Communion is, perhaps, one of the most misunderstood rituals of the Christian faith. It is symbolic of our remembrance of Jesus’ crucifixion. While this is true, there is so much more to this and, I believe if we get it, will not only change us spiritually but it will change us physically as well.
One bit of housekeeping: The emblems of communion DO NOT become the actual body and blood of Christ, as some teach. That is tantamount to cannibalism and far from what Jesus was trying to get to us.
Communion is symbolic, or representing of what you’ve received from the Lord.
The bread represents the Body of Jesus, who is the Word of God.
Jesus told us in Matthew 4 that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We need food to nourish our natural bodies but we need the Word of God to nourish our born-again spirits.
The wine represents the Spirit of Jesus, which is the Power of God.
The disciples were instructed by Jesus to wait at Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. Why? Because Jesus knew that they couldn’t effectively share the Gospel without the Holy Ghost. That applies to us, today — without the power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot minister Christ to anyone.
When the disciples of the first century Church gathered together, they did it in one another’s homes. Breaking bread (eating together) became a symbol of faith and solidarity for these early disciples (Acts 2:46)
From the time He was betrayed until the time He was crucified, Jesus was horribly disfigured. It can be said that he was dismembered and shed His Blood for our sins. But when He was resurrected, He received a glorified body.
In other words, He was dis-membered and re-membered.
Let’s take a look at our core text — for those who have spent any time in church, this is familiar:
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 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.” 25 In the same way also he took 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.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come. (2 Corinthians 11:23-34 – Also Reference Luke 22:19-20)
But let’s break this down:
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 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.” 25 In the same way also he took 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.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
This passage reminds us of the Lord’s supper and the importance of eating together. He also reminds us that this is emblematic of the New Covenant, not the Old. Paul also tells us that this is not a ritualistic, time-bound event but that it should be a way of life. How do I conclude that? Because we do it whenever we think of (remember) Jesus and all He’s done for us.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
Now, this is where we get into the heavy stuff: Legalistic teaching tells you that you cannot eat of the Lord’s table if you are unworthy. In other words, you must confess all your sins and “get yourself together” before eating.
I have a word for this teaching: Rubbish!
The truth of the matter is, if you’re saved, you’ve been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. If you’re saved, you’re worthy because Jesus made you worthy because He’s worthy! This scripture also tells us that we are to examine and judge ourselves, not that God is going to judge us and make us sick or kill us.
And now for the buzzer-beater: verse 30 tells us that the reason many are weak, sick, and dying is because we don’t partake of the Lord’s supper!
The Lord’s supper is emblematic of all that Jesus brings to us, that is, Sozo:
- Salvation from sin (we celebrate this in the Lord’s Supper)
- Deliverance from demonic oppression (which we receive in the Lord’s supper)
- Bodily healing (which we achieve in the Lord’s supper)
- And material blessing (that is, prosperity, which we obtain in the Lord’s supper)
Every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17) and these gifts are without repentance (Romans 11:29). Don’t let anyone bamboozle you into believing that God will take your life because you abuse a meal! This is a ceremony God has given us for our benefit, not to satisfy a religious requirement. If that were the case, we’d be fallen from Grace because we’d be back in a legalistic, works-based mentality (Galatians 5:4).
So, who is it that Jesus wants to dine with? You!
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.(Revelation 3:20-21)
By the way, if you’re saved, you’ve already opened the door Jesus has knocked on!
Now let me tie a bow on this for you: The Lord’s Supper is an act of fellowship and relationship, not religion! This is why there is power in believers coming together and breaking bread, because we are symbolizing our relationship with God and our fellow believers! The Lord’s Supper — Communion — is all about God communing with us. In other words, it’s all about love!
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)
It’s sad how religion and tradition have used what God gave us for our good and perverted it into a religious lever for fearmongering!
Jesus took on the sin of the world on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21) and that sin was buried in the tomb with Him.
And, yet, God did not forget Him. He remembered Him. In fact, He remembered to re-member Jesus!
When you’re born-again, Jesus takes your sin away — it’s buried with Him! If you try and go dig it up, you’re trespassing! And just like the Father didn’t forget Jesus, He remembers you (to re-member you) as well.
So when you partake of the Lord’s supper in remembrance of Him, the emblems of His Body — broken and separated — and Blood come together in remembrance. In other words, in communion you re-member Him as you remember Him.
God hasn’t forgotten you. He wants to take your dismemberment and re-member it. He wants to take your brokenness and make it whole.
© 2014 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)