by Dennis Kelly
Communion is a vital link and reunion of God's Covenant in us. We don't need to tell God; we need to tell us. We need to know all of the benefits that come to us when we take communion.
Communion is the ceremonial act of confirming your new covenant with God by eating representations of the body and the blood of Jesus. In some protestant denominations grape juice is used to represent the blood of Jesus. The other element of communion is the bread, which represents the body of Jesus. I want to talk about what means to take the communion: the blood and body of Jesus.
In Matthew, Mark, and Luke the same story is told each time almost word for word:
"Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body.'
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins...'" Mat. 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:17-20.
The key features of this story are that Jesus body was broken for Christians, and that Jesus blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
In the Gospel of John the communion service is not mentioned.
In 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 Paul gives the following discussion of how to take communion and what it means:
"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 broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same was also 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. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judge ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world."
In the Baptist Church that I attended, the scripture read at the communion service only went as far as remembering Jesus: both the blood and the body. That is good. You need to remember Jesus and the sacrifice that he made for us. But the body and the blood has much more meaning to me.
It is important to recognize that the elements of communion actually represent the body and the blood of Jesus. Jesus' body was broken for us. Jesus' blood was spilled during the crucifixion to establish a new covenant between God and man. If you eat or drink the body and blood of Jesus unworthily then you condemn yourself. You will be weak. You could get sick and die.
Conversely if you understand the sacrifice and the covenant, you should stay well and live.
In 1 Peter 2:24 "...by his stripes you are healed." The stripes are the marks left on his body when he was whipped (scourged) with a Roman 7 tailed cat -- a whip with seven strands tipped with iron. Isaiah and the NIV 2 Peter 2:24 says "...his wounds have healed ours". Jesus' body was broken and wounded for us to be healed. Some of the wounds were the stripes of the Roman whip. When we take communion, we are to remember that fact.
2 Corinthians 11 describes one manner of taking communion that is unworthy. You should not eat the bread because you are hungry. You should not drink the wine to get drunk. You must know that the body and blood of Jesus is represented by the bread and the wine, or you are unworthy. You must know that the body and the blood of Jesus were the sacrifice for your sins and that it seals the covenant with God, or you are unworthy. It does not describe what else might be unworthy.
We must judge ourselves truly. Whatever that means. I suspect that we must judge ourselves to be sinners who are saved by grace. I suspect that if we have sins for which we have not been forgiven, then we must ask the Lord for forgiveness before we take the communion.
Let us proceed.
Hebrews 9:11-14. "... when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those, who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God." The Hebrews used the blood of goats and calves and the ashes of heifers and bulls to offer sacrifices to God for the sins of the people. But Jesus, who was without sin, offered his own blood as a sacrifice for the sins of those people who would accept it. Jesus blood is able to do what the blood of animals was not able to do: it provides eternal salvation and sealed the covenant between God and man. The covenant is that God is not angry with you. The covenant is that God has provided a way for us to
reject and overcome Satan. The covenant is that God has given us power over all the power of the enemy. That Satan has no power over you. That covenant is sealed in heaven in the blood of Jesus. That covenant is sealed in your body by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is now our high priest to assure the forgiveness of our sins. However, only those who choose to accept it are forgiven. Jesus is our high priest to assure that the privileges that he paid for and sealed with his blood are received by those who accept it. Those privileges include life, health, healing, restoration of all that the enemy has stolen from you, prosperity, and power over all the power of the enemy.
Leviticus 17:11. "...the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the alter to make atonement for yours souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life. Lev 17:12. Therefore, I have said to the people of Israel, 'No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any
stranger which sojourns among you eat blood.' Lev 17:14. ...because the life of the creature is in its blood. ... You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood."
Here the People of Israel are forbidden to eat blood. If you eat the blood of a goat then the life of the goat is in you. If you eat the blood of a pig or swine, then the life of the swine is in you. If you eat the blood of a cow, then the life of a cow is in you.
Jesus tells you to drink his blood as a part of the communion service. Jesus who was crucified, but rose again from the dead. Jesus who died, but rose again. Jesus who died, but is alive again. Jesus whose word could raise the dead. Who could touch a persons hand and have them be healed. Jesus who healed the sick by the thousands. Jesus who fed thousands. HIS life is in you -- if you drink his blood.
John 6:47-50. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If a man eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
John 6:53-58. Jesus said to them: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Our forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."
Jesus disciples were offended by this. Jesus had told them to eat human flesh and drink human blood. Many quit following Jesus that day. Jesus asked those that were left: "Do you want to go also?"
They answered: "Where would we go. You have the words of eternal life." They did not know what to do, but believed that Jesus is the anointed one from God.
John 15:7. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. Jesus said that if you take communion, he will remain in you. For this promise, John 15:7, to be true, all you have to do is to take communion and hear and act on the words of Jesus. If you take communion, half of the promise is already fulfilled. All that is left is to hear and act on the word of God. Whatever you ask will be given to you.
Read the New Testament. Learn the words of Jesus. Take them into your heart. Read them until all you can say is what the Bible says. Read them until that is all you can think. In every situation respond with the word of the Lord. Watch the word come true.
The communion is not only the remembrance of Jesus, but it is also the seal
of the deal. The deal that forgave your sins and set you up to be a powerhouse
in this time and place.