Read His Words Before Ours!
My mind tends to work like a puzzle. I hear a little bit of something over here, and I learn a little bit from over there, and I read something at the doctor’s office and suddenly… an “Aha!” moment has occurred and every piece fits into place. I typically don’t “get” things instantly. I distinctly remember sitting in a science class one day and it was as if everything I’d learned that semester was slowly being put together and all of a sudden, I could see the whole picture.
That is exactly what happened four years ago, sitting on a balcony at a camp called Windermere. Everything I’ve always known about “The Lord’s Supper” and “Communion” and “Christ and the Church”… it all just CLICKED! Today, as I begin writing, I pray that the same revelation happens for you. I pray that you will be able to understand and comprehend this precious practice we call…
What exactly is Communion?
The first communion is often known as “The Last Supper”, when Jesus and His disciples were gathered together to celebrate the Passover right before His crucifixion. In this incredible moment, Old and New Testaments collided in one epic evening.
First we go back, way back…to when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Through Moses, the Lord told the Israelites to sacrifice a perfect lamb and smear his blood on their door frame because the angel of death would soon “pass” “over” (hence, “passover”). Whoever was not covered by Lamb’s blood, their firstborn son would be dead by morning. This was the final plague that drove Pharaoh to release the Israelites into freedom. As a reminder of this freedom, “Passover” was to be celebrated every year.
Fast-forward to the night before Christ’s death… and we find Jesus celebrating the Passover with His disciples. While they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it before telling His disciples, “Take, eat; this is my body.” He then took a cup and told the disciples to drink, “…for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” He was foretelling what was to come later that night.
You see, Jesus became the sacrificial lamb that both Hebrews and Egyptians had to use to cover their doorframe to save their sons. As you read in Exodus, it wasn’t just any lamb the Israelites were called to use, it was a perfect and spotless, male lamb.
Jesus is the perfect sacrificial lamb.
His blood covers us, just as the lamb’s blood covered the door frame, and we don’t have to worry about spiritual death because of His victory over death!
We celebrate and remember His sacrifice as a Church – His bride, by taking communion together. The bread is a symbol and representation of Jesus’ body. The wine (or grape juice), a symbol of His blood that was spilled. When we take Communion, it’s to remember the great sacrifice Jesus made to save us!
So what do Communion and marriage have in common?
This is the part that just gets to me. It is so incredibly amazing that the Lord put this much detail into His relationship with us and the relationship between a husband and wife! The literal definition of communion is: “the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.” When we take the bread and drink the wine, and remember the great sacrifice of Jesus, we are remembering that because of Him, we are His bride. There is so much about this that we could study, but for now, I’m going to point you to a study Mike Bickle has done on how the Church is Christ’s bride, for more on this.
The act of consummating our marriage (devoting ourselves to a holy relationship with our spouse), is a representation of taking communion (remembering and devoting ourselves to a relationship with Jesus). God created marriage as a physical example of what He wants His relationship with us to look like! Husbands are commanded to love their wives just as Christ loves the church!
That is why our marriages are so incredibly sacred.
Not only because we’ve taken a vow before God to choose love over our own feelings, but because marriage was designed to imitate the Lord’s great love for us.
God would never leave us.
He would never forsake us.
He chooses to love us despite the fact that we often forget to spend time with Him.
We put other things and people above Him, but He never stops loving us!
The Old Testament beautifully points towards Jesus being our Bridegroom, our heart’s true soulmate. Song of Songs poetically describes the incredible love between a groom and his bride. In Hosea, God calls a man to marry an adulterous woman to visibly depict His boundless love for us as His own bride, even though we stray often from His love.
Can only Christians take Communion?
If someone doesn’t know Jesus, if they don’t know why they even need to be covered by His blood, then there is no point in taking communion because there is nothing sacred or special about it for that person. Paul even warns Christians about taking communion without actually stopping to think about why we are taking it. So, yes, only Christ followers are invited into communion.
Author and pastor Francis Chan states that if we all just take a few moments before praying and think about who God is, His power and glory, then we can more reverently pray and approach His throne with a holy fear of the Lord.
I believe this to be the same about communion.
If we pause before communion to remember why we are taking it, then we can more reverently participate in this remembrance and celebration of the wonderful gift God has given us in His Son… the perfect, spotless Lamb.
Listen in on this incredible dramatic poem by Hosanna that portrays why we need Jesus’ blood to cover us and how vast His love is for us!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!