Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, the breaking of bread and Eucharist (thanksgiving), is a ceremony instituted by Jesus on Holy Thursday in conjunction with the Jewish Passover meal. The Lord’s Supper is originally a “love meal” in which believers gather to eat together, with the bread of the meal symbolizing the body of Christ and the wine symbolizing the blood of Jesus. When we all eat a portion of the bread, we understand that all of us Christians are part of a fellowship that belongs together, and when we drink the wine, we understand that it was because of Jesus’ death that we were given eternal life. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act that shows that those who believe in Jesus are part of the new covenant and will participate in the great messianic “wedding feast” in heaven. Jesus invited us to celebrate communion until his return so that we are constantly reminded that we are one community because of Jesus’ death.
“26Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”” (Mt 26:26–29)
“42And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” … “46And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,” (Ac 2:42, 2:46)
“16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Co 10:16–17)
“20When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not. 23For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. 33So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another—” (1 Co 11:20–33)
“53So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” (Jn 6:53–56)
- How do you experience the celebration of the Lord’s Supper?
- Have you experienced different ways of celebrating the Lord’s Supper?
- How do you think the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated?
- Who should participate in the Lord’s Supper?
- Why has the Lord’s Supper become a cause of division among Christians?
- Is the Lord’s Supper merely symbolic?
- How do you avoid “eating and drinking a judgment”?
- What is the connection between the Jewish Passover meal and the Lord’s Supper?
Additional Bible Verses
Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:17-20, 1 Corinthians 10:21-22, John 6:22-65, Jude 12, 2 Peter 2:13, Revelation 19:9, Isaiah 25:6, Matthew 22:2-14