COMMUNION

PART THREE

 

 

Section Titles  (Click on a title to go directly to that section or scroll down to begin reading this study.)

 

 

A Scripturally Based Explanation of the Practice

Defining the Meaning of the Word 'Communion'

Closer Look At 1 Corinthians Chapter Ten

The Last Supper - What Does it Mean to the Church Today?

 

The Account Of The Last Supper

Lessons From The Last Supper

 

Conclusions About Jesus’ Body

 

The Bread of Heaven

 

Eating the Bread of the Lord’s Supper

 

The Cup of the New Covenant

 

Other Verses That Deal With The Breaking Of Bread & Sharing Of Meals In The New Testament

 

Final Thoughts on Communion & the Lord’s Supper

 

 

A Scripturally Based Explanation of the Practice

 

To attain correct doctrine, it is necessary to interpret scripture WITH scripture.  In other words, one should not use his or her opinion to interpret the meaning of a scripture verse or passage.  Instead, he or she should use the context and passages of scripture that are similar in context and meaning to the verses or verses in question.  Man's opinion and man's tradition must take a back seat to the inspired Word of God. 

Defining the Meaning of the Word 'Communion'

 

The word 'communion' appears only in the King James Version of the Bible. The NASB translates the same word as 'sharing'.  In reference to the blood and body of Christ, the word communion appears only in 1 Corinthians10: 16.

 

Text Box: The Greek word for 'communion' is 'koinonia' and it means “having in common (koinos), partnership, fellowship”Vine's Expository Dictionary says the Greek word for 'communion' is 'koinonia' and it means "having in common (koinos), partnership, fellowship."  The Amplified Translation of 1 Corinthians 10:16 reads, "The cup of blessing upon which we ask blessing, does it not mean we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the blood of Christ, the Messiah.  The bread, which we break, does it not mean we participate in and share a fellowship (a communion) in the body of Christ?”

 

The context of 1 Corinthians chapter 10 begins by comparing Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament. In verses 3 & 4 Old Testament Israel is said to have eaten "spiritual food" and that they drank "spiritual drink."  The analogy here refers to when God provided them with manna to eat during their journey in the wilderness, and water to drink when Moses struck the rock.

 

The manna and the water are said to typify Christ (see verse 11), and Israel's grumbling and idolatry are used as an example to the Corinthian church of unworthy behavior in the sight of God (see verses 5-7 & 9-10).  The context of 1 Corinthians 10 is clearly dealing with the literal eating and drinking of food and water, perhaps even wine. Consider the following verses in their context:

 

·          1 Corinthians 10: 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "the people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." NASU

 

·          1 Corinthians 10:18 Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar? NASU

 

·          1 Corinthians10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. NASU

 

·          1 Corinthians10: 24-25 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.  25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience' sake.  NASU

 

·          1 Corinthians10: 27-29 If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience' sake.  28 But if anyone says to you, "This is meat sacrificed to idols," do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience' sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?  NASU

 

·          1 Corinthians10: 31-32 whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  32 Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.  NASU

 

To summarize the context of 1 Corinthians 10, Israel grumbled and complained as they partook of food together in the wilderness together. They also partook of the sacrifices at the altar (lamb, bullock etc), but did so in an idolatrous manner.  Israel’s mistakes are an example to the church, teaching them how to share their food.

 

For example, when Israel partook of the sacrifice on the altar, they are said to be partaking of the altar itself.  When Israel mixed idolatry with the sacrifices offered to God and then partook of, them, it was likened to partaking at the table of demons. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:18-20) 

 

Likewise, a believer who knowingly partakes of meat offered to demons (sold in the marketplace by Gentile sellers) causes his brother and the unbeliever to stumble and be offended.  Even though this Christian man may consider an idol nothing he is still to be found guilty of partaking at the table of demons because he ate the meat sacrificed to idols to gratify his appetite at the expense of another’s conscience.

Closer Look At 1 Corinthians Chapter Ten

 

Knowing the context of 1 Corinthians chapter 10, we can more closely examine our topic verses and evaluate them accordingly:

 

·          1 Corinthians 10:14-18 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.  15 I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say.  16 Is not the cup of blessing, which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?  Is not the bread, which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?  17 Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread.  18 Look at the nation Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices sharers in the altar?  NASU

 

Eating together (i.e. breaking of bread) and drinking together (i.e. sharing the cup) was the common sharing of meals.  This communal activity was a part of the early churches’ sharing experience, and it was likened to the sharing of food in the wilderness by Old Testament Israel. 

The activity of eating itself is not the primary focus here, but the manner in which it is done.  Since the bread is said to be representative of the many membered body of Christ, and the wine is identified with Jesus' sacrificial blood, both bread and wine are fitting types of Christ and His body.

 

Israel's Old Testament sacrifices were supposed to be representative of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.  The manna in the Old Testament represented the Bread of heaven, Jesus Christ (read John 6:26-65).  Israel's idolatry in the sacrifices and their grumbling against God regarding the manna are likened to the attitudes that were manifested by the Corinthian church when they shared meals together in an unworthy manner.  Their “unworthy manner” meant disregarding the poor and needy in favor of their own gluttony.

Text Box: Whatever we do then, in Him, whether it is the sharing of a meal, or any other activity, it should be done with consideration of the other's good, not merely our own.

