Communion is based on Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before His crucifixion. As they celebrated the Passover meal together, Jesus went beyond the traditional practice and introduced a new one: He took bread, breaking it and declaring this to be His body, and He took the cup of wine and told them to drink all of it, for this He declared to be the blood of the covenant poured out for the forgiveness of sin. (see Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:17-20)
Paul tells the same story in 1 Corinthians 11.23- 26, telling us that we are to celebrate this meal as a remembrance of Jesus. He says that as we eat and drink we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes. So as well as looking back and remembering the fullness of the passion of Jesus and the power of His death and resurrection to bring us into relationship with God, we are also looking forward to His return and our eternity in His presence. There is promise in communion as well as remembrance.
look at the bread: His broken body
Jesus had called Himself the bread of life…bread has to be broken and eaten if it is to nourish us. Here is Jesus broken to provide us with life. His body was marred beyond recognition in His suffering for us. He suffered so we could be made whole. The cross was the ultimate place of torture. And He had already experienced such severe torture before His body was even nailed to the cross. Isaiah prophesied of the death of Jesus in chapter 53, describing the awfulness of the punishment Jesus would take that would leave Him unrecognisable. So broken that we would not want to look at Him. Jesus surrendered to the brokenness of the cross for you.
look at the cup: representing His blood
He told the disciples to drink all of it. Jesus drank the whole cup. In the Garden the night before His death He prayed that if possible the cup could pass over Him but then He declared Himself willing to drink it all so God’s will could be done. Jesus held nothing back. Every drop of blood in His body would be poured out on the cross so your sin could be washed away and you could be made whiter than snow in God’s sight.
Jesus' body broken and His blood shed just for you!
The cross is Jesus’ free will payment for sin. He took on Himself the judgement of God so you could be covered in God’s mercy. This is the ultimate expression of God’s love for you and expresses how deeply He values you. How could you not give thanks as you remember all He has done for you?
The cross is the centrality of the Christian faith. It is the starting point of your journey as a believer. It is the source of your relationship with God. It is the key to walking with Jesus. It is your hope for the future. Paul talks about glorying in the cross of Jesus because in the cross is life, present and future. It is a reason to celebrate! And celebrating communion is also an act of obedience born from love.
Communion can be celebrated on your own wherever you are, as well as corporately when the body of Jesus, the church, meets together. Some people take communion every day. How often is a personal choice between you and God.
What you use for the elements is flexible too – bread, crackers, biscuits, wine, grape juice, any juice, water. Use whatever is available to you. They are only symbols. It is the meaning that is unchangeable and so important.
Celebrate communion on your own now.
Meditate on the broken body of Jesus – the whipping, the crown of thorns, the mockery, the abandonment, the rejection, the nails, the torture of trying to breathe, the cross itself, what it meant for Him who knew no sin, to become sin.
This is My body, broken for you! Take. Eat.
Meditate on His blood – poured out to forgive your sin, poured out for your healing, poured out for your wholeness of body, soul, and spirit. Life is in the blood and here is His blood poured out to give you life and life in all its fullness.
This is the blood of the new covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin. Drink all of it. Drink deep. Drink the fullness of all Jesus won for you on the cross. Celebrate Him and celebrate His life in you.