Discerning the Body of the Lord

For all who eat and drink without discerning the body of the Lord, eat and drink judgment against themselves.  For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. (1 Cor 11:29-30)

What’s wrong in Corinth? What sin caused the sharing of the Lord’s Supper, intended to heal and give life, to result in such sickness, even death? Was it the sexual sin discussed in chapter 5? Or some other sin of that magnitude?

So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another….(1 Cor 11:33)

In the early church in Corinth, each weekly meeting began with a meal at which the bread and wine were sanctified to the name and remembrance of Yeshua. After sharing this meal, the believers continued in worship, prayer, teaching and the practice of spiritual gifts. We know from previous chapters that there were factions in the congregation. Some claimed allegiance to Paul; others preferred the teaching style of Apollos; still others claimed to have no teacher but Yeshua Himself.

Some members arrived earlier than others to the weekly meeting; with other friends in their “clique,” they would say their blessings, invoke the Name of the Lord over their bread and wine, and have their dinner. Later, others would arrive, some with food, some without.

Paul severely chastises these early arrivals for more than a simple discourtesy: they have failed to “discern the Body of the Lord.” This is not a failure to correctly apprehend the mystical transformation of a morsel of bread to the literal Body of Christ; from the context it is clear that he is speaking of a failure to apprehend the power, sanctity, and authority that God intends to be present in the weekly meeting of the saints.

Every believer is a living stone, and together we are being built into a holy temple for God Himself to dwell in (1 Pet 2:5; 1 Cor 3:16-17). According to the Scriptures, the primary expression of this mystical sounding Body/Temple of Messiah is simply what we call the “local” congregation—whether it meets in a house, a public building, or in the middle of a forest. There is something special, something very holy, about this weekly meeting of the whole congregation.

If we disparage this holiness by being insensitive to the presence (or absence) of others; or we find our fellowship in one “clique” without relating properly to the rest of the congregation, then we are in danger of failing to discern the “Body of the Lord.” And for this failure, especially when we celebrate Communion, there can be grave consequences. Let each man, and each fellowship, check themselves (11:28) so that we may enjoy the fullness of His healing presence among us!!
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By | 2016-12-04T16:28:23+00:00 October 3rd, 2014|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments


  1. Handmaiden October 30, 2014 at 13:50

    Yes Ariel, I agree!
    Yeshua is the Head of His Body, the Church.
    The Holy Communion takes place when the Body meets in honour of the Head, Yeshua and because we are members of His Body, we honour one another.
    The main focus of the Holy Communion is to bring in remembrance the perfect sacrifice of Yeshua on the cross in perfect harmony with one another as His Body.
    Just as Yeshua laid down His life for us and became the Bread of life for us to experience Life Eternal, we should become bread broken for one another. Just as Yeshua was poured out as a drink offering for us, we should allow ourselves to be poured out for one another.
    Yeshua states that we would do the same He did on earth, therefore His Body follows Him in good shepherding, in being the light of the world, in being a servant of all.

    Just as the oil of the anointing was poured on the head of Aaron and it flowed down over his whole body , reaching to the seam of his robe, the anointing flows from the Father over our Head, Yeshua and anointing His whole Body and that is us. Yeshua, the Messiah, the anointed One: He is in us and we are in Him.
    This is a glorious realization; CHRIST in us, the hope of glory! Therefore let us spread the beautiful fragrance of Christ in the Body and into a world who is in such desperate need of His love.

  2. Alex Krause October 3, 2014 at 18:40

    Hi Ariel,

    You maybe the Ariel I exchanged emails a few months ago, yes? Anyway, I enjoyed the article as I did also our conversation a couple months ago.

    I would like to possibly add to your thinking about the passage here in 1 Cor. 11 concerning The Lord’s Supper.

    At the time I write this, it is already Yom Kippur in Israel and I understand if you do not publish this comment immediately or respond since the YK observance will occupy you thinking.

    1Cor. 11.27 says that the “body” Paul is referencing is Christ’s body. Yes, he mentions the local assembly again later but possibly because they may not have had the elements to observe this “remembrance”. I think the issue of judgement results more from obscuring the ‘picture’ of identification with the sacrifice of Christ: notice verse 26. So a person is taking a stand along with proclaiming Christ in the observance. It is an encouragement for believers and an invitation to those outside of Christ.

    We know that Old Covenant sacrifices did not absolve sins yet they were carefully observed also upon fear of death for transgressing the ‘picture’ (if you will). I believe the unity issue is important in 1 Cor. 11 as I mentioned, but getting “drunk” while “remembering” the Lord is out of bounds for an assembled meeting. When someone partakes of the elements they should be saying (in picture form) Christ’s sacrifice is what gave me new life! So the observance is a ‘stand’ and an ‘invitation’ and of course a remembrance personally of Christ.

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