We are all partakers of the blood of Jesus Christ at salvation, and therefore we partake of the Bread of heaven and become one loaf in Him.  Whatever we do then, in Him, whether it is the sharing of a meal, or any other activity, it should be done with consideration of the other's good, not merely our own.  This type of attitude fulfills the command to love your neighbor as your own self (Mark 12:29-31).  It glorifies God providing a strong witness to those who observe such an unselfish example.

 

·          Matthew 5:16  "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”  NAS

 

The practice of "breaking bread" and "sharing the cup" in the early church will demonstrate early NT sharing was having a common meal together. There are other ways in which the Greek word 'koinonia' is used in the New Testament as well:

 

Acts 2: 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  NASU

 

Romans 15:26 For it has been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make some contribution (koinonia) for the poor among the saints of Jerusalem.  AMP

 

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation (koinonia) with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  AMP

 

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship (koinonia); that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

 

 Ephesians 3: 8-9 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship (koinonia) of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ

NKJV

 

Philippians.1: 5 I thank my God for your fellowship (koinonia; your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day you heard it until now.  AMP

 

Philippians 2:1-2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship (koinonia) of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. NASU

 

Philippians.3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship (koinonia) of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.   NASU

 

Philemon 4-6 I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; 6 and I pray that the fellowship (koinonia) of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ's sake.  NASU

 

Hebrews13: 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing (koinonia), for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  NASU

 

1 John 1:3-7 What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship (koinonia) with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.  5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship (koinonia) with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship (koinonia) with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. NASU

 

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be proud and arrogant and contemptuous of others, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but on God, Who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  18 Charge them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal and generous of heart, ready to share (koinonikos) with others, 19 In this way laying up for themselves the riches that endure forever as a good foundation for the future, so that they may grasp that which is life indeed.   AMP.

 

In general, the word koinonia is not used specifically with the sharing of meals, nor is it used primarily of the Lord's Supper. Rather we see it used in the following ways:

 

·          Fellowship with the apostles, which involved meals and prayer.

 

·          Contributions to provide for the poor among the saints.

 

·          Relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ.

 

·          Interaction amongst the apostle's for the purpose of spreading the gospel to the Gentiles.

 

·          The administration, or sharing of the mystery of the gospel to the Gentiles.

 

·          A participation in the spreading of the gospel.

 

·          Fellowship of the Spirit linked with compassion and love for one another.

 

·          Sharing the suffering of Christ; identification with Him thru suffering.

 

·          The sharing of our faith in love.

 

·          Doing good and sharing as sacrifices that are pleasing to God.

 

·          Fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ by walking in the light, thus bringing about as a result...fellowship with one another.

 

The Last Supper - What Does it Mean to the Church Today?

 

In evaluating the synoptic gospel accounts of the Last Supper, a harmony of the four gospels, along with Paul's account in 1 Corinthians 11 is necessary. To begin, we will skip past Paul's discourse until a complete evaluation is made of the gospel accounts.

 

This study is not intended to be a comprehensive dialogue of the gospel accounts, rather, the focus will be on the actual events just prior to and during the Last Supper.  These events can then be compared to what modern day churches call "Communion" or "The Lord's Supper."

 

To present a comprehensive overview of this event, verses from the gospel accounts will be combined, along with their corresponding book, chapter and verse.  By combining verses from the various gospels the reader sees a more complete account of the meal shared by Jesus and His disciples.

 

The Account Of The Last Supper

A Harmony of the Synoptic Gospel Account of the Last Supper

John 13:1-38, Luke 22:7-23, Mark 14:12-26, Matthew 26:17-30

 

Now before the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew (was fully aware) that the time had come for him to leave this world and return to the Father.  And as he had loved those who were his own in the world, he loved them to the last and to the highest degree. 

 

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be slain (as was customary they killed the Passover lamb), Jesus sent two of his disciples Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare for us the Passover meal, that we may eat it.” 

 

Jesus' disciples said to him, “Where do you wish us to go and prepare the Passover supper for you to eat?” 

 

And He and said to them, “Go into the city, and to a certain man carrying an earthen jar or pitcher of water will meet you; follow him and whatever house he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house. Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover supper with my disciples?”

 

And he will himself show you a large upper room, furnished with carpets and with dining couches properly spread and ready; there make your preparations for us.  Then the disciples set out and came to the city and found everything just as He had told them; and the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and they prepared the Passover.

Text Box: The main point in these verses for our study of the Passover supper was that the meal included meat, not merely bread and wine.

*NOTE - A Harmony of The Gospels by Thomas & Gundry says, "These preparations came during daylight hours on Thursday, the fourteenth of Nisan.  Lambs were customarily sacrificed in the afternoon in preparation for the Passover Supper, which was eaten in the evening." Because it was the Passover, one of the most important of the Jewish feast days, the meal was likely to include vegetables and other condiments.  The next set of verses deal with the particular activity of actually sharing the meal at the Last Supper.  Also included is the Lord's washing of the disciple's feet, which will reveal a consistent theme for the meaning of instituting a continuance of 'breaking bread' and 'sharing the cup.'

 

When it was evening, He came with and was reclining at table with the twelve disciples.  And when the hour came, Jesus reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly and intensely desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall eat it no more until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

 

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.  For this is my blood of the new covenant, which ratifies the agreement and is being poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”

 

 And when He had taken a cup, and given thanks, he gave it to them saying, “Drink of it, all of you.” and they all drank from it. “Take this and divide and distribute it among yourselves; for I say to you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine at all until I drink it new and of superior quality in My Father's kingdom, the kingdom of God.  Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day” 

 

Then Jesus took a loaf of bread, and praising God, gave thanks and asked Him to bless it to their use, and when He had broken it, He gave it to the disciples and said, he broke it and gave it to them saying, “Take it this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  And in like manner, he took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament or covenant ratified in my blood, which is shed (poured out) for you.” 

