Annotations to the Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 28
Lord's Day 28
How does the Lord's Supper signify and seal to you
that you share in Christ's one sacrifice on the cross
and in all His gifts?
In this way:
Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken
bread and drink of this cup in remembrance of Him.
With this command He gave these promises
as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for
me and the cup given to me, so surely was His body offered for me
and His blood poured out for me on the cross.
as surely as I receive from the hand of the minister and taste with
my mouth the bread and the cup of the Lord as sure signs of
Christ's body and blood, so surely does He Himself nourish and
refresh my soul to everlasting life with His crucified body and shed blood.
What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ
and to drink His shed blood?
to accept with a believing heart all the suffering and the death
of Christ, and so receive forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
to be united more and more to His sacred body through the
Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us.
Therefore, although Christ is in heaven3 and we are on earth,
yet we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bones,
and we forever live and are governed by one Spirit,
as the members of our body are by one soul.
Where has Christ promised that He will nourish and refresh
believers with His body and blood as surely as they eat of this
broken bread and drink of this cup?
In the institution of the Lord's supper:
The Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took
bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said,
"This is My body which is for you. Do this in
remembrance of Me."
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,
"Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you
proclaim the Lord's death until He comes (I Corinthians 11:23‑26).
This promise is repeated by Paul where he says:
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation
in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a
participation in the body of Christ?
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread (I Corinthians 10:16, 17).
The Lord's Supper
Q. & A. 75 – 82 The Supper of Our Lord
- The Catechism devotes three Lord's Days to its teaching about the second sacrament. In them it discusses the following:
Q&A 75: the sign and the promise which are signified and sealed in the Lord's supper;
Q&A 76: the content of the promise;
Q&A 77: the texts where the promise can be found;
Q&A 78: of what the connection between the sign and what is promised does not consist;
Q&A 79: of what the connection between the sign and what is promised does consist;
Q&A 80: the difference between the Lord's supper and the papal mass;
Q&A 81: for whom the Lord's supper is instituted and who are the desired guests;
Q&A 82: that the church must keep the Lord's supper holy and how it must do that.
Note that the Catechism's order of treatment of baptism and the Lord's supper is identical. (See LD 26-27, Note 1).
- Holy Scripture refers to this sacrament by different names. Each of these names teaches us something about this sacrament. It is called the Lord's Supper, because Christ instituted it “on the night when he was betrayed” (1 Cor 11:23). In Acts 2:42, it is called the Breaking of Bread, thereby referring to what happens in this sacrament; in 1 Cor 10:16, it is called Participation in the Body and Blood of Christ, thereby pointing out what this sacrament signifies and seals; and 1 Cor 10:21 speaks of the Table of the Lord, for the Lord instituted this table and is the host.
- Christ instituted the Lord's supper in the circle of his disciples “on the night when he was betrayed,” while sitting at the Passover table. The old Passover was fulfilled when he, the Lamb of God, went to his sacrifice. That is why that old bloody sacrament was replaced with the unbloody supper, which is called holy, because it is the “table of the Lord” (see above). It is a meal of remembrance, for Christ said in Lk 22:19: “Do this in remembrance of me.”