The Ordinance Of Communion


For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. I Corinthians 11:23-28

Communion has its roots in the Old Testament, both in the Jewish Passover and in the Day of Atonement. No wonder the writer of Hebrews calls it a better plan. Originally the Passover Lamb was slain and the blood was placed on the doorposts of each Jewish dwelling. The death angel passed over them, while the first born in each Egyptian household was slain. Moses instructed the Israelites to kill and eat the Passover lamb annually as a remembrance of the Lord’s deliverance from bondage.

So it is with communion. As Jesus was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, He fulfilled the words that John had already spoken, “Behold the lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.” When we partake of communion, like the Jews, we are remembering how the Lord took our sins to Calvary and delivered us from sin’s bondage.

There is significance in communion for the past, present, and future.

Past: Our redemption is through His death. The message of Calvary needs to be etched on our hearts. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, therefore we can proclaim with authority, “Get thee behind me, Satan, and don’t talk about my sins, for they have all been paid in full by Christ’s sacrifice.”

Present: The Jewish people ate the Passover meal with unleavened bread. Unleavened bread is symbolic of being separated from the world and sin. We, too, are to remain separate from the world of sin. To
truly commune with Christ one has to come apart from the world. Also, even though the act of the Passover was a one time act of deliverance from Egyptian bondage, they were to continually repeat the meal with their families. This is why we participate in communion with our church family.

Future: They were to eat the Passover meal dressed and ready to go! Do I need to elaborate on this?

The Jewish religion had one more very important annual act that was for the removal of sin. It was called the Day of Atonement. On this day the high priest, after sacrificing a goat for sin, went behind the veil into the Holy Place of God’s presence to commune with God about the sins of Israel. Because he brought the blood of a sacrifice, God withheld judgment. The priest then caused another goat to be sent away into the wilderness, symbolically carrying away the sins of Israel.

Both of these Jewish events had to be repeated annually. But Christ’s death wrapped both Jewish Holy days (Passover and Day of Atonement) into one, for at His death, He became the eternal sacrifice for the
sins of the world, and the veil was rent in the Temple of Jerusalem from top to bottom, symbolizing that it was an act of God. All of mankind, not just a high priest, can come into Christ’s presence, we
can go beyond the veil, for it was rent as Christ’s flesh was being rent on Calvary for our sins.

So, the Christian ordinance of communion is a form of reverent worship that commemorates how Christ paid our debt of sins. It replaces both the Jewish Passover and Day of Atonement. As we participate in
Communion we are remembering the Lord’s sacrifice, and this we should do until He comes for the church.