 

 So it was during supper, Satan having already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son.  And as they were eating, he said, “Solemnly I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating here with me. [Psalms 41:9.]

 

And they began to inquire among themselves which of them it was who was about to do this. They were exceedingly pained and distressed and deeply hurt and sorrowful and began to say to Him one after another, “Surely it cannot be I, Lord, can it?”  And they began to show that they were sad and hurt, and to say to Him one after another, “Is it I?” or, “It is not I, is it?” 

 

He replied to them, “But, behold, the hand of him who is now engaged in betraying me is with me on the table.  It is one of the Twelve, he who has just dipped his hand in and who is dipping bread into the same deep dish with me will betray me!  For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined and appointed, as it stands written concerning him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed and delivered up!  It would have been good, profitable and wholesome for that man if he had never been born.”

 

Judas, the betrayer, said, “Surely it is not I, is it, Master?”  He said to him, “You have stated the fact.”

 

That Jesus, knowing (fully aware) that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was now returning to God, got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a servant's towel, he fastened it around His waist.

 

Then he poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the servant towel with which he was girded.  When He came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him,” Lord, are my feet to be washed by you? Is it for you to wash my feet?”

 

Jesus said to him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on.”

 

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

 

Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with (in) me, you have no share in companionship with me.”

 

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, wash not only my feet, but my hands and my head too!”

 

Jesus said to him, “Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is clean all over.  And you my disciples are clean, but not all of you.”   For he knew who was going to betray him; that was the reason he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’

 

So when he had finished washing their feet and had put on his garments and had sat down again, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you?”  You call me the Teacher (Master) and the Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher (Master), have washed your feet, you ought, it is your duty, you are under obligation, you owe it]to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do in your turn what I have done to you.  I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his master, and no one who is sent is superior to the one who sent him.  If you know these things, blessed and happy and to be envied are you if you practice them if you act accordingly and really do them.  I am not speaking of and I do not mean all of you.  I know whom I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats my bread with me has raised up his heel against me.’ [Psalms 41:9.]  I tell you this now before it occurs, so that when it does take place you may be persuaded and believe that I am he, who I say I am--the Christ, the Anointed one, the Messiah.  I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, he who receives and welcomes and takes into his heart any messenger of mine receives me in just that way; and he who receives and welcomes and takes me into his heart receives Him Who sent me in that same way.”

 

After Jesus had said these things, he was troubled (disturbed, agitated) in spirit and said, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, one of you will deliver me up [one of you will be false to me and betray me! “

 

 The disciples kept looking at one another, puzzled as to whom He could mean.  One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved whom He esteemed and delighted in, was reclining next to him on Jesus' bosom.  So Simon Peter motioned to him to ask of whom he was speaking.  Then leaning back against Jesus' breast, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

 

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I am going to give this morsel (bit) of food after I have dipped it.”

 

So when He had dipped the morsel of bread into the dish, he gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot's son.  Then after he had taken the bit of food, Satan entered into and took possession of Judas.  Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do more swiftly than you seem to intend and make quick work of it.”

 

But nobody reclining at the table knew why he spoke to him or what he meant by telling him this.  Some thought that, since Judas had the moneybox (the purse), Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the Festival, or that he should give something to the poor.”

 

So after receiving the bit of bread, he went out immediately.  And it was night.  When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified!  Now He has achieved His glory, his honor, his exaltation!  And God has been glorified through and in him.  And if God is glorified through and in him, God will also glorify him in Himself, and He will glorify him at once and not delay.  Dear little children, I am to be with you only a little longer.  You will look for me and, as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: you are not able to come where I am going.  I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.  By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another, if you keep on showing love among yourselves.”

 

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?”

 

Jesus answered, “You are not able to follow me now where I am going, but you shall follow me afterwards.”

 

Peter said to Him, “Lord, why cannot I follow You now?  I will lay down my life for You.”

 

Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, before a rooster crows, you will deny me, completely disown me three times.”

 

And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Lessons From The Last Supper

 

Evaluating the modern day practice of communion in the context of the Last Supper simplifies this assessment; from beginning to end, we will compare the context of the Last Supper with other Scripture related to each point.

 

Jesus desired to, "eat THIS Passover," but would, "never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."  By specifying 'this' Passover, Jesus isolates this particular Passover Feast out from other previous feasts.

 

·          1 Corinthians 5:4,7-8 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus…Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump (LIT-a fresh kneading; as of unleavened dough), just as YOU ARE in fact UNLEAVENED.   For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.   Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

 

Two things are in focus here. The first is that Christ is the Passover.  John the Baptist referred to Jesus as, “'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (See John 1:29,36). 

 

God instituted animal sacrifice for sin as early as the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were clothed with animal skins.  Later, God gave the Law to Moses, which involved numerous types of animal sacrifice for sins' atonement.

 

The Feast of Passover was a celebration, which God had commanded Israel to keep as a reminder of the deliverance He had wrought for them in Egypt (Leviticus 23:5,6; Numbers 9:5;Joshua 5:10-11; Hebrews11: 28).

 

The last plague on Pharaoh’s Egypt would be the death of all the male firstborn, except those whose household had their houses swept clean of leaven, and had the blood of a sacrificial lamb sprinkled upon the doorposts of their house.

