Posts Tagged communion

Five Reasons We Observe the Lord's Supper

by Roger Severino    
  1. We remember Christ and what He has done for us. Jesus instructed His disciples: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24). The bread, Jesus tells us, represents His body. The fruit of the vine represents His blood. When we take the elements of communion we remember and thoughtfully reflect on Christ’s great sacrifice on our behalf. “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!”[1]
  2. We celebrate the New Covenant that Christ came to initiate. Both Luke 22:20 and 1 Corinthians 11:25 refer to the cup as the “new covenant in my blood.” Jesus was celebrating the Passover meal with His disciples. That feast commemorated God’s deliverance of His people from Egyptian slavery by the exodus event. The blood on their doorposts was a means of protecting the Hebrew’s firstborn. The exodus was the key deliverance (salvation) event in the Old Testament. Jesus takes this important tradition and inaugurates a new covenant, established not by the blood of a Passover lamb, but through His own blood, shed on the cross for our salvation and deliverance from the slavery of sin. This is the foundation of the new covenant.
  3. We receive spiritual nourishment. I have sometimes wondered why God cares about rituals and why Jesus commanded us to observe the Lord’s Supper. I have come to realize that it is not really for God’s benefit, but for ours. We need tangible expressions of our faith. When I take in the nutrients and nourishment of the bread and cup (however meager), this becomes a means of taking into my person the benefits of Christ’s death applied to me. Jesus didn’t simply die for an abstract ideal. He died for me. When the bread and drink enter into my body, I remember that He died on my behalf, and this provides me spiritual nourishment. I am taking the benefits of Christ’s death to myself.
  4. We affirm our faith in Christ. As we take the bread and the cup, we are affirming that we need Jesus and all that His death secures for us. We need His forgiveness, His love, His salvation, His indwelling Spirit, etc. We pledge ourselves to Christ. It is a time of covenant renewal. We commit once again to trust Jesus and pledge our lives to Him. We declare that we wish to honor and obey Him.
  5. We proclaim His death until He comes and await the final supper. The community of faith observes the Lord’s Supper, proclaiming Jesus’ death, until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:26). When Jesus finished with the bread and cup, He told His disciples: But I tell you, from this moment I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in My Father’s kingdom with you.”[2] Revelation tells us of a day when heaven proclaims that the marriage supper of the Lamb has come and His Bride has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7). We live between the cups, the first cup representing the death of Christ on our behalf, and the second cup of the gathered saints who will celebrate with Christ and His final victory at the marriage supper of the Lamb. When we observe the Lord’s Supper, we anticipate that final Day by faith.

[1] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Ro 5:8.
[2] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Mt 26:29.