In considering the Eucharist, we should consider the words of institution:
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.’ 1 Corinthians 11:24
Hence, when Christ instituted the Eucharist, He took the bread and the wine and gave thanks over them. This thanksgiving which Christ, our great high priest, offered over the bread and wine is seen as the fulfillment of the worship of Melchizedek by Abraham in Genesis 14:18-20
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” He gave him a tenth of all.
When Christ celebrated the Eucharist in the Upper Room, He was fully aware of the sacrifice which He had been appointed to make. He understood the manifold suffering that He must undergo, and yet He was confident of the victory over sin and death that He would achieve (cf. Hebrews 12:1) and so even in that dark hour, He gave thanks to the Father.
Similarly, when we participate in the Eucharist, we must give thanks. Matthew Henry called this sacrament “an ordinance of thanksgiving appointed for the joyful celebration of the Redeemer’s praise” (cf. Henry, Companion). Our Redeemer and Mediator ought to be praise not only for giving Himself as a ransom for many (cf. Mark 10:45) but also for the nature of His sacrifice. The sacrifice of Christ was sufficient to accomplish the salvation of all His people for all times. It was the full and perfect sacrifice of atonement, illustrating that He is the perfect savior for sinners; yet it is appropriate that every day in our praise and prayer we offer “the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (cf. Hosea 13:15). In the Old Covenant, the Jews closed the Passover meal with a prayer of thanksgiving over the cup of blessing. Following this pattern, it was the intention of Jesus, our Passover lamb (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:7), that in the celebration of this Supper His disciples should observe a perpetual thanksgiving until the day when we should enter into His glory. How much more should we offer thanksgiving to Him when we partake of this holy sacrament.
However, the Eucharist is not only a commemorative ordinance, but it is a confessing ordinance. This is evident based upon 1 Corinthians 11:26
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
In addressing the nature of the Eucharist, Matthew Henry comments on this verse as follows:
The Lord’s Supper is a solemnity by which we constantly avow the Christian name, and declare ourselves not ashamed of the banner of the cross under which we were listed, but resolve to continue as Christ’s faithful servants and soldiers to our live’s end, according to our baptismal vow. Henry, Companion
This proclamation of the Lord’s death is nothing less than the confession of faith. When we partake of the Eucharist, we profess our value and esteem for Christ crucified. We have every reason to put a high value on the cross, for it has borne to us the richest fruits. The suffering of the cross has been crowned with the resurrection (cf. Hebrews 2:9). The victory of Christ has won us the most superb and marvelous triumphs; therefore, we confess it has become our crown and glory. In this way, the celebration of this sacrament is worship because it is a witness to God’s mighty acts of salvation.
Furthermore, when we participate in the Eucharist, we confess Christ not only to be our glory, but our Lord, the Lord to whom we owe homage and service. It is to Christ that we have called out in our time of need. He has heard our cry and come to our aid and therefore, we owe Him our homage. Because He has been faithful in the past, we cry out to Him in our constantly recurring need. As Matthew Henry writes:
By this solemn rite, we deliberately and of choice put ourselves under the protection of His righteousness, and the influence of His grace, and the conduct and operation of His Holy Spirit. Matthew Henry, Companion
As we receive the Eucharist, let us confess our confidence and reliance on Him as Lord and God. Let us confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and resolve ourselves to be His subjects under His authority. Let us confess that He is a skillful physician and reckon ourselves to be His patients. Let us confess that He is a faithful advocate, and yield ourselves to be His clients. As we recall God’s work of salvation in the past and in the present during the Eucharist, may we recount it with adoration and awe as thanksgiving and witness.