Lately, because of a discussion at our Sunday School, I have been thinking about the Lord’s Supper. Given that tomorrow is Sunday and many of us will participate in Communion, I thought a post on this topic fitting.
The Lord’s Supper is one of two ordinances, or sacraments, that Jesus instructed his church to obey after his departure. The other is baptism.
Again, Jesus himself instituted this ordinance in Matthew 26:26-29.
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of thecovenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Then, in 1 Corinthians 11:25, Paul said, “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.”
The Old Testament also provides us with other instances of eating and drinking in the presence of God. We see this in Exodus 24:9-11 and also Deuteronomy 14:23, 26.
These are all a kind of partial restoration of broken fellowship that point to the complete restoration that believers will have with God. This, because our sins have been paid for by the death of Jesus Christ.
Also, even before Old Testament ceremonies, we know that God created Adam and Eve for the express purpose of fellowship. At one time, Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect, holy, and uninterrupted fellowship with God. Sin had not yet entered into the world. This means that every meal that Adam and Eve ate was in the presence of the Lord! I can barely imagine that!
Beyond all of this, the Lord’s Supper points to a time in the future when “the fellowship of Eden will be restored and there will be even greater joy, because those who eat in God’s presence will be forgiven sinners now confirmed in righteousness, never able to sin again.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, page 989). Oh, come quickly Lord Jesus!
Participation in the Lord’s Supper is no light matter. Our Lord wanted us, upon coming together, to consider the wonder of restored fellowship that is made possible only because of him. Whereas it should have been me, it was him on the cross. His body was broken, his blood was shed — that I might live again. It is a somber, but also joyful thing!
The next time you participate in Communion, think, with all your heart, upon the great lengths that God has gone through so that we could be restored. Dwell upon His love and His goodness that we know only because of Jesus. And then, think about the joy that is still to come!
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“While I gaze upon the emblems of my Saviour’s death,
may I ponder why he died, and hear him say,
‘I gave my life to purchase yours,
presented myself an offering to expiate your sin,
shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
opened my side to make you clean,
endured your curses to set you free,
bore your condemnation to satisfy
divine justice.’ “
“As the outward elements nourish my body,
so may they indwelling Spirit invigorate
until that day when I hunger and thirst
and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.”
(The Valley of Vision, The Lord’s Supper, pages 360-361)