Holy Communion: What does it mean to me?
The Lord Jesus instituted the Holy Communion the night before his death on the cross. The bread which he broke, had to become a reminder to His children that his body had been broken for them before and on the cross. The wine had to remind them of his blood which was shed for them by the crown of thorns, the whipping by the Roman soldiers, the nails through his hands and feet, and the spear. 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 describes the institution of the Holy Communion in detail. What is its purpose?
1. A feast of remembrance: It is just like an anniversary or birthday. The church celebrates Holy Communion to remember the love of Christ as demonstrated on the cross of Calvary (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord wants us to celebrate Holy Communion
so that we may remember - so that we don't forget His wonderful love.
2. It is a feast where we testify: The Feast of the Passover lamb is described in the Old Testament. The Passover festival had to remind the Israelites about that night when God smote the firstborn of the Egyptians, but passed over the houses of the Israelites because the blood of Passover lambs was on the
doorposts, the night when God led His people out of Egypt. Moses told the people that when they celebrated Passover and their children asked them: "What does this ritual mean?" they should tell them that "it is the sacrifice of Passover to honour the Lord, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt" (Exodus 12:14-16; 26-27). The church celebrates Holy Communion to testify about the saving power of the "Passover Lamb" of God (Jesus).
3. It is a feast where we communicate: We cannot be secret believers. We are members of the church of the Lord. We celebrate Holy Communion together with other believers - we eat and drink together. We confess, at the Holy Communion, what we confess with our lips every Sunday: I believe in the Holy catholic church; the communion of saints.
But we communicate with Jesus too. We know, although we cannot see Him, that he is at the head of the table. We eat the bread and drink the wine as symbols that we are united to the Head of the church, Jesus. In our hearts we say to Him: Lord, we belong to you.
I don't think it is
necessary to discuss the whole feast in detail, except to stress an important element in Holy Communion, namely that the Word (the preaching or reading of the Bible) and the Sacrament (in this case the Holy communion) are intertwined. The Holy Communion and the Word go together. That is why we celebrate Holy Communion in the congregation, in church.