Jesus eats a Passover meal with His disciples the evening before His death. During the meal, He tells them to eat bread that is His body and drink wine that is His blood. And He gives the famous command, “Do this is remembrance of me.” (You can read the full account of this meal in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22.)
This meal is known as “the Lord’s Supper.” Many churches celebrate it by eating bread and drinking grape juice as part of their worship. But are we making the effort to truly remember Jesus? In the Bible, “remember” means more than being reminded of something; it is a call to action. The Lord’s Supper challenges us to be mindful of Jesus’ death in a way that changes our daily lives.
The Lord’s Supper and Passover
Jesus eats the Lord’s Supper on “the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed” (Luke 22:7). Passover is a Jewish festival that celebrates God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. During the tenth plague, He “passes over” Israelite houses that have the blood of a lamb spread on their doorposts. He allows a lamb to be sacrificed in place of their firstborn sons. (You can read the full account of Passover in Exodus 11-12.)
Jesus dies as the Passover Lamb so the wrath of God might pass over us. Paul says, “For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7). John says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2). Isaiah says, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5). Jesus Himself says, “This is my body given for you…this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19-20).
When you take the Lord’s Supper, remember that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins. Thank Him for spilling His blood so that the wrath of God might pass over you.
The Lord’s Supper and Baptism
The Lord’s Supper reminds us of Jesus’ sacrificial death. It also reminds us of our baptism, for that is when we participated in His death. Paul asks, “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Then he explains, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that…we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:3-4).
When we remember our baptism, it challenges us to live out our new life in Christ. This means we repent of our sins. Paul reasons, “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?…For we know that our old self was crucified with him…that we might no longer be slaves to sin” (Rom. 6:2, 6). This also means we let the Holy Spirit reproduce Jesus’ character within us. We who are baptized say, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).
When you take the Lord’s Supper, remember that you were baptized into Jesus’ death in order to live a new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Set aside your sinful ways and be remade in His likeness.
The Lord’s Supper and the Second Coming
When we take the Lord’s Supper, we not only look back to our baptism and Jesus’ death; we also look ahead to His return. Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a wedding banquet (Matt. 22:2) and expressly says that “many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast…in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 8:11). A great multitude in heaven and an angel liken His coming to a “wedding” and a “wedding supper” (Rev. 19:7, 9).
The Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of the wedding supper we will share with Jesus upon His return. When we share a meal as the church, we ought to remember that He is coming again and let that determine how we treat each other. Partaking of this sacrament with no regard for others brings serious consequences. Paul warns us to examine ourselves before participating, “For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:29).
When you take the Lord’s Supper, remember that your fellowship with the church is a preview of your fellowship with Jesus. Treat others as you would treat Him lest you sin against His body and blood.
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