This is a great time of year! Freeze up is rapidly approaching. The sunrise and sunsets are beautiful. It is also a time of great celebrations. Our church family celebrates Reformation Day every October 31. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. Of course, Christmas is a great way to remember the birth of Jesus. December 31 is another great celebration. We remember the old year and focus on the new year.
Our Lord Jesus ordained a great celebration for His Church in the Lord’s Supper. Jesus took the Passover and transformed it into the Lord’s Table. For hundreds of years God’s people celebrated Passover. Today we are commanded to celebrate the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
The Lord’s Supper is so important it is mentioned in four places in the Bible. It is found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11. Christians in church history have differed on the Lord’s Supper. The Roman Catholic Church teaches transubstantiation- that the bread and the cup become the body and blood of Jesus. Martin Luther taught consubstantiation. Luther believed that the body and blood of Jesus were “in and around and through” the elements.
We believe the Lord’s Supper is a remembrance. In 1 Corinthians 11:24 Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Again, in verse 25 Jesus said, “…in remembrance of Me.” As we ponder and think about the death and resurrection of Jesus we are built up in our faith.
What specifically are we to remember? In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 the bread and the cup remind us of four very important truths.
The first truth is the incarnation of Jesus. “The Lord Jesus in the night in which 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” (verses 23-24). The incarnation means that Jesus became a human being.
The Old Testament refers to Jesus as Immanuel (God With Us) in Isaiah 7:14. The angel told Mary that she would conceive and bear a Son. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). Jesus is the God-Man. Jesus is not an ordinary person. He is God Himself!
The second truth is the substitution of Jesus. Jesus came to die for our sins. 1 Corinthians 11:25 reads, “In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the New Covenant in My blood.’” The Old Covenant gave impossible demands. We needed a Champion- Someone to fulfill the law for us. Jesus died on the cross in our place.
Who crucified Jesus? Ultimately, it was not the Romans who crucified Jesus. It was not the Jews. It was God Himself. The Father crushed His own Son to satisfy His wrath against our sins. God is bound by His own rules. He is just. Every sin must be punished. Jesus offered a perfect sacrifice to pay for my sins and your sins. Jesus is our substitute.
The third fact is the resurrection of Jesus. The apostle Paul said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Jesus died but He did not remain in the ground.
Romans 1:4 says that Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power.” At the very beginning of His ministry Jesus based His entire ministry on the resurrection. He said, “Destroy this temple (His body) and in three days I will raise it up.” Only one person has permanently beaten death- the Lord Jesus. His sacrifice for our sins was so perfect He was raised from the dead.
Jesus defeated our greatest enemies- sin, Satan and death. Death could not hold Him. The resurrection is the greatest evidence of His deity and everything He said.
The fourth fact is the Second Coming. Yes, the Lord’s Supper reminds us that Jesus is coming back. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” Jesus is coming back in great power and great glory. He is going to set up His kingdom and reign for a thousand years. The old adage, “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne” will not be true at that time.
God wants us to understand spiritual truth. Our God does not stutter or stammer! He has made Himself known. Jesus is God. He died for our sins. He rose from the dead. He is coming back again. We serve a great God. We must worship Him!
Ethan Hansen is a pastor at Faith Bible Fellowship.