As Christians today look for meaning in Lord’s Supper, it’s helpful to exam the meal’s significance relating to three concepts–past, present, and future. Here are three things to think about the next time you take communion.
First, the Lord’s Supper is a time of remembrance and Eucharist.
Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24, 25). This is not to be so much our dwelling on the agonies of the crucifixion as it is to be our remembering the marvelous life and ministry of our Savior. The Eucharist is to be an occasion for expressing our deepest praise and appreciation for all Jesus Christ has done for us. Just as one step in the Jewish Passover meal was to proclaim the Hebrews’ deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12:26, 27), so in the Lord’s Supper Christians proclaim their deliverance from sin and misery through the death of “Christ, our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7; 11:26).
Second, the Supper is a time of refreshing and communion.
As we participate in the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection life (Rom. 5:10; 1 Cor. 10:16), we are actually being nourished and empowered from the risen Christ through the Spirit. John Wesley knew of this strengthening. On the average, he received communion every four or five days throughout his long and fruitful ministerial career. It is not that God cannot empower us without the Lord’s Supper, but that He has instituted the Supper for us, even as He has designated prayer and the hearing of Scripture as means of communicating His grace. While the Bible does not tell us how often to observe the Eucharist, Wesley’s guideline—“as often as you can”—deserves our serious consideration.
Third, the Supper is a time of recommitment and anticipation.
We are to examine (literally “prove” or “test”) ourselves and partake in a worthy manner (1 Cor. 11:28, 29). In so doing we renew our dedication to Christ and His people, in hopeful anticipation “till He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). After Christ’s return we shall partake with Him—in His physical presence—in the kingdom (Matt. 26:29).