 

Text Box: Jesus' blood prevents spiritual death or separation from God just as the original Passover lamb sacrifice and its blood prevented literal death

Jesus' death upon the cross represents the sacrificed lamb during the Feast of Passover.  Christ's sacrifice fulfills the Law and puts an end to the shedding of animal blood, including the Passover sacrifice. (READ Hebrews 8:4-9 & chapter nine)

 

Jesus' sacrifice of Himself was the final and only act by which man could be cleansed of sin.  After the Feast of Passover came the immediate celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which represents the purging of sin and its attitudes.  Jesus' blood prevents spiritual death or separation from God just as the original Passover lamb sacrifice and its blood prevented literal death when the death angel passed over Egypt.

 

1 Corinthians 10:17 For we, no matter how numerous we are, are one body, because we all partake of the one Bread (Literally = one loaf).  AMP

 

1 Corinthians 10:17 says the body of Christ to be literally, 'one loaf.'  According to the Hebrew practice and in conformity with the requirements of the Law, bread had to be made WITHOUT leaven.  Today we call this “kosher” bread, but in those days, it was a matter of obedience to God.  To have leaven in the bread revealed a person’s duplicity.

 

The leaven in 1 Corinthians 5:8 is said to be, “malice & wickedness.”  In Galatians 5:9 leaven is likened to persons that try to bring the church back under the Law for justification.  Legalism is a sort of leaven that is fueled by ego and religious pride.  It is the hypocritical leaven that causes the “dough” of one’s heart to “rise” in arrogance and self-sufficiency, throwing aside the necessity of reliance upon their Creator.

 

Legalism wants to justify by one’s works; thus, legalism taints the desire for TRUE WORKS, and brings with it another form of leaven… wickedness.  When God’s people don’t show their faith by their works, they peddle the world’s goods.

 

Jesus used bread and leaven as illustration of the hypocrisy of the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

 

Luke 12:1-2 In the meanwhile, when so many thousands of the people had gathered that they were trampling on one another, Jesus commenced by saying primarily to his disciples, “Be on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy, producing unrest and violent agitation.  2 Nothing is so closely covered up that it will not be revealed, or hidden that it will not be known.”  AMP

 

Matthew 16:6, 11-12 Jesus said to them,” Be careful and on your guard against the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees11 How is it that you fail to understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But beware of the leaven (ferment) of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  12 Then they discerned that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”    AMP

 

Mark 8:15-18 And Jesus repeatedly and expressly charged and admonished them, saying, “Look out; keep on your guard and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod and the Herodians.  16 And they discussed it and reasoned with one another, It is because we have no bread.  17 And being aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you reasoning and saying it is because you have no bread?  Do you not yet discern or understand?  Are your hearts in a settled state of hardness? 18 Having eyes, do you not see with them, and having ears, do you not hear and perceive and understand the sense of what is said?” AMP (Isaiah 6:9,10; Jeremiah 5:21)

 

The Herodians are a party among the Jews of the apostolic age, and keenly opposed to Jesus (Matthew 22:16; Mark 3:6; 12:13. The party was probably formed under Herod the Great and appears to have held that it was right to pay homage to a sovereign who might be able to bring the friendship of Rome and other advantages, but who had personally no title to reign by. On this question they differed from the Pharisees (Matthew 22:16-17), although they joined forces with them in disguised opposition, or in open union against Jesus, in whom they saw a common enemy. The Herodians were obviously something more than a political party and something less than a religious sect.  (from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

 

Conclusions About Jesus’ Body

 

Jesus Christ IS our Passover, having sacrificed Himself as the Lamb of God.  He desired to eat the final Passover because this would fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17) and redeem men from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13,24; 4:4-5).

 

The New Testament Passover then must not be re-enacted, which is what Christians ignorantly do by celebrating it in the Communion ritual.  To re-enact Passover is to bring people under the bo0ndage to the requirement of Moses’ Law (Galatians4:9-11; Acts 13:38-39: Ephesians 2:11-16; Colossians.2:13-14; Hebrews 7:18; 8:13; 10:1; 12:27). 

 

What Jesus was saying during the last supper was that his disciples eliminate the Feast of Passover as a ceremonial dinner. More importantly, it means...ridding ourselves of malice, wickedness, hypocrisy and taking the true bread (i.e. - our lives as the body of Christ; the one loaf).  When we assemble allowing the power of our Lord Jesus to make us a new lump, or literally 'a fresh kneading.'  

 

Text Box: Clearly a meal is in focus at the Last Supper, and Jesus chose this atmosphere to bring a message of servitude; his word to us is one only a true servant can receive.We become this new lump when we set aside our selfishness, quit arguing about who is the greatest, and become humble foot-washing servants.

 

Clearly a meal is in focus at the Last Supper, and Jesus chose this atmosphere to bring a message of servitude; his word to us is one only a true servant can receive. Even knowing Judas would betray him, Jesus set forth the supreme example of servitude by washing his, and the other disciples’ feet.  He left the disciples an example to follow; they were not greater than their Master.

 

Jesus' example didn't stop with the foot washing however, because He was also willing to dip the morsel in the dish and give it to his betrayer, Judas Iscariot.  It was this gesture that was the bottom line of a true servant... to love one's enemies and do good to even them. (Matthew 5:43-48)

 

When Jesus said, "He who eats My bread has lifted up his heel against Me," he was referring not only to Judas Iscariot, but to those who would follow Judas’ example in the church. Jude prophesied of those, who for personal gain would become hidden reefs in the love feasts of the early church.  Like so many ministers and televangelists today, they betray even their own brethren for selfish ambition.

