The Lord’s Supper
The question before us is, “How often should we take the Lord’s Supper”? Well, one thing is for sure; what we really need to know is, what does GOD say about how often to take the Lord’s Supper. And so to find out what God says, we will need to go to God’s word, the bible.
Different religious groups, have different opinions as to how often they should eat the Lord’s Supper. Some partake of it every first day of the week, in other words, every Sunday. Some partake of in annually, some quarterly, and some will partake of it every time a “special occasion” comes about, such as “Good Friday”, or “Easter’, or “Christmas”, or something like that.
Actually the bible is silent about any “special occasions” like those. As Christians, we don’t even have the authority or example from God, to celebrate those things in the first place. The only day that God treats as “special” in the new testament, is the “First Day of the Week”. Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, Mat 28:1, Mk 16:2, Lk 24:1, and Jn 20:1.
The risen Christ first appeared to His disciples on that same first day of the week, and then again on the next first day of the week, Mat 28:9-10, Mk 16:9-13, Lk 24:13 ff, Jn 20:14-23, and Jn 20:26-29.
His church was established on the day of Pentecost, which was the first day of the week, Acts chapter 2.
During a missionary journey, Paul and Luke, met up with other Christians in the city of Troas, and they stayed there for seven days. And it says in Acts 20:7, “And on the “first day of the week”, when we came together to break bread, Paul began preaching to them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his message until mid night.” (Not midnight, as in 12:00 AM, but “mid night”, as in somewhere in the middle of the night)
A couple of things in this verse are very revealing..
First, I’d like to point out that the word “intending”, as in “intending to depart”, (some versions say “about to depart”) ..but anyhow, that word actually comes from a Greek word that means “to delay, or to linger”. So what this verse is saying, is that Paul “lingered there” in the city of Troas, an entire week, intending to depart (or lingering) until the second day of the week. Why the second day of the week? Well, it would seem obvious, that he lingered all week in Troas, until the SECOND day of the week, so that he could meet with his fellow Christians on the FIRST day of the week, as was their habit of doing. It sounds like maybe Paul had missed the assembly of the saints, on the first day of the previous week, when he arrived by boat from Philippi.
Let me read to you about the days and dates, of the feast of unleavened bread, which is also called “the days of unleavened bread”.
First let me read from Acts 20, verses 4 thru 6; “Paul was accompanied by Sopater, son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus, from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy and Tychicus and Trophimus, from the province of Asia. But these had gone on ahead, and were waiting for us at Troas. And we sailed away from Philippi, after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas, in five days, where we abode seven days.” And it’s the next verse, verse 7, that uses the word “lingered” there in Troas, seven days, in other words, he delayed his departure, intending to depart on the second day of the week.
And now that we’ve got that clear in our minds, let me read about the feast of unleavened bread, from Leviticus chapter 23. I’ll begin with verse 1, where the bible says; “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying; Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day, is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; It is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”
“These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” (You see that first one was a weekly observance, a weekly “holy convocation”. But now comes some seasonal “holy convocations”. A “convocation” in the Hebrew language, is an assembly, and a summoning, and a calling. Sometimes it can mean a “reading”, like a assembly called for the purpose of reading the scriptures. It’s very much like the Greek word “ekklesia” which means a “called out assembly” or a “called out congregation”. And that’s the word that has been translated in our English bibles, as “church”. And so a “convocation” in Hebrew, is pretty much the same as the “ekklesia” in Greek, which is the same as our Christian assembly and our congregation, in English.
So then.. back to Leviticus 23; “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons; In the fourteenth day of the first month, at even, (that means at evening) is the LORD’S passover.” (the day that the Angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt; The homes that had the blood of the sacrificial lamb, spread across the lintel and the doorposts of the entry into the house) (Passover is one day) And on the fifteenth day of the same month, (the next day) is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: Seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.”
“In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: Ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: In the seventh day is an holy convocation: Ye shall do no servile work therein.”
And I’ll stop there, because that is basically a description of the feast, and the days, of unleavened bread. So, you’ve got the day of Passover, on the fourteenth day, of the first month of the Jewish new year. Then on the fifteenth day, the days of unleavened bread begins, and it goes for seven days. Now, the fourteenth and the fifteenth days of the month, don’t always fall on the same day each year. Just like our fourteenth and fifteenth days would fall on different days of the week each year.
