Communion: Established by Christ, Not by Man

One of the things that grieve my heart the most is how modern day Christian churches view and practice our Lord’s holy communion – breaking of the bread and drinking of the wine. Most churches have long forgotten the reverence and the purpose in which communion was established and why we still practice it.

Communion is also known as the Lord’s Supper. There is a reason for that. It was referred to as the Lord’s Supper because that’s who this meal belongs to, that’s who established it, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did not teach His disciples to take of the bread and drink of the wine as a mere religious practice to be performed in order for exterior holiness to be displayed or achieved (which is an oxymoron). No, instead it is written that communion was established by Christ for His disciples to practice for the purpose and in the manner noted in the passage below:

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

~ Matthew 26:26-28

In this passage, we see that Jesus and His disciples were already eating (v. 26) a meal. But then He took other bread, blessed it, and broke it. The bread Jesus used was not bread that was being used for the meal they had already been eating, instead it was one that was specifically dedicated to represent (not be) His body that would be broken, crucified – crushed for the sins we committed against God the Father. Then Jesus took the wine which was specifically dedicated to represent (not be) His blood of the new covenant (testament) that God was making with mankind through Jesus Christ, who became the One, perfect, sinless sacrifice who alone was qualified to cleanse us from all our sins.

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said,

‘This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’

In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying,

‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.”

~ 1 Corinthians 11: 23-26
(emphasis added)

Therefore when we take communion, we are saying to God that we believe and trust that Jesus' death on the Cross alone can cleanse us from our sins. This is vital to understand and believe because in the Old Testament, the priests had to sacrifice, unblemished, spotless animals only to atone (to cover, to make up for, not cleanse) them from their sins. These animal sacrifices were necessary for the people who lived during the Old Testament times so that they would not completely be destroyed by God because of their sins. But those sacrifices never remitted (set them free, cleansed) them from their sins. Instead those sacrifices were only temporary “scapegoats” (this is where we get the term) God used to take the punishment for their sins, not to pardon them from their sins. That’s why God says in 1 Samuel 15:22, Psalm 51:16-17 and finally Psalm 40:6-8 that animal sacrifices were not what was pleasing to Him, but obedience, complete fulfillment of the Law (perfection) in which only Christ satisfies.

Please click on the highlighted passage below for a better understanding of the difference between the Old Testament animal sacrifices and the New Testament communion established by Christ:

Sadly, because communion has been so distorted by humanistic views of heavenly things, the reverence, awe, gratitude, self-examination, and humility that comes with taking communion has been lost.

Due to this loss of accurate Biblical understanding and lack of reverence for communion, I’ve witnessed churches allowing staff and children to take the “left over” bread (crackers) and the wine (grape juice) that was dedicated to the Lord for communion, to satisfy their physical hunger and thirst (which is clearly denounced in 1 Corinthians 11:19-29). I’ve also witnessed it being used as if a man could truly summon the Lord Jesus Christ to come into the bread and wine for them to eat His body and drink His blood to be forgiven of their sins (which is clearly denounced in Romans 10:1-9) .

Then there are those who only use communion to perform a religious act so others may “rededicate” their lives to Christ and “start over”, have a “new beginning” with Jesus. Are these people false converts? I don’t know. But I do know that if a person has truly repented of their sins and committed their lives to God through Christ, there is no need for “rededication”, as this has more of the appearance of the Old Testament practice of sacrificing animals over and over again for a fresh new start with God due to habitual sinful (disobedient) living rather than committing (dedicating) oneself with great love and gratitude for Christ taking our shame, our guilt, our punishment upon Himself so that those who trust in Him, may be given a new life, a new heart with new desires.

In other words, there are no “re” (which means “again”), no “do-overs” necessary for true converts, because as true disciples of Christ, we follow Him, and dedicate/commit ourselves to God, through Christ, once, for all. (2 Timothy 2:19, 1 John 2:19)

I am not suggesting that a person can not sin once they are saved. What I am saying is that too often, I have witnessed people who are not repentant at all for their sins and deliberately sin and excuse it with, "Well, I know gambling is a sin, but hey, God is a forgiving God. So I'll just go do it, have fun, then ask for forgiveness later." Yes, someone has actually said that to me. Naturally, I was in such shock, therefore, I had no response.

These are the people I'm directing this comment towards; those who openly, and willingly sin, mock God and His compassion and forgiveness, then think that if they take communion, they can continue to live as they like and ask for forgiveness later. Basically, "have the cake and eat it too" attitude. This is most unholy and desecrates the sacrament of communion and its true purpose in which Christ established it.