As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”
And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Jesus, who would soon be the final Passover lamb, ate the traditional Passover meal with his disciples in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem. During the meal they partook of the bread and wine, which would be the elements of future Communion celebrations, and then they went out to the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.
Each name we use for this sacrament brings out a different dimension to it. It is the Lord’s Supper because it commemorates the Passover meal Jesus ate with his disciples; it is the Eucharist (thanksgiving) because in it we thank God for Christ’s work for us; it is Communion because through it we commune with God and with other believers.
The old covenant was a shadow of the new (Jeremiah 31:31; Hebrews 8), pointing forward to the day when Jesus himself would be the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin. Rather than an unblemished lamb slain on the altar, the perfect Lamb of God was slain on the cross, a sinless sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven once and for all. All those who believe in Jesus receive that forgiveness.
Each time you eat the bread and take the cup, you can be quietly reflective as you recall Jesus’ death and his promise to return to earth. You don’t have to wait until you take Communion, however, to honor Jesus. What feelings or thoughts come to mind now as you think of Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s forgiveness? How do you honor God for his provision?