Posts Tagged ‘Holy Communion’

Le couvent englouti

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”    1 Corinthians 11:23-26

I used to have many questions and opinions about the Holy Communion. “Do this in remembrance of me.” Why does the Lord keep wanting us to remember Him? He needs that much attention? Surely, He has more concerns about His impending betrayal than some bread and drink, right? So, do we just plainly remember, then what happens? Why do we need to do it so often?

If you like me, we have much to appreciate the Lord’s Supper, a wonderful gift. That even at the final hours of his imminent torture, His mind is still for the benefits of the disciples, then and now. You see, the bread is not just a mere symbol of the Lord’s body, it IS the Lord’s body, wounded and broken for us. The cup is not just a symbolic drink but the very blood, flowed out for the us. But what for?

If we refer to Isaiah 53, that tells us the details of what exactly the Lord’s body suffered for, then we will grow to appreciate the bread and the cup.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.  Isaiah 53:4-5

lord_supper

You see, our Lord Jesus has taught us by using the bread and cup, we can better focus on Him, not on ourselves or on the circumstance. The communion is the very physical representation of Jesus Himself. So, if we are weak or sick, Jesus used the communion to remind us, “I am the Bread of Life; Remember ME!”. If we are tired, and burdened, the communion says the Lord will give you rest, Remember ME. If we are depressed, the communion declares His suffering on the cross, so we need not suffer again, Remember ME. If we think we are unclean and unworthy, the communion points to the cleansing, washed by the very Blood, Remember ME. If we are rejected, the communion confirms that we are accepted, “Remember ME!”.

We just need to remember the “ME”.

 

Blood and Life, Blood Nose

Have you ever felt that the association of blood as a representation of Jesus in Christianity is slightly distasteful? Well, you are not alone. Many of us may have felt this because we were so used to correlate blood with trauma and death. The only time we are conscious of our own blood is when we see it; and that usually means something is not well. We have been conditioned to perceive blood very negatively; something essential and critical, but something not very pleasant. Many people are in fear at the sight of blood; and no thanks to Hollywood, blood is often seen as a gross aftermath of horror and death. There is just something horribly wrong and unnatural watching the thick red fluid of life pour out uncontrollably from a living body.

However, as uncomforting as one may feel, Christianity is based firmly on blood. In Old Testament, blood sacrifices were comprehensively recorded. In the New Testament, the word “blood” occurs 3 times more than the “cross” of Christ and 5 times more than the word “death”; and that goes to show the importance blood continue to have within the new covenant.

Blood and Life, Blood Spatter

I used to attend a very traditional church where the emphasis is re-living of the final agony of Jesus Christ on the cross every time Holy Communion is served. Tense moments of checking and re-checking ourselves to make sure we had confessed all our sins before we are entitled to partake of His body and His blood; so we will not “eat our own sins”. The gloomy theme of death hanged heavily and precariously. Many times I just have to let the elements passed me by because I always deemed myself too unworthy to partake; needless to say I subsequently slipped spiritual.

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.   John 6:53-54

You see, we tend to focus on the blood of Christ shed based on death, but we have to see from Jesus’ perspective instead, that His blood is shared based on life; that we may have eternal life! Jesus didn’t go to the cross so that He can taste death, He went to the cross so we can taste life! In Genesis 4, The blood of Abel that cries out to Father God for justice and vengeance (Heb 12:24), but the blood of Jesus Christ cries out that justice has been served! The judgment for our sins has been served on Christ on the cross. The blood of Jesus cries out the covenant and forgiveness of sins between God and his people. The blood is not poured out in sadness and tears but in celebratory triumphant and victory!

Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”  Matthew 26:27-29

Blood and Life, life. line. (in the blood)

Life is in the blood (Lev 17:11/Lev 17:14/Deut 12:23). Blood signifies life, not the absence of it. Rarely do everyday people see the dramatic power blood giving life. Jesus’ blood on the cross was shed not for death, but for life. Not only does the blood wash us from our sins but also by ‘drinking’ His blood, like blood transfusion, we inherit His blood in us, giving us life, all that we need and every good thing that is pleasing to Him.

