Read Matthew 26:26-28.
What meaning is evident in what Jesus is telling us to do here? Why is it important to see this in terms of symbols?
The Lord’s Supper replaces the Passover festival of the old covenant era. The Passover met its fulfillment when Christ, the Paschal Lamb, gave His life. Before His death, Christ Himself instituted the replacement, the great festival of the New Testament church under the new covenant. Just as the Passover festival commemorated Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the Lord’s Supper commemorates the deliverance from spiritual Egypt, the bondage of sin.
The Passover lamb’s blood applied to the lintel and doorposts protected the inhabitants from death; the nourishment that its flesh provided gave them the strength to escape from Egypt (Exod. 12:3-8). So, Christ’s sacrifice brings liberation from death; believers are saved through the partaking of both His body and blood (John 6:54). The Lord’s Supper proclaims that Christ’s death on the cross provides our salvation, provides our forgiveness, and promises us victory over sin.
Read 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. What important doctrinal truth about the Cross is revealed here?
Here we see, clearly, the substitutionary aspect of Christ death. His body was broken and His blood shed for us; at the cross He took upon Himself what rightly belonged to us. Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we should always remember what Christ accomplished in our behalf.
When you add to the Lord’s Supper the foot-washing, which helps to prepare our hearts before we partake of the Communion service, we should also get a sense of the communal nature of this ordinance.
With the Cross so vividly symbolized through the partaking of the bread and wine, we are reminded that whatever earthly things divide us, we are all sinners in constant need of grace. The Communion service should help us all to realize our obligations, not just to the Lord but to one another, as well.