36. Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper
Luke writes “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the Disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” (Luke 22v19-20)
Depending on your church, it can be called amongst other things, the Eucharist or The Lord’s Supper. Christians are commanded to participate, as Jesus said: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22v19). Some churches do it every service and others do it monthly. Whenever we participate in it, we do it regularly as a remembrance of Jesus until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11v26)! The bread symbolizes His body broken on the cross and the wine symbolizes His blood shed on the cross. Therefore before we partake of the bread and wine, we are to examine ourselves and confess any unforgiven sin (1 Corinthians 11v28-29). This is done so because it would be hypocritical to eat it while harbouring known sin in our hearts and having fellowship with Jesus and others in the church!
What does it all mean?
It symbolizes the following things:
It also symbolizes the death of Christ for our sin (Luke 22v19)
It symbolizes our acceptance of Christ’s death for us.
Symbolizes our dependence on Christ for spiritual life.
Through your participation in it, you have:
fellowship with other believers in the universal church (1 Corinthians 10v17)
We receive the benefits of His sacrifice (1 Corinthians 10v16)
We spiritually feed upon Christ (1 Corinthians 11v24)
It also reflects the New Covenant between God and Jesus’ Disciples – a Covenant which guarantees salvation!
Two other main views insist that it is more than just symbolic! Firstly, there is transubstantiation, which believes that the bread and wine actually become the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Secondly there is, consubstantiation, which believes that the body and blood of Christ are present in the Communion meal.
However, it must be noted, that both of these views would indicate that Jesus Christ is being re-sacrificed and Hebrews 7v27b-28 (But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.) seems to refute these views. The bread we eat and wine we drink at Holy Communion are only symbolic of Jesus' sacrifice and not a re-enactment.
Through the act of Baptism and the partaking of Communion, we remember the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our lives.