I believe in the sacrament of Holy Communion and that is why I am participating in its observance Thursday evening. Celebrating Holy Communion is not a criteria for getting saved but rather something we do after we are saved to bring back into remembrance all that was accomplished through the sufferings and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Different denominations have different rules and formats for celebrating Communion. Some only allow the priests to actually partake of the sacraments. Some only allow members of their church or denomination to participate. Some celebrate Communion weekly while others only around Easter.
For those participating in Communion, some are deeply moved by it and receive great healing and peace. For others it is simply more motions to go through in their religious experience. For those who understand what Communion is REALLY all about, it can be and many times IS a life changing experience.
The last night Jesus was with his twelve disciples, he had what has been called "The Last Supper", which was in fact the Passover meal. During this time He taught them about humility and many other things recorded in John 13 and 14. As the disciples were eating, Jesus stopped them and shared with them the following from Mark 14:22-24:
"And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed and brake it, and gave to them, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body"
And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them; and they all drank of it.
And He said unto them, "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
It is important to understand the truth of what happened that night and not what has been portrayed in movies and paintings. Jesus and the men were celebrating the Passover meal. They were eating and drinking as they normally would at that time. Suddenly Jesus stands up and took some bread blessed it and broke it. He then passed the bread around and told the disciples to eat it saying "this is my body" or "this is my body broken for you" in Luke's account.
Later, he takes the cup and after he gave thanks, he gave the disciples the cup and they passed it around drinking of it. That was it folks. There were no special candles nor was there a famous artist there painting the whole scene. Jesus and the disciples were sharing a very important meal and Jesus chose that time to help them understand the significance of what was to come.
Many years later, as the Last Supper tradition was passed down to believers, some strange things started taking place. None were stranger than what was going on in Corinth. Starting in 1 Corinthians 10:15 and continuing off and on through chapter 11:34; Paul tries to get the believers to understand what Holy Communion is and is not. There was obviously much wrong teaching in Corinth regarding many things, including Communion.
The first important truth Paul tells the believers is found in 1 Corinthians 10:16:
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
The cup of blessing is the communion of the blood of Christ and the broken bread is the communion of the body of Christ. The word communion is the Greek word "koinonia" which simply means to "to share fully in". Communion is supposed to be a time to share fully of the blood and body of Christ. It is supposed to be a time to share fully in the healing that comes through His broken body and the New Testament of forgiveness and redemption in His blood.
The Corinthians had turned Communion into a time to offer sacrifices to idols and share fully with devils. Furthermore, they had turned Communion into a feast somewhat along the lines of what we now call a "pot luck supper". They all brought food and wine and pretty much had a big party and called it "communion". Obviously this was not what Jesus had in mind when he first did communion with his disciples the night before His death.
After giving commandments as to the proper way that Communion is to be done, Paul states emphatically in 1 Corinthians 11:26-30:
"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till He come.
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
The truth of the matter is very simple. If Communion is not done correctly or if it is abused in any way, the result will be weakness, sickness and premature death among believers. Partaking of the Lord's Supper is not something to be taken lightly. It is to be done with the utmost of seriousness while forcing the mind to try and understand what our Lord Jesus went through and did for us two thousand years ago.
When properly observed, incredible physical healing can and has taken place during Communion. During the process of remembering the broken body of our Lord, many times believers have received the mental or physical healing Jesus allowed His body to be broken for. Many times as the cup is received, believers have been able to forgive themselves or others and thus receive the beautiful blessings that come with forgiveness.
Receiving Communion correctly allows a believer to become stronger and manifest the healing that is ours as a result of the stripes he received. More than anything else, Communion brings the heart and mind into remembrance of Jesus Christ and all He did for us which in turn allows us to do more and more for His cause. I pray this communion coming up this week will be a time of incredible healing, forgiveness and peace as we remember the finished redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ.