Check out the GOD CONNECTS video below for a great into on communion.
Just before Jesus was betrayed and crucified, he gave his disciples a command during their meal together. He took bread, broke it, and told them, “This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.” Then he took a cup of wine and told them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink this, do it in remembrance of me.”
Communion is about Jesus coming into our lives, and it is a time for us to remember the sacrifice of his broken body and shed blood on the cross. Like baptism, it is practiced by all Christians, but there are various views about it.
The Context of Passover
Understanding the context of the Jewish Passover meal helps us understand communion. The greatest day in Jewish history was when God brought them out of slavery in Egypt. God told them to take a lamb and eat it, putting its blood on their doorposts. When God’s angel would pass through and kill all the first-borns, it would “passover” the houses with blood on the door. This was the singular act of God that brought them freedom and a new identity as a nation! So, they were to remember the Passover by eating a special meal with a lamb every year.
Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Passover when he instituted communion. The meaning is very rich. Jesus is our new lamb. His blood now frees us from death and gives us a new identity. His deliverance is now what we are to remember and celebrate. This has now become the greatest day in our history.
Communion in the Church
The first generation of Christians in the city of Corinth were mistreating the Lord’s Supper. Some were getting drunk and leaving nothing to eat before others had even arrived. The apostle Paul wrote to them (1 Corinthians 10-11) about why this was unacceptable. He taught them that because the bread and the wine were truly the body and blood of Jesus, the meal should be celebrated with reverence for Jesus and equality for all believers.
Some good, faithful Christians (like Methodists) believe that Jesus is only present “spiritually” or “symbolically” in the bread and wine – thus it’s just normal bread and wine at communion (two items: bread and wine). Other good, faithful Christians (like Catholics) believe that the bread and wine stop existing as bread and wine, and become only Jesus’ body and blood (two items: body and blood). As Lutherans, we believe that somehow, someway, Christ’s body and blood really come to us in, with, and under the bread and wine. We are, in fact, getting four things: bread & wine, body & blood. Therefore, communion is (as we’ll see with baptism) less about our actions, and more about God coming to us with blessings through this great gift! Bonus: check out John 6 sometime!
Our confirmation students also learn about communion. The lessons below have great information for both youth and adults alike if you'd like to dive deeper.
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