Over the past few years I have heard many Christians say “I have often taken communion and didn’t understand why.” I believe that there are still a great deal of Christians participating in communion with a partial understanding. In simplicity, taking communion is the act of eating and drinking bread and juice, or wine, in faith that represents the body and blood of Jesus. (See Matthew 26:26-28)
When you can grasp the idea of communion it becomes even more powerful, and when you don’t understand it stays as a simple weekly or monthly check the box. Because everything we do as believers is done in faith, a lack of knowledge or lack of belief around communion defeats the purposes of it. Similarly, if you don’t understand the power of prayer then you won’t experience the power of prayer. People everywhere eat bread every day and nothing special happens, so everything hinges on the faith we take the bread and wine of communion with. The power lies fully in our belief.
One of my favorite passages that shows us the power of communion is in the Old Testament in Exodus 12-
“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you” Exodus 12:13
The blood of a lamb placed on their house kept the people of Israel safe from a plague. Today the blood of Jesus, The Lamb of God, provides protection over our life.
Then in 1 Corinthians 11:24 we read a powerful scripture regarding the bread-
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Jesus show us exactly what happened to His body, it was broken for us. Just as He broke the bread He gave Himself to be broken. Jesus was broken for our wholeness. Jesus willingly suffered so we wouldn’t need to. Often times we feel like we’re stuck in difficult situations and have no control. Jesus was in the most difficult situation imaginable, He was bearing the sins of the entire world, yet He had all power to get out of it. He made the choice to endure death so we wouldn’t. He chose to be beaten and bruised for our healing. Communion is a time to remember this in a world is full of distractions.
This story can help put communion in a new perspective, making it easier to remember: There is a great story about a father, his son, and a judge. The son is out with his friends and he ends up making a huge mistake. Not just any mistake, this is something serious, something even deserving of death. The son quickly runs home and full of fear and shame tells his dad everything that happened, but the damage had already been done. The father knew there was nothing that could be done, there was witnesses and undeniable evidence against his son.
The father and son soon went to court to see how the son would be punished for his crime. The father came to court knowing the severity of his son’s mistake. The judge said “I’m sorry, but the punishment for this crime is death.” The father and son try to take all of this in, and as they look at each other somberly the father has a plan. He tells the judge “I will die. I will take my son’s place in death.”
That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23). Jesus died the death that we legally deserved due to our sins. We committed the sin and He paid the price. God did not disregard our sin because He is a just Judge, instead He took our place. Communion is powerful because it reminds us of the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Communion reminds us of the sacrifice made, how God’s wrath and judgement were extinguished on the cross. This impossible exchange was made, our sin for His right standing with God. Our brokenness exchanged for Jesus’ perfection. Now, when we take communion we remember what happened on the cross 2000 years ago. We are reminded that the body of Jesus was broken for us, and His blood was spilled, so that we can live in completion and that the power of death would need to pass over us.
Communion goes much deeper than a sip of wine and bite of bread. It is the wine that perfects us. In the Old Testament the blood of animals would cover some sins, for a period of time. The blood of Jesus removes our sins completely, forever. In Hebrews 10 the writer explains that the sacrifices made by priests every year were a reminder of inescapable sin, communion is a reminder of our victory in Christ and freedom from sin.
The bread, the body of Jesus is a reminder of our healing. Jesus bore our sins in His physical body. Now because of that our physical bodies can receive healing. When you take the bread of communion you take the promise made that “by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24. When we eat the bread of communion we receive the full and complete healing that Jesus paid for with His own body.
You don’t need to wait until Sunday morning to take communion. You can take communion every day. You can wake up and bring to memory everything that Jesus paid for with His blood and body.