Cross

Rev.

Ken Collins’ Website

www.kencollins.com

The Meaning of Communion

What does Communion mean?

All of the following, taken together, are true:

It is a memorial to Jesus’ death.
This is the most popular response, and it is correct, but by itself it would be incomplete. In 1 Corinthians 11:26, Paul said, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes…” (NIV) So Communion looks forward as much as it looks back.
It is a sacrificial meal. Jesus is the sacrifice who offered Himself to take away our sins, and we are the holy priests who benefit.
This is correct, because John proclaims Jesus as the Lamb of God who is slain for the sins of the world. Jesus says that He is the bread of life (John 6:35). The literal meaning of the Greek text is that we must eat Him. And in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25, Paul quotes Jesus as saying that the bread is His body and the cup is His blood. So Communion is a sacrificial feast in which Jesus offers Himself as a sacrifice, and we as His holy priesthood, consume the sacrifice.
It unites us with all the saints, past and future.
In telling us to have Communion, Jesus made the Last Supper into a sort of progressive dinner party. Each Communion service is just another session of the same meal that began in the Upper Room and continues throughout all time, anticipating the wedding feast of the Lamb in eternity. Therefore, we are simply participating in another session of the same Last Supper as the saints and apostles of all ages.
It anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb at the end of time.
In telling us to have Communion, Jesus made the Last Supper into a sort of progressive dinner party. Each Communion service is just another session of the same meal that began in the Upper Room and continues throughout all time, anticipating the wedding feast of the Lamb in eternity. These are the appetizers, we might say; the main course is coming.
It equips us for Christian living and for eternal life.
Communion is the spiritual food that we need to live Christian lives. It is an act of obedience to one of Jesus’ easiest commandments, and thus prepares us for greater obedience. Because the blood is His life (Leviticus 17:10-12), we share in His life, and prepare ourselves for eternity as well.
It allows us to participate in the Last Supper.
In telling us to have Communion, Jesus made the Last Supper into a sort of progressive dinner party. Each Communion service is just another session of the same meal that began in the Upper Room, so in a sense we are partaking of the same supper as the Twelve.
It is the church’s family meal.
This is correct, but weak, mainly because it leaves out a lot. The metaphor of the church as a family is very recent. The difference between the church and a family is that the church is a family in which all the children are adopted, and in which the Father seeks to adopt as many more as possible.