 

John 13:3-4 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper (Literally, “is rising out of supper”) and laid aside his garments, took a towel and girded himself.  NKJV

 

On Passover, Jesus “is rising from supper,” revealing a truth in the power of the resurrection power.  1 Corinthians 5:4 says the “power of our Lord Jesus” is present when we assemble, and have purged ourselves of malice and wickedness.  Through his example that blessed Passover, Jesus showed us God’s power to resurrect our spirit is experienced when we lay aside hypocrisy, sin and pride, and simply serve.

 

Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church exhorted them to purge the leaven, and do whatever was necessary to eliminate it from the sharing (koinonia) of Christ’s body.  Sometimes this involves putting someone out of the church because their behavior is causing the rest of the body (i.e. the loaf) to become leavened with their sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:5).

 

The early church saw the miracle working power of God in this way (Acts 4:33; Romans 1:4). In Eastern culture, ‘reclining at the table and eating and drinking,’ is considered a demonstration of trust and intimacy between friends.

Those who recline at the table eating and being served are traditionally “greater” than the one who is serving the meal to them.  In this context, Jesus BROKE WITH TRADITION and said," I am among you as One who serves," and again, “I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you...a slave is not greater than his Master."  The key to his resurrection power is embodied in his next sentence, “if you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."

 

Text Box: Jesus used his own “body” to symbolize servitude in the church.  The command of Jesus, “Take eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me," refers to the earlier context.  Jesus used his own “body” to symbolize servitude in the church.  He IS the “bread” they eat, but just exactly what does this mean to us?  How do we apply this symbolic language into our everyday interactions with each other?  Just what is the 'bread' we partake of?  What did Jesus mean when he said, “ this is my body, which is broken for you?"

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-25 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."  NKJV

 

The scriptures teach that none of Jesus’ bones were broken on the Passover day he was crucified.  Breaking the lower leg bones was the typical way Roman executioners would shorten the suffering of those that endured the cross.  The victim would then die of asphyxiation being unable to push his body upwards to draw the next breath. When they came to Jesus, unlike the two thieves he was crucified between, Jesus was already expired.  Therefore they did not need to break his legs, and this fulfilled a prophecy in the Psalms about the suffering of Messiah.

 

John 19:32-37 The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs; 34 but one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. 35 And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.  36 For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, "Not a bone of Him shall be broken."  37 And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on him whom they pierced."   NAS

 

Psalms 34:18-20 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.  19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.  20 He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken.   NKJV

 

There is an apparent contradiction between John 19:32-37, Psalms 34:18-20 and the context of 1 Corinthians 11:23.  If Jesus’ bones were not broken, why did Paul include the words, “my body which is broken for you?”  The explanation can be found in many Greek texts; Nestles’ Greek text omits, “which is broken,” while the Textus Receptus includes them.  Nestles is more reliable and uses earlier and more substantial Greek manuscripts.

 

However, even if the Textus Receptus is accurate, and the words, “, “my body which is broken for you,” are used in Corinthians, it doesn’t necessitate that Jesus’ legs were actually broken, but simply that he used these words to convey the concept of brokenness.  The scriptures are replete with examples of a broken and contrite heart being exemplary in God’s eyes.

 

 Psalms 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart… these, O God, You will not despise.  NKJV

 

The Bread of Heaven

John 6:30-66 NASU

 

John 6:30-31 So they said to Him, " What then do you do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe you?  What work do you perform?  31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'" 

 

John 6:32-33 Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.  33 For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world." 

 

John 6:34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread."

 

John 6:35-40 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.  36 But I said to you that you have seen me, and yet do not believe.   37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.  38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.   39 This is the will of Him who sent me, that of all that He has given me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I myself will raise him up on the last day." 

 

John 6:41-42 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about him, because he said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven."  42 They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How does he now say, ' I have come down out of heaven'?" 

 

John 6:43-51 Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble among yourselves.  44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.  45 It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.'  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.   46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; he has seen the Father.  47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.  48 I am the bread of life.  49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  50 This is the bread, which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 

51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 

 

John 6:52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

 

John 6:53-58 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.  54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.  55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me, he also will live because of me.  58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever."

 

John 6:59-60 These things he said in the synagogue as he taught in Capernaum. 60 Therefore many of his disciples, when they heard this said, " This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?"

 

John 6:61-64 But Jesus, conscious that his disciples grumbled at this, said to them, "Does this cause you to stumble?  62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?  63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.  64 But there are some of you who do not believe."  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.

 

John 6:65-66 And He was saying, "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father."  66 As a result of this many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore.

Text Box: The 'eating' of flesh and the 'drinking' of blood are obviously metaphors for believing in and being a partaker of the eternal life that is given by the Father thru the Son.

Jesus Christ wants to manifest the LIFE of the Father's Spirit thru His flesh and blood.  The 'eating' of flesh and the 'drinking' of blood are obviously metaphors for believing in and being a partaker of the eternal life that is given by the Father thru the Son.

 

The 'flesh' of Christ's body refers to the church operating on the earth and ministering the life of the bread of heaven to others, while at the same time partaking of it themselves. The same thing applies to the drinking of the blood of the new covenant in Christ.

 

Jesus gave his flesh for the life of the world when he was nailed to the cross and put sin to death in the flesh (READ Romans 8:3; Ephesians 2:13-16; Hebrews 10: 19-20; 1 Peter 3:18; 4:1).  Christ is the head of a many membered body of believers who partake of the Bread of heaven, and together with Jesus make up one 'loaf' of spiritual bread.

