Summary: We will look at the Lord’s supper from three perspectives. As a memorial – past As communion- present As a hope in the return of Christ - future
The Lord’s supper should be one of the most moving and meaningful services we observe. Just as baptism is a visual picture of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus and our new life in Christ, so the Lord’s supper communicates important aspects of our faith.
We insist that the elements are symbols, but we need to remember what is symbolized. When Jesus held the last supper with his disciples, he said the bread represented his body that is broken. The next day his body was broken on the cross. The cup represents the shed blood of Christ.
We will look at the Lord’s supper from three perspectives.
As a memorial – past
As communion- present
As a hope in the return of Christ - future
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. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
Here in this passage, it is stated that the Lord’s Supper is proclaiming the death of Christ. When we partake of the Lord’s supper taking the bread and the cup, we are involved in a graphic display of what Christ’s death has accomplished.
The bread reminds us of the broken body of our Lord. The cup reminds us of the shed blood of our savior. When we look at the Lord’s supper from the perspective of a memorial, we should understand it in its relationship to the Passover feast.
The gospels present the last supper of our Lord with his disciples as the Passover meal. It was the time when it was customary for the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and Jesus disciples ask, “where do you want us to go to make the preparation for you to eat the Passover?
Jesus gave his disciples instructions to prepare for the Passover feast. They were to go into the city and follow a man they will meet carrying a jar of water.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” 9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. 10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” (Luke 22:7-12)
The upper room will be all furnished and the disciples were to make preparations for the Passover meal there. The Passover observations began 1,500 years earlier for the Israelites just before the Exodus from Egypt. It was to commemorate the night God took the firstborn of the Egyptians but the houses of the Israelites which had the blood of the lamb on the doorpost would be passed over.
The Passover feast was a time the Israelites looked back on this event, but the Israelites also looked forward to a deliverance symbolized by their deliverance from Egypt. That deliverance was fulfilled in the death of Christ when Jesus shed his blood on the cross.
The Passover was God’s deliverance for Israel from Egyptian bondage. The Lord’s supper signified an even greater deliverance. It was God releasing His people from the bondage of sin. The Passover feast was instituted the night before the deliverance from Egypt. The Lord’s Supper was instituted the night before man’s deliverance from sin.
The Passover was marked by the blood of the Passover Lamb. The Lord’s supper was accomplished by the shedding of blood of Christ in the New Covenant.
The Passover reflected on a past crises, yet it was filled with the present joy of deliverance. It looked forward to a time of bigger spiritual deliverance. Correspondingly the Lord’s supper marks the death of Christ. Yet we have reason for joy because of the deliverance through the death of Christ. It was accomplished through the obedience of Christ.
During the Lord’s supper we remember the broken body of Christ. We remember the shed blood. It is a memorial for the death of Christ. Jesus was foretold as the man of sorrows. It is also the Gospel that death provided our deliverance from sin.