Communion connects us to the Passover, and the perfect spotless Lamb that was sacrificed to free us from death to live a new life of hope.
On the first Sunday of the month we have a special rite, or ordinance that we participate in as a church. We call it Communion. To someone who has never been to a church it may seem eerie or the same purpose.
There is bread, there is the fruit of the vine and there is the meaning behind it.
It is customary in our church to read a passage from the NT written by the Apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 11:23 (NLT) 23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread
Whoahhh. I want to stop there. We start here, but this is really the end. We have Paul passing along something that he was taught. It refers to something that took place “on the night when Jesus was betrayed...”
We need to go back in time from Paul’s writing - about 20 years or so. To that night.
Luke 22:14–20 (NLT) 14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins...”
Whoahhhh. Jesus is having a meal with his disciples, but that meal is very significant, and Jesus will bring that out. BUT, that means we need to back track again, this time about over 1400 years back!
Let’s go there together. The book of Exodus. CHAPTER 12
The Israelites are in bondage to the Egyptians, for about 400 years. They have been beaten and abused while enslaved. For hundreds of years they cried out for deliverance from their bondage. God answers, in his perfect time.
The beginning talks about God calling Moses to lead his people. (chapters 1-6)
The next section of the book demonstrates God’s power over the things man cannot control. He sends a series of plagues on the Egyptians (chapters 7-12).
The last plague proved that God had the power of life and death in his hands, and that only those that found his favor and obeyed his commands would be spared from death.
This is where we pick up with the Passover. Let’s read it together.
Exodus 12:3–14 (NLT) - 3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. 4 If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. 5 The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. 6 “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and top of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the animal. 8 That same night they must roast the meat over a fire and eat it along with bitter salad greens and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat any of the meat raw or boiled in water. The whole animal—including the head, legs, and internal organs—must be roasted over a fire. 10 Do not leave any of it until the next morning. Burn whatever is not eaten before morning. 11 “These are your instructions for eating this meal: Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover. 12 On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the Lord! 13 But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 “This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord. This is a law for all time.
On this day, the Passover was established – the day that Death passed over the Israelites and they were given their freedom from bondage n Egypt.
Let’s fast forward to Jesus again...
Mark 14:12 (NLT) On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?”
ASK: Why did God choose this particular event, this meal, to be the last one that Jesus would spend with his followers before his death?
Because it was a TYPE, Typology – it typified and even foreshadowed what Jesus was going to do. 1400 years before Jesus died, God demonstrated to the Jews what the messiah would be like. He would be the perfect lamb sacrificed, a bread without yeast, without sin.
1 Corinthians 5:7b (NLT) Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.
John 6:48–51 (NLT) Yes, I am the bread of life! 49 Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. 50 Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
Let me fast forward you past the meal with the disciples, past Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, to today. We celebrate Communion to remember “the Passover”. But not the events of the Exodus from Egypt where the Jews were spared from death, freed from slavery and began their journey to the promised land.
We celebrate the Passover that Jesus, the spotless lamb, the sinless bread of life, provided for every person who would believe in him.
The passing over of God’s judgement, sparing us from death that we deserve, freeing us from the bondage of sin and beginning our journey to a land that is promised to all who believe – HEAVEN, where an eternity will be spent in the presence of the one who loved us enough to buy our freedom with his life.
Today, as we celebrate, stop and think. Think about what Paul is telling us to celebrate... let’s go back to Paul’s words as we prepare to share in this celebration together.
1 Corinthians 11:23–26 (NLT) 23 For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24 and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
As we celebrate this special commemoration today, we remember and reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus that he willingly made for you and me to free us from death and bondage to sin – to a life of promise and hope, trusting him.