Holy Communion

Holy Communion (or Last Supper)

What does the Lord's Supper signify?

Matthew 26:26­29 (NIV) 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." 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 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."

1 Corinthians 11:23­30 (NIV) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

The broken bread symbolizes Christ’s broken body.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

In the Lord's Supper, unleavened bread, or bread without yeast, is used. The bread is unleavened symbolizing the fact that Christ is without sin. In the New Testament, yeast is used to symbolize impurity.

1 Corinthians 5:6­8 (NIV) Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast­­ as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

The wine symbolizes Christ's blood.

Blood is necessary for the forgiveness of sin.

Matthew 26:28 (NIV) This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:22 (NIV) In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Christ's blood replaces forever the need to constantly use animal's blood in sacrifice.

Leviticus 16:3­16 (NIV) "This is how Aaron is to enter the sanctuary area: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. 5 From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 6 "Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. 7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 8 He is to cast lots for the two goats one lot for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the LORD and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. 11 "Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the Testimony, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover. 15 "He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull's blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

What does it mean to take the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner?

1 Corinthians 11:20­22 (NIV) When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

1 Corinthians 11:27­30 (NIV) Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.

Many Christians are afraid to take the Lord's Supper for fear that if they have not confessed all known sin, they will be in danger of judgment. However, this passage does not teach that. Paul said that we should not conduct the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner as if it had nothing to do with the body of Christ. This statement was made with the purpose of rebuking some Christians who treats the Lord's Supper as a feast and even got drunk with wine. God took this insult seriously as many of the culprits were either punished with physical illness or premature death.

Why do we need to take the Lord's Supper?

So that we do not forget Christ death for us.

1 Corinthians 11:23­25 (NIV) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

What should be our response when we remember Christ's death?
Be repentant

We are responsible for Christ's death. Christ suffered because of our sins.

1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (NIV) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night 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."

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Sin always hurt God. It is amazing that the infinite God of the universe chooses to let Himself be affected by the actions of His creation.

Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Jeremiah 48:35­36 (NIV) In Moab I will put an end to those who make offerings on the high places and burn incense to their gods," declares the LORD. 36 "So my heart laments for Moab like a flute; it laments like a flute for the men of Kir Hareseth. The wealth they acquired is gone.

Jeremiah 48:35­36 (NIV) In Moab I will put an end to those who make offerings on the high places and burn incense to their gods," declares the LORD. 36 "So my heart laments for Moab like a flute...

Isaiah 42:8,14 (NIV) "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.....14 "For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant.

Realizing that sin hurts God, we should repent of our sin if we love Him.

John 14:15 (NIV) "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

Be thankful

Thank God that He loved us despite the fact that there is nothing in us to deserve that love.

Romans 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Thank God because He suffered on our behalf and all we have to do to be saved is to trust Him.

John 3:16 (NIV) "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Thankfulness is so important to God.

Luke 17:11­19 (NIV) Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him­­and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

Be willing to share Christ

Matthew 26:26­27 (NIV) 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." 27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.

The fact that the bread was broken for everyone indicates that it is something to be shared. We do injustice to Christ's death by keeping Him all to ourselves and not telling people about it.