The Lord’s Supper, aka Communion, holds a special place in the heart of most followers of Jesus. Like believer’s baptism, the Lord’s Supper gives a visible picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us how the first-century followers of Jesus participated in the Lord’s Supper together, and these instructions still guide us today.
1 Corinthians 11:23-28
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, 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, and said, “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 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself; in this way let him eat the bread and drink from the cup.
Notice four things about the Lord’s Supper:
- It is a simple act. Jesus took the bread and he took the cup quite simply, as he was eating the meal with his followers. There was no smoke, no clanging of bells, no incense. He simply took the bread and the cup and gave it to his disciples.
- It is a symbol. The bread represents the body of Christ that was broken for our sin. The cup represents his blood that was shed for our salvation.
- It is a reminder. Through the sharing of the bread and the cup, we are reminding ourselves and those with whom we share it of all that Jesus did for us on the cross and through the empty grave. He paid the price for our salvation and he made the way for us to experience eternal life with him in heaven!
- It is a statement of faith. The Bible says that when we share the Lord’s Supper, we remember his death (faith in what he did for us) until he returns (faith in what he will do for us). It is a look back to the past and also toward the future. It is a statement of faith in our eternal God.
To prepare ourselves for the Lord’s Supper, we are instructed to examine ourselves spiritually. We should take time to pray to the Lord, allowing him to examine our heart and mind. If he reveals any sin that we have allowed to creep into our lives, we confess it to him, turn away from it, and receive his forgiveness. We recommit ourselves to following Jesus. If necessary, we even reconcile relationships with others we have offended. As we prepare ourselves, this spiritual self-examination draws us closer to Christ and is a powerful witness of his forgiveness and love.
One important thing to note. You do not have to wait until your church shares the Lord’s Supper to participate in the Lord’s Supper. In Christ, we are all a kingdom of priests. With your family and friends, feel free to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. I recommend you use matzo crackers for the bread and Welch’s grape juice to fill the cup. As you celebrate the Lord’s Supper together over a meal, experience the fellowship of the first-century believers in your home or wherever you are gathering together.