Communion: our continual dependence upon Christ's life
The Lord's table is a covenant meal
As we come to the Lord’s table today, we want to consider that our God, the God of the bible, is a God of covenants. Our God is a Covenant making and covenant keeping God.
The communion service is a memorial of our blood covenant with God through Jesus Christ.
What is a covenant?
Definition of a covenant; a formal and legally binding agreement between two parties.
In modern life many important things are based on a covenant type agreement e.g. marriage is a covenant with vows taken. In sickness and in health etc. Such an agreement promotes trust and stability. A covenant usually involves vows or promises made by both parties with mutual benefits and may contain penalty clauses.
Abram had the same dilemma he asked God how he could be sure that God would keep his promise to bless him with millions of descendants. You can read the story of Abram’s covenant with God in Genesis 15:1-18.
Genesis 15:5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Jumping down to verse 17
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking fire pot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--
A blood covenant is the most sacred or solemn type of covenant, and also the most significant and unbreakable. In a blood covenant you promise to give your life, your love, and your protection forever.
God's new covenant with us
When the time came, the eternal, infinite Creator entered time and space through the person of Jesus Christ. Christ, the Son of God, exchanged names with us and became Jesus, the Son of Man. He was the God-Man who came to identify with us in our human condition and cut the covenant for us so that we might be one with God.
Because Jesus lived a perfect life, He was able to cut a perfect covenant with God on our behalf. When it was time, Jesus gathered His disciples together to participate in the covenant meal.
Jesus took the bread and wine and explained that they represented His own life which was to be offered in our place as the covenant sacrifice for our sins. He further explained that through His sacrifice, we could have our sins forgiven and receive eternal life through union with Him.
Afterward, Jesus planted a memorial tree and stained it with His own blood. That blood- stained tree was the cross. There Jesus paid the judgment of sin for-us by "cutting the covenant" with Father God on our behalf.
This is where the exchange of natures took place. Jesus took the coat or robe of our liabilities on Himself. He took our sins into His spirit, our sorrows into His soul and our sicknesses into His flesh.
In return, He gives us the gift of His garment of salvation and robe of righteousness. Through Him, we can have right standing with God and become partakers of His divine nature.
Because Jesus never sinned, death could not hold Him in the grave. Three days later, He was resurrected and ascended back to heaven where He now sits on the throne of God with all authority and power over sin, Satan, and death.
And He promises to come back to earth to rule over a kingdom of righteousness and peace with His followers.
As well as being a covenant meal communion is more than just a memorial to remember Jesus' death and resurrection, the Lord's Supper is also an acknowledgement of each believer’s continual dependence upon Christ's life and a regular reminder of His soon return.
The Institution of the Lord’s Supper is described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23
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.” 25 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.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
11:27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.
Jesus always comes to His own table so let us commune with Him today and partake with Him and draw His life and strength into us as we partake of His covenant meal.