Summary: The 3 fold meaning of the Lord's supper. Good for use prior to serving communion.
The Lord’s Supper carries with it a three-fold meaning. It is a reminder of what Jesus has done for us in the past, a symbol of our present relationship with him and a promise of what he is going to do for us in the future. The Bible tells us in Luke 22:19 that “he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them and said, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” So in a few moments we will share in this meal together and we will lead a small piece of bread and we will remember Jesus as we do.
Then Jesus said in verse 20 and the same way he also took the cup after supper and said, this cup is the new covenant established by my blood; it is shed for you. (1) It is a reminder of what God has done for us in the past. This reminds us to look into the past and find meaning. So when we drink this juice, the fruit of the vine we remember two things:
• the blood of Jesus was shed for all of us
• this blood marked the beginning of the new covenant
Now the old covenant focused in the OT has an interesting beginning. The writer of Hebrews tells us that when all the commandments of God had been spoken by Moses to the people, he took the blood of tabs and goats and sprinkled the blood over the scroll, containing the commandments. And when he did, he said “this is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded for you.” Then he sprinkled the tabernacle and everything that was being used with blood. And then he makes a very important statement. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
Then later in that chapter he tells us that the high priest would do this once a year, the next, the next but Jesus has appeared one time for the removal of sin by sacrificing himself. No more would it be necessary to keep sacrificing these tabs and goats year after year for the forgiveness of sin. We now have this Lamb of God who has common has taken away the sins of the world. So this Lord’s Supper, although we call it a Memorial service, is not a funeral as if Jesus were still dead. This memorial reminds us of the fact that death only held Jesus for three days and reminds us that death will not hold us forever as well. And so when we come to the table and remember his death we actually come to celebrate.
The Israelites looked back at the Passover as the defining moment in their history. This is when their nation really began because it marks the death that passed over them and they were set free to serve the Lord. You and I look back to the cross of Jesus and the resurrection as the defining moment in history. Because this is how we escaped death and slavery to sin and we are set free to serve the Lord.
(2) We are reminded of our present relationship with Jesus Christ. This encourages us to look upward. You see Paul reminds us of four ways we share all of this with Jesus.
1. We share in his crucifixion. I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live. Galatians 2:20.
2. We share in his death. We were buried with him in baptism into death. Romans 6:4.
3. We share in his resurrection. Ephesians 2:6. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him.
4. We share in his life. The life I now live I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.
This all reminds us to look upward. As we look upward we are reminded that true life can only be found in Jesus.
Now for you and me, it is about being true disciples. And discipleship is a process. It does not happen overnight. So one occasion and I would suggest frequently, we have to stop and examine our lives and take an inventory and decide where we are spiritually. And one of those times we should stop and examine ourselves is right now. Paul says in first Corinthians 11:28, everyone should take a careful look at themselves before they eat the bread and drink from the cup. And here’s what is going to happen-when we examine ourselves; when we take a closer look, we will often find sin. Now let me tell you... This is normal. Because the Bible says we are sinners. And sinners will sin. So that is not a reason to avoid the Lord’s Supper. It is instead a reminder that only the blood of Jesus can take our sins away. And if we ask, he absolutely will. Every time.