Summary: We have been invited to the table to commune with Christ.
Communion with Christ
Woodlawn Baptist Church
December 30, 2007
In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul wrote,
“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”
I want you to imagine a scene with me…a scene of beauty and wonder and grace. The King of heaven and earth has prepared a feast in honor of His Son. The table has been prepared, the Son has taken His place at the head, and it is you and I who have been invited to sit and dine and fellowship. As we look around the table we see one another…men and women, boys and girls loved by God, here by invitation. The Son, Jesus Christ, is prepared to receive us as guests and honor us as friends. He has prepared a feast before us.
Can you imagine such a scene? To be asked to eat with the King of Glory? Were He a physical king with a physical kingdom and you and I were invited to feast at his table, we would certainly prepare ourselves for the occasion. Our dress and demeanor and language and disposition would all reflect great joy and honor toward the one who has invited us.
God has indeed prepared a feast in honor of His Son. The Lord’s Supper is symbolic of that feast. I chose to draw your attention to the verse we read in 1 Corinthians for a couple of reasons. First, it is the only place in the Bible where the Lord’s Supper is referred to as communion. But secondly, and more specifically, because I want you to understand what that word communion means in relation to the Lord’s Supper.
The word communion comes from the Greek word koinonia and it means partnership, participation, fellowship or intercourse. In other words, it is the joining of two or more into one. That’s why Paul continued in 1 Corinthians 10:17 by saying,
“For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?”
The word partakers comes from the same Greek word as communion. Paul’s point was simply this – that in coming to the table, whether it be the Lord’s table or an idol’s table, we are joining ourselves to that which it represents. We become one with it and with those who partake of it with us. “We being many are one bread.” Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, and in communion we commune, become one with one another and most importantly, with Him.
Now, while the Lord’s Supper was a new thing for the people of God, the idea of eating and drinking in His presence was not. For example, find Exodus 24:9-11 in your Bible. When the people of Israel were camped before Mt. Sinai, just after God had given the Ten Commandments, God called the leaders of Israel up to the mountain to meet with him.
“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
There’s a lot of interesting stuff in those few verses, but it is the fact that God invited these men into His presence where they dined with Him.
In addition to this, turn to Deuteronomy 14:22-23; 26. Every year the people of Israel were to give a tithe of all their crops.
“Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always…And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household.”
Again, a lot there, but the point is that each year God’s people were commanded to come into His presence, wherever that might have been, and eat and drink before Him. But even earlier than that, God had put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and given them all of its abundance to eat (except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Since there was no sin in that situation, and since God had created them for fellowship with himself and to glorify himself, then every meal that Adam and Eve ate would have been a meal of feasting in the presence of the Lord. He created them for communion: for oneness with Him.