It was an event referred to as `The Last Supper’, `The Lord’s Supper’, or the new covenant. It was during the last meal Jesus had with his disciples before he was betrayed, arrested, tried, beaten, scourged and crucified.
Some of the different facets of this precious moment were captured in:
- Matthew 26: 26-28 – Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Almost similar account in Mark 14:22-24)
- Luke 22:19-20 – And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
- 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 – For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took 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.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
It was clearly an instruction or command that requires us to act upon. It is a memorial of his sufferings, crucifixion and death on the cross. The unblemished lamb offered as the perfect sacrifice for our deliverance, the atonement of our sins. As described by Matthew Henry, “Our sins were the thorns in Christ’s head, the nails in his hands and feet, the spear in his side. He was delivered to death for our offences.” The Holy Communion, the symbolic practice of which christians will partake the bread and cup as Christ had commanded, to eat `his body’ and drink `his blood’ as a solemn declaration and expression of our belief that we dwell in Christ and Christ in us, we are one with him in suffering, in faith and in truth.
It is disturbing to learn that some had used the Holy Communion as a means for physical healing, health or wealth. I wonder where in this straightforward command was there any inclination or link towards physical healing, health or wealth? If we have to use the term `healing’, it would refer to our deliverance and restoration from spiritual death or decay. Matthew Henry had aptly explained: “Sin is not only a crime for which we were condemned to die, and which Christ purchased for us the pardon of, but it is a disease which tends directly to the death of our souls, and which Christ provided for the cure of. By his stripes, that is, the sufferings he underwent, he purchased for us the Spirit and grace of God, to mortify our corruptions, which are the distempers of our souls; and to put our souls in a good state of health, that they may be fit to serve God, and prepare to enjoy him.”
`In Remembrance of Me’ means to remember what Christ has done for us each time we partake of the Holy Communion. Period. Our personal reflection or response to this should be on our spiritual condition, such as how we have been following, obeying and doing his will in our lives.
I pray O Lord that our lives will bring glory to Your Name and thank You for giving us this freedom from sin and death so that we are able by Your mercy and grace to live in joyful obedience to Your will. Amen.