We can use this past year as an example; This year, 2020, the Jewish Passover fell on a Wednesday. And so the days of unleavened bread began on a Thursday. And those days ran from Thursday thru the next Wednesday. Now if by chance, the Days of Unleavened bread had fallen on a Thursday, that year when Paul sailed from Philippi to Troas, here’s how the days would have worked out; Paul would have set sail on Thursday, the day after the Days of Unleavened Bread. And he would have arrived in Troas, five days later, on Monday. But then if he had lingered there for seven days, that would have put their assembly together, on the next Tuesday. But that’s not what happened. The scriptures say that Paul “lingered” in Troas seven days, and then came together with the brethren on the FIRST day of the week, which is Sunday, not Monday. So then what day would Paul have had to left Philippi?
Well, it’s quite possible, that Paul left Philippi on a Wednesday. That way he would have come to Troas on the following Sunday, the first day of the week. Then he could have tarried there for seven days, and have been there on the nest first day of the week. So did Paul arrive too late, for the previous first day of the week assembly?
Not sure. But what we are sure of, is that he “lingered” there in Troas, for the specific purpose of assembling with the saints, on the first day of the week.
The second thing that we need to take note of is this; These Christians assembled there in Troas, on the first day of the week, and came together to “break bread”.
To “break bread” in this verse means to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Some people would argue that this simply refers to a common meal. That phrase, “breaking bread” is sometimes used in the bible to refer to a common meal, such as in Acts 2;46. But the same phrase is also used to refer to the Lord’s Supper, such as in 1 Cor 10:16. We can understand which it refers to (Lord’s supper, or a common meal) in any given verse, by the immediate context.
Here’s the context of Acts 20:7. Paul and Luke are on a missionary journey and were meeting seven other disciples in Troas, along with the Christians who lived there in that city. They stayed there in Troas for seven days, and when the first day of the week arrived, they came together to break bread.
The verse even says that Paul, “delayed his departure, and lingered until the next day”, so that he could be there on the first day of the week, which was when all the disciples “came together to break bread”.
Doesn’t the picture that’s being painted here become obvious? These men did not wait until the first day of the week, just to engage in a common meal. I’m quite sure that they had several meals during that week. But what those Christians did wait until the first day of the week for, was to partake of the Lord’s Supper!
They did not come together on last day of the week, so that Paul could get on with his journey sooner. They could have come together on that day if all they wanted was to have a common meal. And they didn’t do it sometime in the middle of the previous week either. But instead, they waited until the first day of the week, because that was the day, in which the apostles of Christ, and all other first century Christians, came together to “break bread”. In other words, that was the day that they came together to eat the Lord’s Supper.
What do you think, made that particular first day of the week so important, that Paul would linger in Troas an extra day, just so that he could be there for the assembly of the Christians. Why couldn’t he have just taken the Lord’s Supper on the next first day of the week, or the next one after that? Well, the answer should be obvious; Paul lingered in Troas because Christians came together EVERY first day of the week, to worship God, which includes partaking of the Lord’s Supper as Christ has instructed.
“And Upon the First Day of the Week”
Please do this for me; Walk over to your calendar, and see how many weeks have a first day. Now put a big X on the first day of every one of those weeks. This is how often the God has told us in the bible, to come together to “break bread”.
In the old testament, God told His children, the sons of Israel, to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”. Exodus 20:8.
Which Sabbath day were they to remember? One per year? One per quarter? One per month? Well, the answer to this is obvious also. They were to remember EVERY Sabbath day! Need I say more?
It is quite interesting that when people read 1 Cor 16:2, where it says; “On the first day of the week, let each one of you lay by in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come”, no one seems to have any problem understanding that it’s every first day of the week that we should “lay by in store”.
Why is it that when it comes to money, almost all churches want to have a collection EVERY first day of the week, but when it comes to “proclaiming His death” (1 Cor 11:26), the majority of “churches”, are satisfied with once a quarter, or a couple special times a year?
Jesus asked this question..
“Why call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things that I say?” Luke 6:46 He also said, “Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” Mat 7:21
How Often Should We Partake of the Lord’s Supper?
That depends on who you ask, the God of heaven, or man.
Your comments are always welcome and encouraged. If you have questions about this topic, or any other, please ask. If you want to discuss these things in more detail, please let us know. May God bless you in your study of His word.