Communion is the one Sacrament that Jesus Christ, literally and personally gave to us, knowing it was to be the last night of His life, at His last meal to be shared as a Human on earth. How important must this simple act be to Him?
He asked us to celebrate it together in remembrance of Him: Luke 22:14-15. (epithumia) Why was this so important to Him? Because of His love for the disciples. (Who would you eat your last meal with before dying?) And, because of the importance of what He was about to share with them, concerning Communion. Something that Jesus showed such a passion for, something that was obviously so special to Him, and yet, it is probably one of the most misunderstood and abused sacraments in the church, because we focus more on pleasing people, and providing enjoyable services, than honoring Christ. In doing so, we have watered down and completely missed so much in our intimacy and worship with Him.
Communion is an event that beautifully and seamlessly ties the OT and NT together from start to finish, and helps us to focus on Christ and ourselves in an unparalleled way. It is one of the most precious things we can do as a congregation. Before Christ came to die for our sins, believers lived under the Old Covenant of the Law (OT). This Covenant began shortly after Moses brought the Israelites out of Egypt with the greatest miracles of the Bible, and as part of this Covenant, the Israelites were instructed annually to celebrate the incredible event that forced Pharaoh to release them, known as the Passover. An event that was so important, God commanded the first Passover be marked as the new beginning of their calendar year for eternity: Exodus 12:1-13. God had the Israelites apply blood to their doorways (in the shape of a cross), in order that He might pass over them when He brought the judgment of death to the land, and for almost 1400 years, until Christ came to earth, God commanded that they keep this Commandment in an annual Feast. This Feast of Passover was still being kept in the days of Our Lord Jesus. It is estimated there were approximately 3,000,000 people, both Jews and Gentiles, visiting Jerusalem during the Passover in Jesus' day (meaning, there were approximately 250,000 lambs and goats sacrificed within hours during the Feast) This is what the scene would have resembled at the Temple, in Jesus' day, during this Feast: the head of each household would bring their lamb or goat to the priests in the courtyard of the Temple. The head of the household would place their hand on the head of the sacrificial animal, and ceremonially pass their sins to this animal to be atoned for by it's substitutionary death. While their hand was still on the head of the animal, a priest would come by and cut it's throat, catching a small portion of the blood in a cup or bowl to be sprinkled on the Altar for their sins, and the rest of the blood would be drained into a channel which flowed from the court of the Temple, and into the Kidron Brook (which would literally run red with blood for many days. (kidron means, "black or gloomy"-perhaps for this reason)). Try to imagine the sight, smell and sounds of a quarter of a million animals being killed in this manner—the amount of blood flowing, the smell of that much blood and entrails as they were prepared for cooking, the smell of the burning flesh over the fires. What a horrid, brutal, disgusting mess. Do you think for a moment, God was not aware of how we would feel about this scene? This entire scene was purposefully designed to show us how terrible sin looks to God, to show us the terrible price to be paid for sins, to foreshadow the horrific death of His own Son, on that very day, when He died for us all, as the Final Sacrificial Lamb (Who, by the way, unbelievably, Biblically, and even historically was shown to have been crucified literally on the Eve of Passover): John 19:14-15; Babylonian Sanhedrin 43a. On the night before Jesus was to die as the Passover Lamb, which had been symbolized in this Feast for 1400 years, He gave us the replacement Covenant, the New Covenant, which everything in Scriptures had been leading up to, and illustrating, all those years: the replacement Covenant of His very own Blood, given once and for all, for our sins: Matthew 26:26-30. How awesome, that Jesus gives us this point of faith (having wine with Him on the other side). The first Communion, as the moment Jesus Himself, uses this very act we are about to perform to show that He is the fulfillment of these Feasts, to show that His Body and Blood are the price paid to establish the New Covenant that saves us, and to ask us to partake of that bread and wine, in a show that we accept His sacrifice, and want to be a part of Him. He then tells us to reenact this simple moment, in remembrance of Him, and what He was about to do for us, until He returns to take us Home: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. This Sacrament became a centerpiece for fellowship and worship in the early church, such a Sacred Act, with so much importance, commanded by our King Himself, should not be done haphazardly, but with reverence and passion. Example: Judas: Betrayed Jesus before the Supper, came to the Supper and participated in the intimacy, left again, to continue in his betrayal. Exactly like us, if we enter here with sin in our hearts, participate falsely in the intimate remembrance and appreciation of Christ's Sacrifice, and then leave with the intentions of continuing our sins.
Every day that you take Communion from this point on, realize the gravity of this simple act, goes far beyond the physical, and use this moment to honor, glorify, thank, and worship Christ. Have these things in mind as you partake of Communion: it is for believers only, to take Communion, when you are unsure or unbelieving is disrespectful. Never take Communion to, "save face", or just to allow a child to, "not feel left out!" Teach that child the reality of Christ's existence, and the respect He deserves, by making them wait until they understand and accept. It is a serious time, designed for us to self-examine our attitudes, and our sins. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. We do not judge ourselves, to disqualify ourselves from Communion, but, so that we may deal with our unrepentant heart here and now, in remembrance of His love and Sacrifice, and draw close again. Scriptures are very direct, and serious, about the potential consequences for purposefully participating with sin harbored in our souls. Why? Because we are being untruthful, and even blasphemous to outwardly act as though we appreciate His Sacrifice for our sins, and yet, not give those sins to Him, or offer the same forgiveness. (Is to be guilty of His Body and Blood): 1 Corinthians 10:21-22. This is the time to give Him everything—your honesty, your sin, your repentance, your worship. It is an awesome time to reflect on God's astounding Word, and how It has given the symbolism (Passover) for Christ's Sacrifice for thousands of years; how It has given the exact time He would die through all these years through His Feasts, only to come true to the exact day 1400 years later. How sacred is what we are about to celebrate, when you know God's Hand worked to point to the significance and Truth of this moment, by using thousands of years of prophecy, ritual, and events, coming together in such a way, as to make this moment uniquely, and unquestionably lift Christ and His Sacrifice above all else? It is a time to show Christ publically, and to share intimately with this church family, how you belong to Him, and you accept His Covenant. It is a time to remember that He did not live this life as a, "Superhuman", incapable of pain, stress, or fear—rather, just the opposite—He experienced all the pain, torture, guilt, stress, loneliness and betrayal we would experience, perhaps much more, because of the Holiness of His Soul and the Pureness of His love. With that in mind, reflect on all the pain He experienced as His Body and Soul were ripped apart for us, and reflect on the fact that He did it freely, because He wanted you to be with Him that badly. When we get to Heaven with our new, and perfect bodies, remember this, on this day of remembrance, His Body, will be the only Body that shows imperfections in our perfect new World, because He will still be proudly wearing the scars of His sacrifice for all eternity.
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