Summary: A sermon for Maundy Thursday based on the Words of Institution.
I Corinthians 11: 23 – 26 As I Have Loved You
Intro: Some time ago there was a television commercial that ended with, “Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven.” That is especially true of bread. Nothing smells as wonderful as bread baking in the oven. In the past, bread was a staple in every home. Every meal included bread. It was the same the night that Jesus gathered around a table for the Passover meal with his disciples.
I. For most Christian traditions, these words from First Corinthians are known as the “Words of Institution.”
A. These words are not written by Paul as a model for use as a liturgy in a prayer book or as a sacramental model for use in worship.
B. They are written as a part of a harsh running criticism of the Corinthian community for practices that are warped and unfaithful.
C. Paul accuses church members of being class conscious, prejudiced against the poor, insensitive to brothers and sisters in faith, and unconcerned about the situation that prompted the Lord’s Supper in the first place.
II. Paul introduces this text with technical terms used in Hebrew and Greek writing that indicate that the sayings of Jesus comprise reliable and accurate tradition.
A. The two words in the Greek sentence of greatest importance are the words “received” and “handed on to you.”
B. The Greek word for “received” is “paradidomi” and the word for “handed on to you” is “paralambano.” Both point to an official transmission of evidence, authentic teachings, or power.
C. Here, they indicate how far the Corinthians have deviated from what Jesus commanded saying “Love as I have loved you.”
III. “In remembrance of me” Is in both the 24th and 25th verses.
A. Paul reminds the Corinthians and us that this is not just a memorial service. It is an act that should cause us to focus on remembering the teachings of Jesus.
B. Like the congregation at Corinth, we may also be divided and filled with in equalities of class and race, but in the breaking of bread and the sharing of the cup, Jesus commits to us his life, his body and blood poured out for us as a covenant or promise.
C. Memory is the glue that builds and seals relationships. In this meal we must remember to love one another as Christ Jesus loves us. This is the memory that builds and seals us into a loving community following the loving example of Christ.
Conclu: Without remembering, we lose our history and ourselves. As we celebrate this holy meal, we see symbols, signs and images that help us remember the importance of being united by the love of Christ Jesus. We are all loved by God because we are God’s children. Remembering that love, we are in turn, to love as Christ Jesus has loved us.