does this meal display and proclaim the death of Jesus? By forming a people who follows Jesus, by forming a company of witnesses, a church of martyrs.