(To be read carefully)
And He himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there. Mark 14.15 (See also Luke 22.12)
It is a fact established by the dual witnesses of Mark and Luke that Jesus observed the Passover in an upstairs room. He instituted the Communion supper we share every Lord’s Day in that upstairs room. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 11.14-34 that Jesus established the pattern we follow when we observe weekly Communion service. Paul and later Luke record that Jesus intends we follow this pattern (I Corinthian 11.25, Luke 22.20). We observe the Communion service every Lord’s Day because we know that was the practice of the early Church (Acts 20.7-12). That Communion service described in Acts 20 took place upstairs as well – on the third floor (v.9).
We are careful to reenact every aspect of the Lord’s Supper as described in scripture. We share unleavened bread and the juice of the grape. We remember the words Jesus spoke. We observe it every Lord’s Day. We emphasize that the Lord’s Supper is “separate and apart” from the offering. We insist (as we should – what moment of our week is more sacred?) that we get everything right. Why then have we shown no concern for observing communion upstairs? Jesus instituted the Supper upstairs. The one Communion service we have described in the book of Acts takes place upstairs. Shouldn’t we do the same?
If so, I have some questions:
Would a main floor above a basement suffice?
Do we need to do this on a third floor? (see Acts 20.9)
What about those who worship on a main floor not above a basement? Are they worshipping in error?
What about my grandmother Bryson? She attended a church without a second floor or a basement. Will she be saved? What about all the thousands of saints in the same situation – are they lost?
You may protest that the Bible never (NEVER!) makes an issue of upstairs or downstairs concerning the Communion service - that to do so is to go farther than responsible study allows. If that is your answer, my response is a resounding “Amen!” I could not agree more.
Let us listen to our collective wisdom on this point and continue to apply it to ourselves. Let us see how easy it is to take a verse or two and erect an edifice of orthodoxy neither built nor sanctioned by God, but that comes from our own faulty reasoning, preferences, and personal prejudices.
Let us rigorously apply the standard of the word (II Timothy 3.16-17). Let us speak where the Bible speaks, be silent where the Bible is silent, and give issues exactly the amount of attention and emphasis the Bible gives them – no more and no less.
If this is not our standard, any number of oppressive and unbiblical rules will be accepted as normative – as the very fulcrum of the faith. Such a faith will not be Biblical faith, but a faith we have concocted ourselves from bits and oddities we have chosen as we (to borrow a phrase from Jesus “neglect the weightier matters of the law” (Matthew 23.23).