“While they were eating, Jesus took the bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-28
For many years my communion experience consisted of five things: 1) attempting an acrobatic event by carefully taking the bread and juice from the communion tray and passing it to the next person, all while trying desperately not to spill the tray or spilling the contents of the tiny plastic cup in my hand, 2) a short prayer, 3) bracing myself for the unpleasant flavor of styrofoam combined with lukewarm, sour grape juice, 4) gulp. Good heavens. There’s nothing quite like that flavor combination. 5) While bending to place the tiny cup on the floor by my chair (which I always forget to retrieve and throw away after the service – always), I would also conveniently grab a Tic-Tac out of my purse. I mean for real, communion breath is just the worst, and that flavor could last in your mouth all day.
Well friends, today I want to look at how Jesus modeled communion – the first communion and the last moment of fellowship Jesus had with his dear companions. This was not a rushed experience. It was not filled with thoughts swirling around his mind of to-do lists he had to complete after Passover. And it certainly did not include a Tic-Tac. I can bet Jesus cherished every fleeting moment he had with his friends that evening—just as we should cherish this sweet, sacred, personal time with our Savior. Let’s refer back to Matthew 26:26-28.
This action is significant because it signifies the involvement of everyone in the room. During the time of Jesus, fellowship was done during a meal. Jesus took the bread and got his followers’ attention before performing his next action. Everyone participated. Let’s jump back to the present: during communion we all share in fellowship with one another in this somber, yet celebratory event.
Jesus blessed the bread and wine before giving it to his disciples. Even when Jesus modeled for his disciples how to pray, he began with thanksgiving. Before partaking in communion we should thank the Lord for sending his Son to die, and thank him for going through all of the pain and suffering he went through to pay the ultimate cost for us.
The third action is the breaking of the bread, signifying his broken body. Sacrifices and offerings played a large role in Old Testament worship and piety. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and paid the ultimate price for our sins. 1 Corinthians 11:28 says, “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.” It is important to confess our sins during this sacred time with the Lord and check our hearts before participating in such a holy act.
After taking the bread and juice it is important that the remainder of communion be spent reflecting on the hope of heaven God has given to us because of the price his Son paid. Meditate on the love that the Lord has for you that he would bestow such grace and cherish that sweet time with our Savior.
So the next time you approach communion, acknowledge the blessing of this divine fellowship with your Savior before you take the emblems. Just as Jesus blessed the meal he gave his friends, thank the Lord for blessing you with hope and grace, and prepare to bless others with hope and grace in return. Allow yourself to be broken, and humble yourself during this time of confession. Lastly, graciously accept the blessing of eternal life that he so willingly gave. Do not let the effect of this sacred event end when the piano stops playing and the lights go up, but let the examples Christ set for us guide you in your week to come.
Written by Charissa Wines