The Christians in Corinth had not recognised the importance of their meals together. They were behaving as if they were at a party (11:20-22). Paul warned them that they were acting in an unholy manner on a very holy occasion. The result was that they had brought Godís judgement against themselves. That was why many of them were weak and ill. Some of them had even died.
It is a holy act when Christians share bread and wine together. They are remembering Godís most holy act in this world, that is, the death of Christ. Those Christians in Corinth were not recognising the connection between their meals and Christís death. The result of their unholy behaviour was severe.
Of course, Christ did not die so that his people would become weak or ill. In fact, the purpose of his death was to make his people well - in their spirits, but also in their bodies (Isaiah 53:4-6).
However, that holy act (Christís death) was also an act of judgement. The word holy means Ďseparate for Godí. So, a holy act will always separate holy people and things from whatever is unholy. Clearly, that is a kind of judgement.
That is how, at those holy meals, many Christians in Corinth were bringing about judgement against themselves. Their food had a special meaning: the body of Christ, who died for them. But they ate it in a manner that made poorer Christians feel ashamed. The richer Christians were even drinking too much wine!
Paul told them that, especially on such a holy occasion they must first examine their own lives. They should confess their evil deeds to God. They should ask for his help to remove from their lives anything that is unholy. Then, they can accept the bread and wine gladly, and not in fear of judgement.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.