Jesus gathered his disciples for dinner, which is called the Holy Communion, on the night before he was crucified:
‘And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’ Matthew 26:26-28 (NKJV)
He instructed his disciples to observe the Holy Communion in his remembrance. Apostle Paul also reminds us in 1 Cor. 11:26. Therefore, believers regularly perform this ceremony in the church or fellowship groups. The elements of Holy Communion are bread and wine or grape juice, and there are different ways of doing the Holy Communion. First, the pastor, an elder, or a group leader reminds participants why they observe the Holy Communion and encourages everyone to partake. Then he breaks the unleavened bread into small fragments, prays for the bread, and participants eat a piece of the broken bread together. Then the leader or pastor prays for the wine or the grape juice, and participants drink from it.
There are different orders in doing the Holy Communion. For example, one church may pour wine into one cup, and everyone drinks from it. Another church may pour the wine or the grape juice into several smaller cups and serve. For the wine, we may pray, “Lord, we thank you for your sacrifice on the cross that saved us. This cup of wine resembles your blood that was shed for us.” And for the bread, we may say, “We thank you again for carrying our sins on you so we could be free today. This bread resembles your body that was beaten for us.”
Most churches observe Holy Communion once a month. The pastor or the leaders may take the elements of the Holy Communion to the members and server, or participants walk forward to the altar and take the bread and wine from a tray. Participants take the elements of the Holy Communion and eat and drink them right away or hold them until they hear from the leader to eat and drink together. Leaders are responsible for reminding everyone to examine their hearts and participate with pure motives. The Holy Communion is not just a ritual but caries an important message. Apostle Paul describes it for the people of Corinth:
‘For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.’ 1 Corinthians 11:23-28 (NKJV)
When referring to the body of Christ, we often mean all believers. Symbolically, all believers are parts of one body, and Christ is the head of that body. That is why the church is called the body of Christ. The Scriptures refer to the church not as a building but as the assembly of believers. The church is the community of all Christian brothers and sisters worldwide!
“For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slave or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12–13
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- The church leaders invented the Holy Communion as a ritual.
- As we partake in the Holy Communion, we examine our hearts and motives to be pure and God-honoring.
- False: Jesus commanded his followers to observe the Holy Communion in his remembrance.
- True: The Holy Communion should be taken seriously. We should make right with God, be at peace with our Christian brothers and sisters, and forgive people before partaking in the Holy Communion.