 

As individual believers become 'broken in spirit' by serving in the midst of suffering and affliction.  In this way we become the least in the kingdom of heaven so that others are able to partake of the 'life' of God's Spirit.  That life begins as they 'drink' of the blood of the 'new covenant' and become born-again for the first time.  The 'life' in the 'cup' of Jesus’ new covenant blood continues as God's people share the cup with one another by being merciful, compassionate and giving.

 

Text Box: We eat and drink in “remembrance” of Jesus by serving as he served; we do it in remembrance of his example as a servant.The gospel accounts and Paul’s epistles regarding the last supper or the Lord’s Supper confirm that true communion is a selfless life of servitude towards others for Jesus' sake.

When his people serve one another in love, Christ is 'risen' in the supper.  The power of his resurrection is manifested only when we love one another in words and deeds, in spirit and truth and with sincerity of heart, being of one mind and purpose, intent on doing the Father’s will. 

 

We eat and drink in “remembrance” of Jesus by serving as he served; we do it in remembrance of his example as a servant.

 

Romans 12:4-5 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another, mutually dependent on one another.  AMP

 

1 Corinthians12:27 Now you collectively are Christ's body and individually you are members of it, each part severally and distinct each with his own place and function.  AMP

 

Ephesians 1:22-23 And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church a headship exercised throughout the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all; for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself.  AMP (Read Psalms 8:6)

 

Ephesians 4:4, 12-16 There is one body and one Spirit--just as there is also one hope that belongs to the calling you received-- 12 His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints, His consecrated people,  that they should do the work of ministering toward building up Christ's body the church, 13 that it might develop until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God, that we might arrive at really mature manhood, the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ's own perfection, the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.  14 So then, we may no longer be children, tossed like ships to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, the prey of the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, gamblers engaged in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.  15 Rather let our lives lovingly express truth in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, and living truly.  Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him, who is the Head, even Christ the Messiah, the Anointed one.  16 For because of Him the whole body, the church, in all its various parts, closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part with power adapted to its need is working properly in all its functions, grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.  AMP

 

Colossians 1:24- 25 Even now I rejoice in the midst of my sufferings on your behalf.  And in my own person I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed on our part of Christ's afflictions, for the sake of His body, which is the church.  25 In it I became a minister in accordance with the divine stewardship, which was entrusted to me for you as its object and for your benefit, to make the Word of God fully known among you.  AMP

 

Colossians 2:19 And not holding fast to the Head, from Whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by means of its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.  AMP

 

Eating the Bread of the Lord’s Supper

 

By following Jesus' example to serve, the true power of God is manifested in us because we are empty of self and willing to do His will, not our own.

 

We are Christ's body, but we must become 'broken' in spirit and of a contrite heart before we can serve the 'Living Bread.'  Only then can our brethren 'eat' the flesh of the glorified Son of man.

 

For example, Jesus said, "...Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you' gave me drink."  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you, or thirsty, and give you drink?"  And the King will answer and say to them," Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me." (Matthew 25:34b, 35a, 37, and 40)

 

“Come, you who are blessed of my Father” in Matthew 25 coincides with Jesus’ dialogue at the Last Supper; after washing the disciple's feet He said," If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them." (John 13: 17)

 

The bread that was broken during the Last Supper typifies the many membered body of Jesus Christ, specifically those members who spend their lives following Jesus' example as a servant.  As often as they, “eat this bread,” they proclaim the Lord's death by dying to self; they die to self by being crucified with Christ; they are crucified in order that the life of the Spirit can be manifested thru them in servitude.

 

Jesus said he would not eat Passover bread again, nor would he drink the Passover wine again, until he was able to, "drink it new in His Father's kingdom (see Matthew 26:29).  What does this mean? 

After his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, we know that Jesus never ate or drank a Passover on earth ever again.  To fulfill his words that he would eat and drink it in a “new” way in his Father’s kingdom is a metaphor for what would happen among his disciples, both immediate and future.  The apostle Paul best describes what Jesus means when he says he will eat the bread, which is his flesh, and drink the cup anew in God’s kingdom. 

 

Paul said," I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and delivered Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20; 5:24 w/ Romans 6:6).  Paul was proclaiming the Lord's death by his lifestyle; he says, " I'm crucified with Christ," because he died to his own will, and lived only for the will of God. 

 

Paul was constantly feeding God's sheep with the bread of heaven (See John 21:17; Romans 12:20-21).  He fed God’s flock by offering his own life as a living sacrifice (See Romans 12:1).  The life he lived IN THE FLESH by faith in the Son of God is a prime example of the meaning of Jesus’ words in John 6:51 & 55, “The bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”   

 

We will now briefly examine the, "cup of the new covenant," in Jesus' blood; this language is clearly figurative.  It would violate the statutes and ordinances of the Law for any Jew to drink literal blood, a simple fact that escapes Roman Catholics and even Christians who believe they are to drink the symbolic blood of Christ (See Leviticus 7:27-27).

 

Jesus clarified His statement about drinking blood in John 6:63 saying, "the words I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."  There is obviously great spiritual significance in using the fruit of the vine at Passover to represent the blood of a new covenant.

 

To introduce a "new covenant" assumes there was an, “old covenant.”  The Law of Moses called for the shedding of animal blood to atone for the sins of the people.  Israel was expected to keep the statutes and ordinances given by God to Moses, but the Law only served to make the people more conscientious of their sin.

