“I assume I am addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusion. When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the very life of Christ?”
1 Corinthians 10:15-16 (The MESSAGE)
Holy Communion was not an invention of the early church. Neither was it a spur-of-the-moment idea of Jesus the Messiah, simply to give a ritualistic flavor to this different faith movement that had captivated the disciples. The true meaning behind this holy convocation is deeply rooted in God’s relationship with His people, and traverses the centuries back to that ominous night in Egypt when the angel of death moved through the land. The only exclusions from this death sentence were the Israelite families, all of whom were saved by the blood … the blood of a lamb slain according to God’s direction. With the blood of that lamb applied to the doorposts and lintels of their houses, the death angel “passed over” them. The blood applied meant life to everyone in the house.
Then God issued additional instructions regarding the lamb. After the blood was applied, the body of the lamb was to be roasted and eaten (Exodus 12:8). Jehovah’s directions were: “Apply the blood, and eat the body.” There was special significance to this part of His instructions. God not only wanted to deliver His people from something – the brutal slavery of 430 years – but He also wanted to deliver them to something – the land flowing with milk and honey.
By this time the Israelites had grown to about 3.5 million souls, including everyone from the advanced in age to the newborn; from the robust to the physically handicapped, sick, weak, and infirm. The death angel would pass over them, and they would have life; but they also needed strength, physical health, and restoration in order to make the long foot- journey to their new home. Jehovah God was fully aware of these circumstances and already had the answer. His orders were, “Roast and eat the lamb”. And when they obeyed, the greatest healing and miraculous restoration service this world has ever seen occurred that night in Egypt.
The great King David confirmed the results in Psalm 105:37, “And He brought them forth out of Egypt with silver and gold, and there was not one feeble, [sick orinfirm] person among their tribes.” (KJV).
Down the centuries of time, on the Thursday night before Good Friday, Jesus the Messiah; the One whom John the Baptist introduced to the world as “The Lamb of God,” sat at a table with His twelve disciples. They were celebrating the Feast of Passover and were enjoying the Seder Supper.
After they had finished the meal, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it into pieces, and, according to Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 26, after offering a prayer of thanks to the Father, He distributed it to the disciples with the words, “Take and eat, this is my body.”(KJV).Then He took the cup of wine, which was the Third Cup in the Passover Service, and after giving thanks, passed it to the disciples with the words, “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”(KJV). Then He told them to do these things in remembrance of Him.To this day, that Third Cup in the Passover Seder is called “the cup of redemption,” which magnifies the truth that Passover is the Feast of Salvation.
As Jesus passed the unleavened bread and the wine to the disciples, notice that He did not say, “this represents” or “this is a token of”, or “here is a symbol of” my Body and Blood. He said, “This is my body, this is my blood”. We need not get involved in semantics or word wars over “how can this be?” We simply need to accept the word of our Lord. Martin Luther gave what is perhaps the best explanation when he said, “in, with, and under” the bread and wine, is the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One additional point requires some attention. Jesus admonished the disciples to celebrate this meal in remembrance of Him every time they did it. Jehovah had instructed the Jews to celebrate the Feast of Passover every year as a remembrance of His mighty deliverance of them from Egyptian slavery. But now, because of this instruction by Jesus, we take Holy Communion in remembrance of Y’shua, Jesus – the real Paschal Lamb who has fulfilled the Feast of Passover. It is His Blood that cleanses from sin and gives life that will never end. And it is His Body, broken for us, that gives us strength and health. Yes, Beloved, there is healing in Holy Communion!
Holy Communion is a special gift of God. May we never allow it to become ordinary! To the Lamb of God be all the glory!