The Lord’s Supper also known as Communion or the Love Feast is a commanded and beautiful act of worship. The Passover Seder celebrates Jesus Christ as the perfect lamb who was sacrificed so that we could live. His blood covers us and death passes us over. I know that was very Christianese. Let me try and explain it plainly.
Passover is a feast we are commanded to celebrate always (Exodus 12:14). In that feast, Israel would find and sacrifice an unblemished lamb, eat bread without yeast, and drink wine to celebrate the first Passover when they had to kill a perfect lamb and paint the blood of that lamb over their doorways. When death came for the first-born sons of Egypt, it passed over the houses with the lamb’s blood covering them. In the morning they quickly ate all the lamb, ate bread that had not been leavened and then left slavery in Egypt to go to the Promised Land (Exodus 12). When they ate that first Lord’s Supper, He blessed them with their freedom and so much more. Those same blessings await us. Psalm 105:37-43 describe what God gave Israel as they left slavery and entered life under the blood of the Passover Lamb.
Then he brought out Israel with silver and gold,
and there was none among his tribes who stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad when they departed,
for dread of them had fallen upon it.
39 He spread a cloud for a covering,
and fire to give light by night.
40 They asked, and he brought quail,
and gave them bread from heaven in abundance.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed through the desert like a river.
42 For he remembered his holy promise,
and Abraham, his servant.
43 So he brought his people out with joy,
his chosen ones with singing.
They were healthy and strong, they had plenty, and every provision they asked for was given. They were chosen and joyful and they sang it all back to God in gratitude and celebration of His awesome power and goodness.
Before Jesus was crucified, He spent Passover with His closest followers, and He prophetically showed them what was about to happen as they ate the Seder together. Matthew 26:26-29 reads,
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.”
Luke 22:19-20 records it with this commandment,
And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
This important act of worship has been practiced from the very beginning of the Church (Acts 2:46-47) and Paul saw that many people were not taking it seriously, using the Lord’s Supper not for worshipping God but for a reason to get drunk and overeat. He gave instructions for the church in 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
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, 24 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.” 25 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.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment.
This is a somber and beautiful act of worship, we remember Christ’s sacrifice, His body freely given to us, broken and killed by reflecting and then eating the piece of matzoh, the wafer of unleavened bread, or other food. We drink the wine, the fruit of the vine, juice, or other drink and remember His blood which was poured out as an offering, so we could have life.
When we choose to worship Him by celebrating the Love Feast, He blesses us. We worship through an act of unity with the church as we all do this ritual with earnest hearts together. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 reads,
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
When we worship through communion, we proclaim that Christ’s body was broken for ours, He took on our sins and our brokenness and gave us righteousness and wholeness. Though it is serious and it reminds us of our desperate need for Jesus, though we recall His tortuous death all for us, it is a celebration, a reason to rejoice. It is because Jesus chose to take on our sins and give up His life as The Passover Lamb that we have eternal life, a relationship with God, and a future with Him forever.
When I break a piece of bread off the loaf of matzoh (my preference for the Lord’s Supper), I think of Jesus’ body broken for me, His wounds from the scourging He received (John 19:1) and I celebrate what Isaiah prophesied about our beautiful Messiah. Isaiah 53 describes the trial, torture, and crucifixion of Jesus. As you read it, look at the blessings you receive and understand that each time you celebrate The Passover, each time you take the bread and wine, you rejoice in every blessing and you worship God in deepest gratitude for Jesus’ marvelous and miraculous grace. Verses 4-12 read,
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.
Believer, I truly hope you practice this worship regularly and deliberately. It should be done with your local church often. It can be done with just two or three. It can be incorporated into gathered meals, celebrations, and fellowship as long as you understand the gravity and profundity, as long as you choose to celebrate what Jesus did for you.
Worship is not something you can skip on in your relationship with God, it is the very definition of your relationship with Him. The practice of Communion allows you the deepest intimacy and unity with your Lord as you share in His suffering, death, and resurrection with Him.