Did Jesus institute Holy Communion?
Did Jesus institute Holy Communion (The Lord's Supper / Eucharist)? In a previous article we looked at how Jesus started a spiritual movement and not a religion. What then about Holy Communion that is practiced as a ritual meal (a sacrament in most churches and an ordinance in others)?
As with so many other teachings of Jesus, I believe that the Lord's Supper has been replaced by tradition and silly religious practices.
Before we take a look at the 'institution of Holy Communion' in the Bible, we need to look at this principle of 'eating and drinking' Jesus.
I am the Living Bread that came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread [believes in Me, accepts Me as Savior], he will live forever. And the Bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh (body).” Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat? - John 6:52-52 (AMP)This teaching was so strange and weird to the disciples of Jesus that many of his disciples stopped following Him (John 6:66).
The principle is simple but also complex and powerful. Just like when you eat something, what you eat becomes part of you and gives you life - so Jesus needs to become part of who we are - give us life. Just as what we eat is scarified so that we can live, so Jesus was sacrificed so that we can live.
Jesus was preparing His disciples for this - those who could handle it (that stayed with Him) - when it was time (His last supper with them) - He told them - now is the time - Eat and Drink of Me!
That brings us to the verses that is used as the institution of Holy Communion:
Now as they were eating Jesus took bread, and after [a]blessing it, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and [b]given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the [new and better] covenant, which [ratifies the agreement and] is being poured out for many [as a [c]substitutionary atonement] for the forgiveness of sins. - Matthew 26:26-28 (AMP)In Luke the words are added 'Do this in remembrance of Me.
And when He had taken bread and 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. - Luke 22:19 (AMP)This is so powerful - so important. This is the new covenant - not one based on laws and rituals but on Jesus!
Why then turn it into a ritual - something that belongs to the old covenant?
Read the verses above again. If it was a religious ritual that was instituted by Jesus, He would have given us detailed instructions - once a week - once a month - what food to use - by whom, etc.
He didn't give us detailed instructions. Instead, He said, when you eat, when you drink, think of Me. Remember Me. Remember this important spiritual principle that you share in my Body, in My death, in My resurrection, in My Life.
The Lord's Supper is not a silly ceremonial thing in a fancy building performed by men dressed in funny looking dresses. It is friends (family in Jesus Christ) coming together for a meal.
Not as part of a weekly 'Christian meeting', just friends having a good time. Then, at some point during the conversation, Jesus is mentioned. They remember Him, talk about Him, share their love for Him. Share the love they have for each other. Know that even though everyone is a unique individual in that room, they all share this common meal - they all share Jesus Christ. They remember that just as this meal gives life, Jesus gives life.