Understanding Communion

Understanding Communion

So what’s with Communion Anyway?

Many practicing Christians have for long years participated in the Lord’s Supper without seeing (1) its underpinnings in Old Testament instructions for the Passover Feast nor (2)  how it outlines the faith journey of all Believer from sanctification, deliverance, and blessing; into restoration.

On the surface, the whole process and ritual of Communion seems, well frankly, it seems weird and maybe just a little freaky…

Key Bible Verse

For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink…
John 6:55

The Bible is not ambiguous about why Christ made this alarming statement. The explanation begins in the Garden of Eden. The place where Adam made his intentional choice to defy the command of God.  From there the indelible stains of defiance spread to all mankind:

  • Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned  (Romans 5:12)

The consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and although death of all living things comes as no surprise, the additional (and grievously evil) consequence of sin is the absolute dissolution of spiritual intimacy with God.  Mankind not only died in body, but spiritual death cloaked us from the Creator (see Ephesians 2:1).

Key Bible Verse

If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear…
Psalm 66:8

What is to be done?  God stands in perfection, Mankind is wrapped up in self-indulgence. From the earliest beginnings of God’s program for the restoration of humans made two things very clear:

  • There is nothing we can do to bridge the gap between our sinfulness and God’s perfection
    • For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment. (Isaiah 64:6)
    • By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • God’s plan to restore mankind into fellowship with Him includes the medium of blood.
    • For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.  (Leviticus 17:11)
    • And according to the Law all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22)

The story of the repair of our spiritual relationship with God is the story of the Cross.  It is the substitutionary, sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Jesus which bridges the gap between lost man and the Eternal Divinity.

  • He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed
    (1 Peter 2:24)

Now we come at last to the provisions of the Last Supper.  The Last Supper was conducted in accordance with the Mosaic prescriptions governing the Passover. The ritual meal is called the Seder.  There are four ceremonial cups offered in the Seder.

  • The cup of Sanctification or Consecration
    • Also called: “I will bring you out”
  • The cup of Deliverance or Plagues
    • Also called: “I will rescue you”
  • The cup of Redemption or Blessing
    • Also called: “I will redeem you”
  • The cup of Praise or Restoration
    • Also called: “I will take you as My own”

Check out this passage from the Book of Exodus, noting the source for the additional names of the four cups:

  • I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  I will rescue you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God – (Exodus 6:6-7)

In the Upper Room, where Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover meal, the ordinances and ritual associated with each cup was followed to the letter.  But it is key to note that Jesus and His disciples never made it to the fourth cup; that after finishing the third cup (the “Cup of Blessing” – see 1 Corinthians 10:16) they went directly out to the Mount of Olives.

This is key because the fourth cup will be celebrated when all Believers across all ages are gathered together in heaven – when “I will take you as My Own

  • But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.  (Matthew 26:29)

The story of the Communion Table and its inexorable ties to Passover is stunning and inspiring, then too there is more.  The four cups are:

  • Sanctification
  • Deliverance
  • Blessing
  • Restortation

But isn’t that also the Path of the Believer?

  • We are Sanctified when we are set apart by God
  • Our Deliverance comes through Christ on Calvary
  • We are Blessed in walking the Jesus Path
  • And we await our full Restoration to the Father in heaven

Take Aways

The Words of Jesus are “Do this in Remembrance of Me”.  When participating in the elements of Communion (the elements of bread and wine) Believers should remember what this means, how this ritual celebrates the fulfilment of the prophetic mandates of the Old Testament Passover meal, and how Communion  holds promise for sharing the fourth cup with Jesus in a radiant future setting.  The video will tie these things more tightly together, so it will be worth your 40 minute investment to assure a fuller comprehension. God bless you as you study and participate in the Lord’s Supper!

One Comment

  1. Mike and Anna

    Thank you so much. Our understanding of communion is so much clearer. We so much miss the personal fellowship of you all. God bless our church family.

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