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To find the beginning of the communion meal, we have to understand the completion of the Passover meal of the Old Covenant. It was the fulfillment of the bread and wine of the Old Covenant that made the way for us to partake of the true bread and wine of the New Covenant. Let’s examine the true elements of the communion table. An account of what Jesus did for presenting communion can be found in Luke 22:14-20 and Matthew 26:26-29:
Luke 22:15-20 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”
The setting of the communion table was one of friendship, fellowship, and life! Jesus and His disciples were not just eating a meal. They had come together to partake of a spiritual fulfillment. This particular meal was to testify of the fulfillment of the Passover meal, once for all. It marked the crucifixion of Christ to become the Lamb slain for all the sins of the world. It also marked the beginning of the increase of the body of Christ. It was the fulfillment of the testimony of God’s life for the entire world! The disciples didn’t know this, but Jesus was well aware of the significance of this time together. The bread at the table was not just any bread. It was the unleavened bread of the Passover meal. It was like every portion of bread made for every Passover meal to that date in time. It was made in the same way, and it looked the same as every previous illustration. However, Jesus saw this bread in its reality. He took it, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples. As He did, He said some profound words: “Take, eat; this is My body.” The bread before them was a shadow of the true body who stood in their midst. The bread of the Passover meal was only a shadow, but the Man standing in their midst was the real thing! He was the Man of heaven who cast a shadow into the past to reveal that He was the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world (Rev. 13:8). I believe Jesus’ statement was an invitation. I believe Jesus was saying, “Do you know what this bread really is? It has been sitting at this meal hundreds of times! Did you know that it is not just bread baked with a particular recipe? It is bread that has specifically and precisely represented Me. It is a shadow on the ground of My reality in heaven, but I have good news for you! Here I am! This bread is My body, but here I stand in bodily form. Receive My gift, take Me into your heart, become part of Me. Let’s transition the bread from picture form to a flesh and bone reality! Come, be a part of My living body.” This was the meal that Jesus had fervently longed for. This was the final meal of the shadow and the beginning of reality for the Bread of Life sent down from heaven! The completion of this meal would be the suffering of Christ and it would lead to full communion of the body of Christ.
Jesus took the cup. It was likely the third cup of the Passover celebration. It was the cup of Redemption and Blessing. It was the type and shadow of His shed blood for the redemption of all men. It represented the life of the flesh, as the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). Jesus was ready to give the fullness of His sinless life for the fullness of the sinful flesh of the world. The qualifier of this transaction was not the goodness of mankind. It was the goodness and love of the Man Jesus Christ. He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples saying, “Drink from it, all of you” (Mt. 26:27). Luke’s account says that Jesus told them to “divide it among themselves.” This was the ‘once for all’ cup of Redemption for all men. Jesus revealed that this cup was not the wine that they supposed. The cup of Redemption was the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In His death, all men can find the fulfillment of their death. It was the completion of the wages of sin, for the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus drank the fullness of that cup by shedding His blood upon the cross. This Passover meal was the final meal of its kind. It was the last of the shadow meals. Jesus became the real deal when He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. He became our Peace through His death upon the cross. The stripes upon His back attained healing for each and every member of the body of Christ (Isa. 53:5). Jesus told them all to drink this cup. He was saying, “I am about to complete this cup, once for all. It is for you, Judas! It’s for you, Peter! It’s for all of you guys who will wrestle with being faithful to Me! It is a demonstration of My faithfulness to you. I am going to complete this. I have identified with you in your meal, now I am going to make a way for you to identify with Me in My meal. The next time we drink this cup, it will be fulfilled in the kingdom of God (Lk. 22:18). We will never again drink it like this. The next time we drink it, it will be new in the kingdom of My Father (Mt. 26:29). I am making a way for you to drink the true cup of Praise (the completion of the earthly cups of the Passover meal). I am making a way for us to drink the cup of the Spirit together. I am going to willingly drink the cup of Redemption by My shed blood for you, so that we can drink the cup of Resurrection Life together. It will be the cup of Praise. When you drink the cup of Resurrection, I will drink it with you. By drinking the cup of Resurrection, you will proclaim My death. By partaking of the Bread of the body of Christ and drinking the cup of the Holy Spirit’s life among you, you will release the authority of My fulfillment of the flesh for you. You will live together as the body of Christ, not the flesh of Adam. You will be in Me, and in the Father, and the Father in you, and Me in you!”
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson
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