Now may the God of peace—
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.  
Hebrews 13:20-21

When we see the bread and cup signifying His body and His blood, we should remember Him not with death, but with life!

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”   Luke 22:19

The Essences Of Holy Communion, Our daily Bread

I used to think the Holy Communion is just an act worship to remember Jesus. To simply put it, it is just another religious act. When I heard about the radical teachings of healing and wholeness, blessings and prosperity from the partaking of the Holy Communion, I felt very disapproving and undignified. From my perspective then, I was angry at such teachings because it took some of the focus away from Jesus Christ. Lifted directly from the Bible, Jesus wants us to simply remember Him, nothing more-nothing less, nothing more straightforward than that. Where did healing, wholeness, prosperity and wealth come from? We are seeking our Savior, the Redeemer, remembering and worshiping Him, it is just about the only thing we can ever offer. Why do we have to make the simple act to be a “get well”, “get rich”, and “get blessed” hula-hula session? Didn’t Jesus suffered enough on the cross? Didn’t He gave up everything for us? Why can’t we follow simple instruction in worship and stop “demanding” more from Him? Why can’t we just worship as who He is and not what He can give?

While I believed my anger was dignified then, I now admit I did not know very much about the very heart of God. While I did come with a sincere heart and a heart of worship towards the Holy Communion, I have not good insights into His Word myself. So sadly, I did not understand God and His purpose very much with regards to the Holy Communion then.

bread and wine #1

You see, why did Jesus institute the Holy Communion? To solely remember Him, right? And we need to know that anyone who sincerely come to Jesus will never go away the same person. Anyone with a personal encounter with Jesus and His grace will not leave untouched and indifferent. Remember the time when you first believed? This experience is not one off, but this wonderfully experience can be and should be repeated as Jesus reveals His beauty and grace, layer by layer, revelation by revelation. And we can be constantly refreshed by Him.

Even in the Old Testament, in the times of the Tabernacle and the Temples (signifying Jesus), the Israelites coming before God in their sins but through the various offerings, Burnt-Sin-Trespass-Peace Offerings signifying Jesus again, they left the place different; sinless. While in post resurrection, we do not need the daily sacrificial system because we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10, coming to Jesus, remembering Him with the Holy Communion will not leave you the same as well, before and after.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul corrects the church’s attitude towards the Holy Communion, see here. In verse 30, the consequences for not discerning the Lord’s Supper is this: That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 11:30   So can the reverse be also true, that reverence partaking of the Lord’s Supper not only declares the Lord’s death until he comes again but also bring strength, health, motivation and inspiration?

The Essences Of Holy Communion, a good wine

You will not be the same after encountering with Jesus. Holy Communion is a physical declaration of Jesus Christ for believers. Jesus declared He is the living bread (John 6:51), the light of the world (John 8:12), the resurrection and life (John 11:25). In the OT, God declared “I am your Healer” (Exodus 15:26), I am you banner –victory (Exodus 17:15). Just like you will not stay dry in water or you will not stay cold in a hot summer sun, because the essence of water is wetness and the essence of the sun is heat and light. In the same way, the essence of Jesus is life, healing, blessings. When you come to Jesus, you stepped out of your darkness and stand into light of His gifting of hope and a future, with plans to prosper you (Jeremiah 29:11).

“Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered 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

The Essences Of Holy Communion, Jesus Offering Bread and Wine

Notice the “take-eat-this-is-my-body” and “drink-this-is-my-blood”, Jesus did not say “this-signifies-my-body” or “this-signifies-my-blood”.

We need to know the physical significance of the bread and cup; When we partake the Holy Communion, we not only physically partake the bread and cup, but also physically partaking Jesus and His very essences. You cannot help but filled with His very Life!

The Body broken for us, so by His strips we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). This is not just a simple token act but an divine institution that comes with huge spiritual and physically significances and power when we partake in gratitude of Him!

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.   Galatians 3:14