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The Heidelberg Catechism

The Lord’s Supper

 

Lord's Day 28

 

75   Q.    How does the Lord's Supper remind you and assure you that you share in Christ's one sacrifice on the cross and in all his gifts?

 

       A.    In this way:

Christ has commanded me and all believers

to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup.

With this command he gave this promise:1

 

First,

as surely as I see with my eyes

the bread of the Lord broken for me

and the cup given to me,

so surely

his body was offered and broken for me

and his blood poured out for me

     on the cross.

 

Second,

as surely as

I receive from the hand of the one who serves,

and taste with my mouth

the bread and cup of the Lord,

given me as sure signs of Christ's body and blood,

so surely

     he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life

     with his crucified body and poured-out blood.

 

1 Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-25

 

76   Q.    What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood?

 

       A.    It means

to accept with a believing heart

     the entire suffering and death of Christ

and by believing

     to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.1

 

But it means more.

Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us,

we are united more and more to Christ's blessed body.2

And so, although he is in heaven3 and we are on earth,

we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone.4

And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit,

          as members of our body are by one soul.5

 

1 John 6:35, 40, 50-54

2 John 6:55-56; 1 Cor. 12:13

3 Acts 1:9-11; 1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 3:1

4 1 Cor. 6:15-17; Eph. 5:29-30; 1 John 4:13

5 John 6:56-58; 15:1-6; Eph. 4:15-16; 1 John 3:24

 

77   Q.    Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?

 

       A.    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,

'Take, eat, this is my body, which is for you.*

Do this in remembrance of me.'

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying,

'This cup is the new covenant in my blood.

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."1

 

This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:

 

"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."2

 

1 1 Cor. 11:23-26

2 1 Cor. 10:16-17

* Earlier and better manuscripts of I Cor. 11 omit the words, “Take, eat.”

 

 

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