Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, NKJV
You may not know this, but the act of taking communion was pivotal in my decision to accept Jesus as my Savior.
When I was nearly 6 years old, I attended church with my parents and noticed that a plate of bread and a cup of grape juice were being passed around. As the bread came by, I excitedly reached out to tear off a chunk. Unfortunately, my dad stopped me before I could get the snack. I figured he was afraid I would make a mess on the new church carpet.
Later that day, once we had returned home, my dad took me to my bedroom and began to explain the meaning behind the bread and the cup. He told me about Jesus, His death, and resurrection. My dad shared that I could find forgiveness in Christ and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
My first glimpse of communion led to me asking Jesus into my heart. It was January 11, 1981.
That’s my story, but the Lord’s Supper is significant to all of us for multiple reasons. In 1 Corinthians 11:26, Paul writes how the Lord’s Supper is given to us by God Himself as means to bring unity within the body of Christ. Moreover, when we observe the Lord’s Supper, we recognize that the table looks in three different directions: it looks to the past, the present, and the future.
The Past: Commemoration
The Lord’s Supper refers to the last Passover meal Jesus had with His disciples here on Earth (see Luke 22:14-20). At that time, Jesus took the bread and the cup and passed them around, signifying that His body would be broken (torn to pieces) and that the shedding of His blood would usher in the New Covenant (see Jeremiah 31:31-33).
Therefore, the Lord’s Supper makes us remember what Jesus did on the cross. That is why it says, “Do this in remembrance of Me” in both verse 24 and verse 25. Paul is stressing that we are to always remember the atoning sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross. We are to remember how He was flogged, beaten, and that He shed His blood to take away our sin.
The Present: Communion
The Lord’s Supper speaks of the present and how we have fellowship with a living Christ. We have communion with Him now because our sins are forgiven. We do not have to wait for Heaven to have fellowship with God; we can have communion now.
Not only do we have communion with God, but we can have communion with other believers. This brings unity out of division, which was exactly what was happening in Corinth when Paul wrote this letter.
The Future: Commitment
We are to continually observe the Lord’s Supper “till He comes” (v. 26c). Therefore, this table also looks ahead to Christ’s return.
It reminds us that Jesus is victorious and He will set up His kingdom here on Earth. We are to proclaim the Lord’s death (through the observance of the Lord’s Supper) until He comes again in the future.
It also signifies the destruction of Satan, when Jesus will return in victory. We won’t be taking communion at that point. We’ll be at the banquet table, and Satan will be defeated.
The Lord’s Supper keeps us focused on the cross. It draws us into fellowship with God and the body of Christ. It gives us the hope of the resurrection, the promise of victory over Satan and sin, and the truth of Heaven.
The next time you observe communion at church, take a moment to reflect on the past, the present and the future—and God’s incredible love and faithfulness.
Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.