Mat 26:26 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then He broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take this and eat it, for this is My body."Mat 26:27 And He took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, "Each of you drink from it,Mat 26:28for this is My blood, which confirms the covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.Mat 26:29Mark My words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom."Mat 26:30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
Why did Jesus set up the ceremony we now know as communion?
Type meets anti-type again. Consider the fact that the ceremony of communion was established on the day of the Passover celebration. Jesus is giving them a new Passover ceremony to do in remembrance of what He was about to accomplish at the cross. Now the Lamb of God is being slain for the salvation of the whole world. Now the Lamb of God is giving Himself freely; His body and His blood as the sacrifice for our sins. But, as in the days of the Jews in Egyptian captivity, we are only saved by the recognition of our need for a Savior and by obedience to Him and belief in the saving power of that precious blood "poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many."
He set up this ceremony as a reminder to us. We so easily forget; even those things that will save us. We often need ceremony filled with symbolism to help us remember the important things in life.
Why do we need ceremony in our life?
Think of all the things we do that involve a ceremony...
Each of these special moments in time have a specific ceremony attached to them; all designed to give significance to the event and to help us remember the moment and what it means to us. Ceremony also often allows us to make a public statement or even to affirm an internal personal statement. We give significance to certain parts of the ceremony so that they will stick in our minds and remind us of the meaning of the event. We repeat certain phrases to solidify beliefs or to bolster commitment. Movements or actions will often have a meaning that mirrors a reality or truth to be remembered. Items used within the ceremony can represent greater things or hold meaning within their purpose.
Jesus created a ceremony for us thousands of years ago, to remind us of so many things. Let's have a look...
What do the different parts of the communion ceremony represent?
The Bread - Leaving no doubt, Jesus makes it plain that the bread represents his body, which he gave for us.
The "Fruit of the Vine" / Wine - Jesus tells us that the wine represents his blood, "which confirms the covenant between God and His people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many." [Matt 26:28]
The Consuming - The act of consuming the Bread and the Wine represent the taking in of Jesus, making Him a part of us. We take Him in by eating His Word and accepting and believing in His sacrifice for us. His body and blood are the "food" which will grow in us faith, peace-making and soul cleansing love.
The Future/Past Act - He said "I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you..." As we drink the wine we can remember this promise from Him. The future event is connected to the past and the present.
The Gathering Together - The gathering of believers for communion is symbolic of God's church coming together based on the sacrifice of their Savior. It is His body and blood that bring is together, as one. If we come together for any other reason...are we truly following Him?
The Remembering - "Mark my words." Jesus says this to make sure that we don't forget to do this and remember. It is important to remember things as they really were and repeated ceremony can help us to do that. However, it can also become senseless repetitive monotony if we forget the reason we do what we do.
Personally preparing for the communion ceremony
Too often we enter into communion flippantly. It should be a time of soul reflection; a time of confession of sin and a renewing of your faith in the saving power of Jesus' Blood. To enter into it lightly is to betray yourself and deny your complete and total need for Jesus Christ.
1Co 11:27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 1Co 11:28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. 1Co 11:29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself. [NLT]
Will there be ceremony in heaven?
Jesus seems to hint at a "new" drinking of the wine in His Father's Kingdom. Possibly this will be the beginning of a new ceremony. Also we know that there will be the keeping of the Sabbath day on the new earth for eternity. We find that in Isaiah 66:22-23.
Isa 66:22 "For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain. Isa 66:23 From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the LORD. [ESV]
There may be other ceremony's in heaven that I am not aware of. There is one key element to ceremony that we all need to 'remember' and that is the remembering. These things are always introduced to us as something to do so that we REMEMBER. The implication is that we may have an inherent ability to forget those things that are important to God and to our salvation. Note also the beginning of the fourth commandment.
Exo 20:8 "Rememberthe Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exo 20:9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, Exo 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. [emphasis supplied][ESV]
Here is a ceremony, a gift of remembrance jam packed with meaning and significance to God as Creator, as Savior, as Rest and as Holy...which almost all of Christianity has forgotten. They have forgotten...because they allowed the ceremony to become changed by man.
Dan 7:25 He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. [emphasis supplied] [ESV]
And from Jesus's own words...
Mat 5:18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappearuntil its purpose is achieved. [emphasis supplied] [NLT]
Father in Heaven,
We have such a tendency to forget who You are and what You have done for us. We allow ourselves to be consumed by the daily grind and worries of life and we forget to make You first and foremost. We allow our desire to do our own will replace Your Will in our lives. Forgive us Father. Lead us back to Your ways and help us to really understand who You are and what You want.
Help us to trust You fully.
Please forgive my sins. Cover me today in Jesus' offered robe of righteousness and fill me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to not forget the significance of what You have put in place.
Thank You for loving us so much. Amen.