Two days ago was “First Sunday” and many churches designate it as their Communion Sunday service. What’s the significance of communion? Surprisingly, some Christians don’t understand its significance. Today, we’ll briefly review this subject.
Communion is an important and foundational subject for Christians to understand. But why is it significant? Jesus said, “Do this (Communion) in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This tells us that we can have communion every day if we wanted. It tells us it is important and it’s significant!
Hours before His crucifixion, Jesus held what we call The Last Supper. “Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” (Matt 26:26 NIV) [most Christians now used a wafer instead of bread].
The breaking of the bread symbolized the breaking (beating) of His body. He also said that the wine (many Christians now use grape juice) represented His blood. In fact, Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24 NIV). Hopefully, in the future we’ll touch more on this jammed packed statement. There are differing thoughts on what Jesus meant on this issue. In simple terms, Jesus gave up His body and blood in order to redeem us back to God. He did it to pay for our sins. This alone should cause us to be reflective prior to taking communion. Pretty important and significant.
Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb Who took away our sins. When we come together in Communion, it should be a solemn (respectful and reflective) occasion. The Apostle Paul informs us, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup” (1 Cor 11:27, 28 NIV). Why does he tells us this? We are acknowledging Christ and His sacrifice for us. Paul further says, “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment” (1 Cor 11:29-31 NIV). Since this is just a brief overview, let me summarize Paul’s words. Paul is telling us that we need to ensure we are discerning when we take Communion. Communion isn’t a chance to get a quick bite. Nor is it a time to be disrespectful of Jesus’ sacrifice. Paul also tells us in these short verses of the penalty of taking Communion unworthily. What is an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11:27)? One unworthy way is to forget about His sacrifice for you (us). The price for our salvation was not cheap! Another way is to conduct the service in a haphazard manner. Still another unworthy manner would be to have a formal ritual that has come to have no meaning. We’re “doing it” just to do it. Or, “It’s tradition.” Think in the manner of a “We need to just do Communion so we can be finished with it” mentality rather than “Lets honor God” mentality.
Please note that Paul is talking to believers. Why would an unbeliever partake in Communion? Hmm. Not so fast. You’ll have to wait on that answer. You’re trying to take me down an entirely different conversation! That answer will come in a later article. When we take part in Communion, we are showing our participation in the body of Christ. Remember, this is a time of corporate worship to celebrate His sacrifice for us. This is an excellent time to confess our sins to Him. This is an excellent time to repent.
Now lets close this out. Lets make this personal. When you take and eat the bread (wafer), remember that His body was beaten for you. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:5 KJV). Honor this moment.
When you take and drink the wine (juice), remember His blood was shed for you. His redemptive blood was shed for sin that He did not commit. Honor this moment.
Take this time to ask for forgiveness. Think on how you should behave as a Christian. Is there anyone you need forgiveness from our you need to forgive? Are you doing things you shouldn’t be doing? Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive and I’ve only highlighted just a few things that you can think on. I implore you to be mindful of what He has and is doing in your life.
I hope this very brief overview provided you with some insight on the significance, meaning and value of Communion. Over the years I have observed and been in Communion services that were held in various ways. The important thing was that it honored God and we did it “in remembrance” of Him. As believers, I hope and pray that we do exactly that. Are you partaking in Communion in an unworthy manner?
BTW. When you get the chance, conduct a study on the words that are in bold print. Also, ask your pastor about the meaning of each element. Find out what covenant means. Find out the meaning of the sacrificial lamb. Ask if unbelievers should take communion. Find out what the “judgement” (damnation) means. Last, ask “How can I get it right” before taking the elements? Like your ministerial staff, I don’t want you to go down the wrong path. As you can see, there is much more to Communion than simply dressing up nicely on the first Sunday and partaking in the service. I want you to partake but partake with the knowledge of what you’re doing. I want you to understand the importance and significance, after all, it has eternal consequences.
Pass on the knowledge. Blessings