JESUS IS THE ANSWER TO COMMUNION
One of the most solemn, yet joyous privileges the Christian enjoys is “the communion of the blood of Christ” and “the communion of the body of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:16). This, as all other things ordained of God, is to be done “to the glory of God.” (Verse 31). Paul penned these words, “Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17). “In the name of the Lord Jesus” is equal to saying that we are to do what we do, (1) Because He told us to do so; (2) In the way or manner He prescribed for it to be done; and (3) Without change, whether addition or subtraction. Cf. Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Rev-elation 22:18, 19.
The communion of 1 Corinthians 10:16 is also called “the Lord’s supper.” (1 Corinthians 11:20). Paul takes us back to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, saying, “the Lord Jesus the same night when he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This is the cup of the new testament in my blood: this do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25; Luke 22:19). These words go back to Matthew 26:26-29, where Matthew said, “Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my body.” (Verse 26). Matthew then quoted Jesus, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Verse 28). Jesus then said, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Verse 29). This precious memorial feast reminds Christians of the savage, excruciating, awful, abusive beatings of the Lord’s body and the unmerciful and brutal treatment it sustained. It also takes us to the cruel cross, where the nails were driven through the hands and feet into the cross (Psalm 22:16; John 20:25-28; Luke 24:36-40), and the pierced side which Jesus freely and willingly allowed, to pour out His precious blood “for the remission of sins.” (John 19:34; Matthew 26:28, 51-54).
The Lord ’s Supper would be observed in “the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:22-25), His “Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29). Therein, Jesus’ disciples, later called Christians (Acts 11:26), would remember Him in this great memorial feast. (1 Corinthians 11:24). The first Corinthian letter was written to “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1:2), “the kingdom of God.” (4:20; 6:9, 10; 15:24). Compare. Matthew 16:13-19, where Jesus said He would build His church, and give to them the keys of the kingdom. In this church/kingdom, “the disciples came together to break bread.” (Acts 20:7). Jesus had promised to bring His kingdom into existence during the lifetime of some of those who were listening to Him at the time, around A.D. 32, 33, (Mark 9:1; Matthew 16:13-19). He did so on the first Pentecost following His resurrection, A. D. 33. (Acts 2). Later, around A. D. 62, Paul declared the church to be in existence when he wrote “to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colosse” (Colossians 1:2), saying, they had been “translated into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Verse 13).
Paul gave “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2), the kingdom (Matthew 16:18, 19), instructions as to how they were to observe the Lord ’s Supper, the communion. Ob-serve: (1) They were “to eat the Lord’s sup-per” (Verse 20); (2) The observance was for “the disciples” or Christians, as they would later be called; (3) This communion consisted of unleavened bread (Matthew 26:17) and the fruit of the vine (Matthew 26:29); (4) It would be for all Christians (Matthew 26:27); (5) It was a memorial of Jesus, “this do in remembrance of me”; (6) It reminds each participant that the shedding of the blood of Jesus was necessary for sins to be forgiven (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 11:25); (7) It was a looking forward to Jesus’ second-coming (1 Corinthians 11:26); (8) It was to be done worthily, reverently (1 Corinthians 11:27, 30); (9) It was personal, with each observer examining self (1 Corinthians 11:28); and, (10) It was to be done in the assembly, “when ye come together.” (1 Corinthians 11:33).
Some wonder how often the communion should be taken. Many say, “as oft as ye eat”, does not specify a number of times, therefore, we may set the number of times we observe the Lord ’s Supper. However, Acts 20:7 says, “Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,….” The first day of the week comes weekly. “The” week (Acts 20:7), Greek, KATA, means and is also translated, “every”. For example, Luke 2:41, “every” year, yearly; Luke 16:19, “every” day, daily; Acts 14:23, “every” church, not just a few; Acts 22:19, “every” synagogue, not every other; Titus 1:5, “every” city, not a few. Kata, “the”, or every (Acts 20:7), is the same word in 1 Corinthians 16:2, “the” week, every week. Few, if any, have a problem understanding this frequency with regard to the contribution. Why then the problem understanding that the communion was a weekly observance? Paul came to Troas, expecting them to be observing the Lord ’s Sup-per on the first day of the week. Had he been like some today, he would not have known if they would be doing so. This part of the Christian’s worship never becomes common place, dull, or meaningless; it reminds us that we were saved by the precious blood of the spotless Lamb of God. (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
This memorial is taken from the Passover, the days of unleavened bread. God gave it to Israel in the month Abib. (Exodus 12; 13:4). They were told when to observe the feast, what to use, how it should be prepared, who should be present, and so on. It was during the Jewish observance of the Passover that Jesus instituted His memorial feast, and patterned it somewhat after that feast. (Matthew 26:17-28). The bread used was “unleavened”, and the design was to remember. (Exodus 12:15, 19, 20). The Passover was to be done when they came together, holy convocation. (Exodus 12:16). Communion is observed when Christians come together weekly. (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:17, 18, 20, 33, 34).
Thus, the day (first), frequency (every week), contents (unleavened bread; fruit of the vine), purpose (memorial; self-examination; anticipation of Jesus’ second-coming; reminder of our salvation by the blood of Jesus), manner (worthily or reverently), who (self and fellow-Christians) is in the name of Jesus, by His authority, at His directions and must not be changed. Cf. Revelation 22:18, 19; Galatians 1:6-9.
Are you a child of God, a Christian? Have you been born again? Do you have a right to break the bread and drink the cup? If not, you are missing a glorious happening each first day of each week. The saved break the bread and re-member the beatings Jesus took, along with all of the other punishments His body went through, the bearing of the heavy cross on the road to Golgotha , His falling due to weakness of body, the ridiculing scoffs, laughter, wagging heads, being spit on, even being stripped of His clothes, being mocked by a soldier offering Him vinegar, the chiding, “If thou be the Son of God, save thyself”, a thief’s call, “If thou be the Christ, Save thyself and us”, and much more. We know that we are not worthy, but we worthily, reverently examine ourselves. With the world outside, our minds go back to Calvary. When the cup is passed, our minds immediately go to the blood shed so we could be saved. We see the blood stained body as it is beaten, walks through the streets, as Jesus is laid of the cross, as the nails pierce His hands and feet, with the blood streaming out. We see the cross lifted up and the blood beginning to pour out. We see that cross come to an abrupt stop in the hole housing it, and we picture blood gushing out. We then see a soldier pierce His side, and blood and water pour out. We then hear a centurion proclaim, “Certainly this was a righteous man.” He, along with others, said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” We know that we know this. We drink of the cup, remembering His excelling love, His being lifted up to draw us unto Him. We give thanks for His transcending love.
Do you need to obey this loving Lord? Read the following verses, and determine what you need to do, and do so. (1) Romans 10:17; (2) John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6; (3) Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 17:30, 31; (4) Matthew 10:32, 33; Romans 10:9, 10; Acts 8:37; and (5) Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13. Call the one who gave you this tract, or call the church of Christ in your area, to aid you.