The Communion Ritual: Remember, Proclaim, Anticipate, Participate
- We remember Jesus Christ the person (true and sinless humanity) and his substitutionary death for the sins of mankind (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
- We proclaim his death, which was both spiritual and physical, until he comes back (1 Corinthians 11:26).
- We anticipate his return (1 Corinthians 11:26).
- We participate in a worthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
- Scripture includes Jesus’ last Passover (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:7-20, 39), Jesus’ Crucifixion (Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:33-37, Luke 23:44-46, John 19:30, and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
Communion, The Bread and Cup are Symbols
The bread and the fruit of the vine do not change into Jesus’ flesh and blood. There is no positive indication that this miracle occurred or was implied in the statements. Christ was not holding his own body in his physical hands (Matthew 26.26). Furthermore, the phrase in Matthew 26:29, "I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until...“ (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18) indicates that Christ took what was in the cup as real fruit of the vine, and not his blood. This meaning is carried over in 1 Corinthians 10:21; 11.23-29. In those passages there is an interchange between the bread and body and the cup and blood indicating that they represent something else—the humanity and the death of Jesus Christ.
The Communion Ritual Explanation
- The Passover taught deliverance through the death of the lamb (Exodus 12:1-14). Jesus Christ gained our salvation through His death (John 1:29). He is the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
- Communion remembers the true humanity of Jesus Christ by the ritual bread and the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for our sins by the ritual fruit of the vine (Matthew 26:26-29;
- 1 Corinthians 11:24-25; Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 10:5-10; 1 Peter 2:24).
- Only believers should participate, and only those in fellowship with God at the time (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).
- Through the communion ritual believers remember the Lord, proclaim His death, and anticipate His return, and we do it together (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
The Communion Ritual, Views of
- Roman Catholic. Elements are changed into the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ. A sacrament. Forgiveness gained. Transubstantiation. Priest required.
- Orthodox Church. Elements are the real presence (mystically) of Jesus Christ. The two brought together as one. A mystery (sacrament). Priest required.
- Lutheran. Elements contain the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ. United yet distinct. A sacrament. Pastor required.
- Anglican/Episcopal. Elements are the real spiritual presence of Jesus Christ. A sacrament. Priest required.
- Reformed. Elements spiritually contain the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Assure that spiritual benefits come from Christ.
- Memorial. Elements are remembrance, proclamation, anticipation, participation. Visual reminder, not sacrament.
The Communion Ritual, Five Truths to Apply
- Jesus became true humanity for us. He was like us in every way, yet without sin (Philippians 2:6-11, Hebrews 2:14-18; 4:15-16). He was also undiminished deity (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-16, Romans 1:3-4, and Hebrews 1:3, 8). He was our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
- When he died on the cross, it was not just another terrible crucifixion. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He was voluntarily substituting himself for us and taking our judgment upon himself (John 1:29; Romans 4:25; 2 Cor 5:18-21; 8:9; 1 Peter 2:24).
- This should impress upon us the reality of our sin and then the reality of God’s love for us (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Peter 2:24; John 3:16; 1 John 3:1-3).
- Thankfulness, reverence, service, obedience to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ought to be the application of each one of us every day (2 Corinthians 9:15; Romans 6:17; 7:25).
- Therefore, our desire and practice: to live in fellowship with God, to live by the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance, to circulate God’s word through our minds, and to serve according to our spiritual gift and level of spiritual maturity. Paul wrote that we by this ritual remember him, we proclaim his death, and we do it until he returns (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).