 

Unable to keep the Law, it served as a "schoolmaster" to bring true believers to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25).  The Law could never bring a person into relationship with God.  The blood of sacrifices offered in the old covenant required for ablutions year after year and even so, it could never clear the conscience of those for whom it was done.

 

Christ shed His blood once for all, it opened the way for man's spirit to have fellowship with God and to be led by God's Spirit.

 

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Not that we are fit, qualified and sufficient in ability of ourselves to form personal judgments or to claim or count anything as coming from us, but our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.  6 It is He who has qualified us making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant of salvation through Christ, not ministers of the letter of legally written code but of the Spirit; for the code of the Law kills, but the Spirit makes alive (See Jeremiah 31:31).  AMP

 

2 Corinthians 3:13-18 Nor do we ac] like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze upon the finish of the vanishing splendor which had been upon it.  14 In fact, their minds were grown hard and calloused they had become dull and had lost the power of understanding; for until this present day, when the Old TESTAMENT (the old covenant) is being read, that same veil still lies on their hearts, not being lifted to reveal that in Christ it is made void and done away.  15 Yes, down to this[very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their minds and hearts. 16 But whenever a person turns in repentance to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away.  17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, emancipation from bondage, and freedom.  18 And all of us, as with unveiled face, because we continued to behold in the Word of God as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit.  AMP

 

The blood of the new covenant is life giving, and this is consistent with the accounts of the Last Supper and John chapter 6 (also Isaiah 61:1,2.)

 

Hebrews 7:19, 22 For the Law never made anything perfect--but instead a better hope is introduced through which we now come close to God…22 In keeping with the oath's greater strength and force, Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement, a more excellent and more advantageous covenant.  AMP

 

Hebrews 8:6-7, 13 But as it now is, Christ has acquired a priestly ministry which is as much superior and more excellent than the old as the covenant, the agreement of which He is the Mediator, the Arbiter, and Agent, which is superior and more excellent, because it is enacted and rests upon more important, sublimer, higher, and nobler promises.  7 For if that first covenant had been without defect, there would have been no room for another one or an attempt to institute another one… 8:13  When God speaks of a new covenant or agreement, He makes the first one obsolete and out of use.  And what is obsolete, out of use and annulled because of age is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether.   AMP

 

Hebrews 9:11-15 But that appointed time came when Christ the Messiah appeared as a High Priest of the better things that have come and are to come.  Then through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with human hands, that is, not a part of this material creation, 12 he went once for all into the Holy of Holies of heaven, not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves by which to make reconciliation between God and man, but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption an everlasting release for us.  13 For if the mere sprinkling of unholy and defiled persons with blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a burnt heifer is sufficient for the purification of the body, 14 how much more surely shall the blood of Christ, who by virtue of his eternal Spirit has offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice to God, purify our consciences from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the ever living God?  15 Christ, the Messiah is therefore the Negotiator and Mediator of an entirely new agreement, testament, and covenant, so that those who are called and offered it may receive the fulfillment of the promised everlasting inheritance--since a death has taken place which rescues and delivers and redeems them from the transgressions committed under the old first agreement  (Leviticus 16:6,16; Numbers 19:9,17,18).  AMP

 

Hebrews 12:24 And to Jesus, the Mediator, go-between, Agent of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks of mercy, a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance  (Genesis 4:10).  AMP

 

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who is the Author and the Giver of peace, who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood that sealed, ratified the everlasting agreement covenant, or testament. 21 Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).  AMP

 

Other related passages include: Leviticus 16:6,16; Numbers 19:9,17,18; Isaiah 55:3; 63:11; Ezekiel 37:26; Zechariah 9:11

 

The Cup of the New Covenant

 

The “cup” of the new covenant in Jesus’ blood refers to guarantee of a better covenant.  Christ is the Mediator of this new covenant, which replaces the old one.  The old covenant was an agreement between God and Israel, though it did not omit the Gentile, but gave them less preeminence.

 

The new covenant makes the first one obsolete, and opens the door of redemption to Jew and Gentile alike.  Faith in the name of Jesus opens the door of salvation to all that have been called to receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

 

To “drink the cup” of this new covenant is another metaphor for believing and receiving it's benefit.  The benefit is eternal life and a cleansed conscience with the purpose TO SERVE.  Service in the new covenant is not by dead works, but by being led of the Spirit.  When Jesus said, "...do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me," he was not instituting the sacrament or promoting the dead works of a 'communion service' (as done in most Christian churches today).

 

Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians, a group of Gentile converts.  A Gentile church, or any Gentile for that matter, (save the few that were proselytes), would not be celebrating the Feast of Passover in the first place!  Gentiles HAD NO POINT OF REFERENCE FOR PASSOVER!  We can be certain then, that Paul was not urging them to do this (Passover) in remembrance of Christ.

 

The celebration of the Feast of Passover was fulfilled in Christ when He shed His blood and became the atoning sacrifice for man's sin.  To return to practicing the ordinances of the Law violates the spirit of the New Testament, which says that those ordinances have become 'obsolete.'

 

The context of 1 Corinthians chapter 11 does not mention any type of symbolic ceremony in which small cups of wine or bits of unleavened bread are used.  In fact, quite the opposite; Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthian church is a critique of their selfish behavior during the meals they shared together (see 1 Corinthians11: 18-22, 27-29, 33-34).

