As many of you know, today is also Passover — the holiday on which the Jews commemorate their deliverance from Egypt. There is a special connection between the Passover of the Jews and the Christian faith because the meal that we refer to as Jesus’ “Last Supper” with his disciples was actually a Passover meal. It was at this last supper that Jesus Christ instituted the ordinance of communion (or the Lord’s supper) and commanded that it be done in remembrance of Him. That communion ordinance is what we are going to celebrate today.
Dr. John MacArthur said, “This final Passover was the first Communion. This is epic, this is massive, this is monumental, this is a turning point in all redemptive history. To put it another way, this evening Jesus brings to an end the Old Covenant and the Old Testament and inaugurates the New Covenant and the New Testament. He goes from Passover, the last legitimate Passover, to the Lord’s table, the first new memorial feast. He ends millennia of a celebration looking back to God’s delivering power in Egypt and inaugurates a new memorial, looking back to the cross and the deliverance far greater accomplished there.”
Now, there is some confusion among believers about “the Lord’s supper.” So, by the grace of God, before we take communion, I want to do some teaching to clear up the confusion that some folks have regarding communion. We are going to start by reading all four passages of Scripture regarding the instituting of the Lord’s Supper.
TEXTS: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32
As we read these passages, I want you to keep these thoughts in mind:
1. Jesus established the Lord’s supper. Matthew 26:26-28 says, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
2. Jesus Christ gave the command to repeat the Lord’s supper. Luke 22:19 says that after Jesus broke the bread, He told His disciples, “this do in remembrance of me.”
3. Jesus Christ must be the person’s Saviour if they are going to receive the Lord’s supper. First Corinthians 11:27 says, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily [in an unworthy manner — having sin in their lives, or being a person who is mocking God by taking communion knowing that they are not saved], shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” In other words, you should not partake of the Lord’s supper if you do not belong to the Lord. If you have not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you should not take communion.
FOUR VIEWS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER, from Dr. Paul Enns (author of “The Moody Handbook of Theology”)
3. The Reformed View
4. The Memorial View