This ceremony, also known as, “The Lord’s Supper,” was instituted by Jesus Christ on the eve of his death when he ate the Passover meal with his disciples. Simply put, Communion is a memorial in which Christians identify with the crucifixion of Jesus. It’s a time for believers to acknowledge, appreciate, and remember all that he did for us on the cross.
Just as the Jewish people were instructed to observe Passover to commemorate what God had done for them, delivering them from slavery and death in Egypt, we are to regularly acknowledge what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. He rescued us from our slavery to sin, giving us a new hope and future.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In 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.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25, ESV).
Why did Jesus use bread and wine as symbols?
Throughout his time on Earth, Jesus regularly used figurative language to communicate his teachings, especially when the concepts were hard for us to understand. Bread and wine serve as tangible reminders of what Jesus did for us on the cross. The bread symbolizes his body given for us. The wine symbolizes his blood shed for us. Today, many churches use crackers and grape juice, rather than real bread and wine. The actual elements don’t matter nearly as much as the spiritual ideas they represent.
Is Communion open to everyone?
Our Communion service is open to anyone who has placed personal faith in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and is a committed disciple (follower) of Jesus. The only other requirement is that we approach Communion with an attitude of faith, reverence, and humility. This mind-set is very important. The Apostle Paul warns us to examine ourselves before taking Communion, so we don’t eat the bread or drink the cup in an unworthy (improper, careless, irreverent) manner, since doing so could bring the Lord’s judgment upon us (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
There is not a minimum age a person must be to participate in our Communion service, but parents should carefully consider a couple of things when deciding if their child is ready to take Communion. First, Communion does not “save” a person. So, there is no reason for a parent to ever pressure their child into taking Communion. Second, as we have already noted, a person who takes Communion must have placed personal faith in Jesus as Savior and be a committed follower of his. To ensure that an atmosphere of reverence is maintained during the Communion service, children should be with their parents, under their direct supervision and control.
How do we prepare ourselves?
Before eating the bread and drinking the wine, take time for quiet reflection. During this time, we want to focus our attention on Jesus’ sacrificial death for us and remember his promise to return. In 1 Corinthians 11:26, Paul wrote, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” Thus, Communion is both a time for looking back at what Jesus has done for us, and a time for looking forward to his Second Coming. One day, we will all sit down together at the great wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-9). So, join us at the Lord’s table. We are glad you’re here!
Copyright 2014, Touchstone Christian Fellowship, Sacramento, California. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.