The Passover meal celebrated the Lord’s deliverance of Israel out of Egypt’s bondage and from the plagues God sent on Egypt, including the death plague, which was halted for the Israelites by the blood of a lamb smeared on the doorposts of their homes.
Before the onset of the first Passover, God told Israel, “Every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household,” (Ex. 12:3b NKJV) and, after smearing the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, they were to roast it and eat it in anticipation of what the Lord was about to do.
For us as Christians, because each of us has taken a Lamb into our heart’s home, smearing His blood upon its doorposts, we are able to celebrate communion, commemorating our release as God’s people from bondage, the plagues of life, and the deliverance from the eternal curse of death.
In order for us to partake of Jesus’ life through the Lord’s Supper as a vital part of our Christian walk, we need to understand cleansing and commitment, for sharing in communion is more than just a religious ritual.
According to ancient, Hebrew traditions, if two joined in a covenant and ratified it with a meal, which included the breaking of bread and drinking of a cup of wine, it meant they were eating and drinking of each other.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus said, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. But those who eat My flesh and drink My blood have eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day.” (John 6:53-54 NLT)
Today, we Christians don’t give enough serious thought to what we are doing when we participate in the Lord’s Supper. In order to have our hearts right before God to take part in communion, we must…
…first, get right with others. Jesus declared in His Sermon on the Mount, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” (Matt. 6:14 NLT)
We forget that forgiveness is not optional! No right relationship with God can prevail apart from forgiveness of others. If we do not forgive others, then what is the point of commemorating what Jesus died to do for us?
…then, get right with God. “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matt. 6:15 NLT)
Therefore, we cannot engage in the bread of fellowship or the cup of covenant with an accumulation of unforgiveness in our hearts, as Paul warns us, “So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.” (1 Cor. 11:27-29 NLT)
We do not take communion to get right with God; we get right with others and God before we place that wafer on our tongue or lift that cup to our lips. Unfortunately, many Christians take communion all too lightly, not grasping the full intent of these verses.
…then, we seek communion at the Lord’s table. Partaking of the communion table is a physical testimony of a spiritual conversion, affirming that we have bound ourselves to Christ in covenant.
Paul said, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16 NKJV)
If we call it ‘communion,’ does that click in our finite minds what that means? The Greek word for it, ‘koinonia,’ means partnership, joint participation, fellowship, to share in common, intimacy, and so on.
Through communion, we take part in the sacrifice of Jesus’ body and His blood. In sharing the bread and the cup, we share in the intimacy of His fellowship, participating in the benefits of what He accomplished at the whipping post, in the judgment hall, on the cross, and through His resurrection.
What Paul said stands as relevant today as when he said it, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26 NIV)
Oh, please, my Christian brothers and sisters, please see the crucial importance of having a right heart before God that you may share in the fellowship of the Lord’s Supper worthily.
I pray that, after reading this, you will never again enter into the Lord’s covenant meal the same as you did before. May this be life changing for each of you.