From Craig Swanson…
I’ve been talking about what the early church was devoted to, (Acts 2:42) and I’ve covered the Word and fellowship in my last two blogs. The third thing that the church was devoted to was the breaking of bread – communion. So let’s look at what is communion and why is it so important.
To answer what it is, let’s go back to the first communion. It’s the evening of the Passover celebration – the night before His crucifixion. Jesus is celebrating the Passover with His disciples. The Passover looked back to the nation of Israel being delivered out of Egyptian bondage. The final plague was the death angel coming to kill all the first born in the land. The Lord told the sons of Israel that if they would take a spotless lamb and kill it and put it’s blood on the doorposts and the lintel of their houses, the death angel would pass over that household and spare them from death. Here is what the Passover reminded them of – to be delivered from God’s judgment required death. Secondly, that death could be the death of an innocent substitute. The Passover was a celebration of God’s mercy. (Exodus 11 & 12)
So Jesus, in the middle of the Passover meal, turns the Passover celebration into the Lord’s Supper. “And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”” (Luke 22:19) Jesus is the Lamb of God that the Passover pointed to. Isn’t it interesting that He died during the celebration of the Passover? Coincidence? I don’t think so.
“And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”” (Luke 22:20) Notice what His blood provided – a new covenant. Here is what Jesus is proclaiming – the Passover is done – I am it’s fulfillment. The Mosaic covenant is over. The sacrificial system is over. I am the fulfillment of them. I am offering you a new covenant with God through the shedding of my blood. God’s judgment for our sins required death. God the Father provided us the only innocent substitute – His Son.
God gave us communion to remember Jesus and His great sacrifice on our behalf. He gave us communion to remember that it was our sin that required His death. “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Isa. 53:5,6)
Why is communion so important? Because God doesn’t want us to ever forget that we don’t come to Him on our own merits, but only by the merit of His Son. It’s a celebration of God’s new covenant with us provided by His Son’s sacrifice. It’s a celebration of God’s great grace.