Self-Examination and the Lord’s Supper

In the troubled Corinthian church, the Lord’s Supper had not been protected from abuse. This mistreatment of the Supper was so serious that Paul bluntly told them that the way they were handling this memorial was actually a despising of the church (1 Cor. 11:22) that invited God’s judgment on them (11:29). As he corrected their practice, he called their attention back to the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper on the night of the Lord’s betrayal (11:23-25). The apostle affirmed that Christians were to use that solemn observance as an opportunity to remember Jesus (11:24-25) and examine themselves (11:28).

I’d like to share with you one way that I focus my mind during this time of remembrance and reflection. It involves considering the wounds that Jesus endured in the process of his death and using them as a guide for assessing my own life.

  • Think about the nailed-scarred hands of Jesus and ask yourself, “What have my hands done this week?” Have your hands been used to sin? Have they been used to serve?
  • Think about the pierced feet of Jesus. Where have your feet taken you this week? Have they taken you to places that you should not have gone? Have they walked in the counsel of the wicked (Psa. 1:1)? Or have they been guided by the light of God’s word (Psa. 119:105)?
  • Think of how the head of Jesus was pierced with thorns, then think about your own head – or more specifically, your mind. What thoughts have occupied your mind this week? Have you brought your thoughts captive to obey Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5)? Or have your thoughts been corrupted by unholiness and lust?
  • Consider how the side of our Lord was pierced, then think about the things that you have kept close to your own side over the past week. What has been important to you? Have you kept the Lord himself as your closest companion? Or did you allow something or someone else to be closer (Matt. 10:37)?
  • Consider how the back of Jesus was beaten without mercy. What about your back? Have you turned your back on Jesus (John 6:66)?

With these questions thoughtfully considered, I will sometimes offer a prayer of confession that ends with praise and worship for the forgiveness that is mine because of what Jesus endured for me. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15)!