The Mystery of
the Sacrament of The Lords Supper.
Matt 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-23; John 6:47-60; 1 Cor 10:16-17; 1 Cor 11:23-34
Also called “Communion”, the “Lords Table” and what the early church called the “Eucharist” or “giving thanks” is a mysterious sacrament of the Christian faith.
The Bible says:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." Matt 26:26-29
Over thousands of years, The Lords Supper has remained a mysterious and sacred act that has evoked the hearts and minds of God’s people as they interact individually and corporately with the heart and mind of Jesus Christ.
This is like a most important and sacred family dinner where the Father and Son call their family together to remember and celebrate who they are and why they are at His table.
Communion is not for those who have not yet believed in Jesus as their saviour, but is for those who have responded to Jesus’ sacrifice for their sin and received the life of God’s Holy Spirit.
In the supper we confess our faith and express what that faith means to us.
We do it in memory of Christ’s death and to celebrate His finished work on the cross that secures our everlasting relationship with the God of Life. In the Lord’s Supper we clearly see the vicarious atonement or substitution of Christ for our own sin; that He died the death we, ourselves, personally were condemned to. It was my sin that nailed him to the cross.
In the Lords Supper, I personally, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually accept and receive the real and effectual sacrifice that Jesus made for me by letting himself be stripped, beaten, tortured and killed for my wilful sin – the choices, decisions, words, actions, attitudes that goes against what God has said is the way I should live.
The Lords Supper Spiritually bridges our present day faith with both the past and future actions of Jesus
Jesus says..."This is my body, which is for you (PRESENT); do this in remembrance of me."(PAST) In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood(FUTURE); do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
Paul encourages us...“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”(FUTURE)
The Lords Supper is a time of remembrance of the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us, why he did it and what His death provided for us. Jesus says “do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19)
The Lords Supper connects us to our Past
God has always been about the work of revealing himself, particularly as he is calling us, his creation to himself and redeeming us. He did this in the Old Testament, as he provided a Passover Lamb. A perfect lamb that was killed and that’s blood was wiped on the doorposts of the Jew’s who were living in Egypt, so that they would escape the death that the rest of the world would experience. The death of the Egyptians was the necessary event that would provide the deliverance of God’s People. At that time Gods people began to celebrate the Passover as an annual and sacred celebration feast to remember what God had done for them. Over and over God would command them to “REMEMBER”
Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. Deut 24:18
We so easily forget who we are, what has happened in our lives that has made us who we are today. We often want to forget and move on, and when we do we end up going in circles. The Israelites did that for 40 years as they wondered in the desert, they easily would forget what God had done for them and they would have to cover the same ground over and over until they were willing to accept who God was and what he had done for them and the future that he had for them.
When you take the Lords Supper – we remember what Jesus has done for us.
Let your mind remind you of the sin – the specific names, dates, times, places, words, actions that the blood of Jesus is covering in your life. The things you have confessed and repented of. The things you are no longer judged and held responsible for. These are the things that the sacrifice of Jesus and forgiveness of God has set you free of.
Freedom is freedom when you know what you have been set free from.
The Lords Supper connects us with our past – it also connects us with our Present.
The Supper is a time of refreshing and communing with God through the Holy Spirit.
An event that happened 2000 years ago becomes real and significant in our present day lives. As we participate in the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection life.
When we bless the cup at the Lord's Table, aren't we sharing in the blood of Christ? And when we break the bread, aren't we sharing in the body of Christ? 1 Cor 10:16 NLT
Through the spirit of Christ we connect our lives with the sacrifice of Jesus...
Through the death and life of Jesus we to are able to live
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day John 6:53-54
Jesus also said
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
Through the Lord’s Supper we remember what Jesus has done for us and find the refreshment our souls long for to live in the fullness of life that Jesus bring into our lives today.
"If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 4:11
At the Lords table we are refreshed, renewed and find the strength to face our very present days.
We must also remember the Lords Supper is not an individual experience but is an expression of the whole community. Not just between me and Jesus, but that God is calling His whole family together, we are part of the body of Jesus.
"And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread, showing that we are one body." 1 Cor 10:17 NLT
Paul chastised the Corinthian church on their abuse of this sacred event.
"When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else." 1 Cor 11:20-21
The problem in this church was that each person was only interested in themselves, their own issues, interests, concerns and comforts and Paul reminds us we are part of a body that God is strengthening us for.
The Lords Supper also connects us to our future.
God has always had a greater future for us than we may even have for ourselves, it is a future of a glorious home
In the Old Testament, God was calling his people to worship him and he would take them to their new home – a Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
"And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into ... — a land flowing with milk and honey.'Ex 3:17
The Supper is a time of recommitment and anticipation. We are to examine (literally “prove” or “test” ) ourselves and participate in a worthy manner. When we do this we renew our dedication to Christ and His people, in the hopeful anticipation “till He comes again” After Christs return we shall partake with Him in His physical presence in the Kingdom.
"For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Luke 22:16-18,20
Jesus is entering into a covenant relationship in itself indicates an on-going future relationship, but this future is not ambiguous in Jesus mind, but very clear and with great fulfillments – it is that time when he comes for us and takes us to the great feast of the lamb in the physical presence of God.
Then the angel said to me(John), "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'" And he added, "These are the true words of God." Rev 19:9
“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.”1 Cor 11:26
In the Lords Supper you are declaring you have a future with God. You are anticipating and looking for the return of Christ who will bring you into his glorious home. When Jesus said
"I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:2-3
This is real. When we are participating in the Lords Supper – we are participating in the Past – Present and Future of our Relationship with God because of our faith in Jesus Christ, that his sacrifice of his body and blood on the cross secured this relationship for me.
This is why the Lords Supper is a GREAT, MYSTERIOUS SACRAMENT FOR US AND ONE HE INVITES US TO PARTICIPATE IN.