 

Nowhere in the entire New Testament do you find the practice of ritual symbolism being practiced to celebrate the Lord's Supper.  Even 1 Corinthians chapter 10 is dealing with the eating of meat and meals for conscience sake. (see 1 Corinthians10:25-33)

 

Jesus took only ONE CUP and called it THE CUP of the Lord.  After giving thanks, he told his disciples to share the same cup (not hundreds of little plastic cups).  The reason for sharing 'THE CUP' was because it represented the spiritual drink he spoke about in John chapter 6, saying, “drink my blood.”  Drinking the wine during Passover represented personal acceptance of the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

 

There could only be ONE cup because there was only ONE MEDIATOR of the new covenant. Drinking from the cup of the new covenant means accessing the presence of God thru a new and living way, the blood of Jesus.

 

In the context of 1 Corinthians 5: 4, 7-8 we are not to celebrate the feast with the, “old leaven.”  This refers to the former practice of celebrating Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The context distinguishes between the, “old leaven” (yeast) in the bread and the spiritual leaven (hypocrisy & false teaching) in the church.

 

Roman 14:17 says, "For the KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT EATING AND DRINKING, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Again, the context is keeping a good conscience about what we eat and being careful not to stumble our brothers in Christ.

 

Other Verses That Deal With The Breaking Of Bread & Sharing Of Meals In The New Testament

 

Acts 2:42,46 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.  NASU (See also Acts 2:44-45)

 

Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread. NASU.

 

Acts 27:33-36 Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, "Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.  34 Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish."  35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat.  36 All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food.  NASU (Also see Acts 27:37-38)

 

Jude 12a These are hidden reefs… elements of danger in your love feasts, where they boldly feast sumptuously carousing together in your midst, without scruples providing for themselves alone.  AMP

 

Mark 8:14 And they had forgotten to take bread; and did not have more than one loaf in the boat with them.   NAS

 

Matthew 15:36 And He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples in turn, to the multitudes. NAS

 

 

Luke 9:13-17 But He said to them, "You give them something to eat!"  And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people."  14 For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, "Have them recline to eat in groups of about fifty each."   15 And they did so, and had them all recline.  16 And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the multitude.  17 And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full.  NAS

 

Final Thoughts on Communion & the Lord’s Supper

 

the word koinonia means a having something in common, partnership, and fellowship. The context of 1 Corinthians chapter 10 says we cannot participate in a sharing of the blood of Christ, or have true fellowship with His body if we have willing disregard for others.

 

Sharing in the blood of the new covenant cleanses our conscience from dead works to SERVE the living God.  If we do not serve the very least of Christ's brethren, we cannot share the body and blood of the Lord. 

 

Jesus' gave His life by shedding His blood upon the cross, so we ought also to lay down our lives for one another, following His example. This is done in simple every day ways, such as considering the feelings and conscience of those who would be affected by our behavior.   Koinonia, or communion, is always associated with an attitude of giving to others and preferring them in honor.

 

Text Box: The Last Supper was really the final celebration of the Passover Feast.The Last Supper was really the final celebration of the Passover Feast.  The Passover Feast was part of the Law, or the old covenant under Moses.  Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant, and he called the Passover dinner wine, “My blood of the covenant," and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood."

 

 The old covenant was a dead letter, but the new covenant is one that gives life. The old covenant was written on tablets of stone, but the new covenant is written upon the fleshly tablets of our hearts in order that we might become living epistles, read and known of all men.

 

The old covenant has been done away; it is obsolete.  Therefore Jesus cannot be commanding us to repeat the practice of breaking the Passover bread and sharing the Passover cup of wine, since these items can clearly be seen to represent spiritual truths.  Passover was part of the statutes in the Law; it is part of the old covenant.

 

Earlier in the study we learned that the 'bread' is used metaphorically in other texts to refer to Christ's spiritual body, and to His own flesh in which He condemned sin. We learned that the 'wine' speaks of the blood of the new covenant, replacing the old covenant. We conclude that when Jesus said, "..do THIS as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me," He is referring to our participation (koinonia) or having in common His blood, and drinking is a metaphor for believing in and sharing in His death thru suffering. When we share the blood of Christ, which was shed for our sins, we must do so knowing it is in remembrance of the example He displayed at the Last Supper when He washed the disciples feet, even His enemy Judas Iscariot. When we eat 'this bread' it represents our attitude of sharing and doing good to others, (including our enemies), but particularly to the body of Christ. In the sharing of 'the cup' we all are supposed to drink from it, even as all 12 apostles did, because it is the only source for the forgiveness of sins. As we have been forgiven much in sharing the cup of His blood, we learn to love much by becoming broken in our spirit, and of a contrite heart. By partaking of 'this bread' and 'the cup' in this manner we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes and drinks it 'new' with us in the kingdom of God.

 

In ushering in the new covenant in his blood, Christ also gave a, “new commandment.”  The old covenant in Leviticus 19:18 said, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the lord.”

 

Jesus’ new commandment corresponds to the new covenant, “That you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  This new command was given at the Passover feast (i.e. – last supper), after Jesus finished washing the disciples feet.  He said to them, “I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you... a slave is not greater than his master... I am among you as one who serves.”

 

 The Law told the people WHAT to do, Jesus showed people HOW to do it… by emptying himself, and taking the form of a bond­servant. (READ Philippians 2:3-8)  The true meaning of the Lord's supper is having in common (koinonia) the attitude that was in the Son of God, an following His example. (READ Philippians 3:8-11)

 

Selah

Continued in Part 4


Links to the Entire "Communion” Series:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 


 

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