The Lord’s Supper, is a meal we eat and drink together. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper as God’s holy ones, saints, gathered together in Christ to eat the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of His death till He comes.
Just prior to His death, Jesus ate the Passover with the 12. During the meal, He turned the old covenant Passover into the prophetic sign of the new covenant, the Lord’s Supper. We partake of this meal with spiritual understanding, for we “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Ro 8:4) by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us (Ro 8:9-11).
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Shortly before delivering His people from 400 years of Egyptian slavery, God gave Moses and Aaron exact instructions to follow for the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
God told them how a Passover lamb was to be selected, prepared and eaten. Some of the lambs blood was to be put on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses. “The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Ex 12:13 HCSB).
God also told them to eat unleavened bread. “You must eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you must remove yeast from your houses. Whoever eats what is leavened from the first day through the seventh day must be cut off from Israel. You are to hold a sacred assembly on the first day and another sacred assembly on the seventh day. No work may be done on those days except for preparing what people need to eat — you may do only that” (Ex 12:15-16 HCSB).
In that setting, Jesus ate the Passover with the 12.
Eat and drink in remembrance of Me
Then the Day of Unleavened Bread came when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.”
When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In Matthew, Jesus also says: “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins” (Mt 26:27b-28 ASV).
Mark also shows the passing of the cup. “And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it” (Mk 14:23 ASV).
Paul shows us our purpose for celebrating the Lord’s Supper. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye proclaim the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor 11:26 ASV).
Lamb bread wine
Behold, the Lamb of God
John the baptist revealed Jesus. “On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29 ASV) “Again on the morrow John was standing, and two of his disciples; and he looked upon Jesus as he walked, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God” (Jn 135-36 ASV!)
Philip was led to the Ethiopian who was reading Isaiah 53:7-8. “And Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some one shall guide me? And he besought Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before his shearer is dumb, So he openeth not his mouth” (Act 8:30-32 ASV)
We are redeemed with “precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ.”
And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear: knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake, who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God. 1 Peter 1:17-21 ASV
For our Passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ: 1 Cor 5:7b ASV
We all partake of the one bread, literally and spiritually.
As we saw above in Exodus 12; God commanded no use of leaven for the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened bread. Leaven is what we know as sourdough. Sourdough makes dough rise. The unleavened bread we eat during the Lord’s Supper is called matzo. When baked, the lump of unleavened dough becomes a loaf of bread.
Jesus broke a loaf of unleavened bread and passed it to His disciples. They broke off a piece and passed it to the next.
The loaf of bread which we break, does it not mean a joint-participation in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf, we who are many are one body; we, all of us, share in that one loaf. 1 Cor 10:16b-17 WNT
Paul exhorted the Corinthians and us to purge out the old leaven in reverence to Christ. “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch. You are indeed unleavened, for Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old yeast or with the yeast of malice and evil but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:6-8 HCSB).
Jesus said to the Jews: “I am the Bread of Life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert, and they died. But this is the Bread coming down from heaven so that anyone may eat it and not die. I am the living Bread that comes down from heaven. If anyone eats this Bread, he will live forever. The bread I’ll give to bring life to the world is My flesh.”
Then the Jews argued with one another: “How can He give us His flesh to eat?”
“‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered them, ‘unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you don’t have any life in you. If you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have everlasting life, and I will raise you on the last day. My flesh is a real food, and My blood is a real drink. If you eat My flesh and drink My blood you stay in Me and I in you. As the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so if you eat Me, you will live because of Me. This is the Bread that came down from heaven. It isn’t like the bread the fathers ate. They died. Eat this Bread, and you live forever’” (Jn 6:48-58 AAT).
During a Passover Supper, four cups of wine were shared. The first cup Jesus took was the cup which was ordinarily taken at the beginning. The second was the cup of blessing, which Jesus blessed (eulogized) and said: “Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins” (Mt 26:27b-28 ASV). Then He passed the cup to them.
The cup of blessing, which we bless, does it not mean a joint-participation in the blood of Christ? 1 Cor 10:16a WNT
Understanding the spiritual nature of the Lord’s Supper and eating and drinking it builds us up inside and strengthens our relationship with the Lord and one another. Thus, we remember our Lord’s death till He comes.
How the Lord’s Supper was celebrated
On the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover, Peter explained to the outpouring of the Spirit to the Jews. On that day, they began celebrating the Lord’s Supper as a love/agape feast, here called breaking bread. These brand new born again by the Spirit baptized believers had been breaking breaking with their own families in their own homes every Sabbath Day. Now, they started breaking bread with fellow saints from house to house.
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:41-47 NASB
The next mention of breaking bread is also in Acts, now on the first day of the week.
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. Acts 20:7 NASB
Paul referred to the Lord’s Supper as the feast. “Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8 NASB). CF: 2 Peter 2; Jude 1.
Paul instructed the early believers and us how to participate in the body and blood of Christ and in the visible body of Christ (1 Cor 10-14).
Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts , but rather that ye may prophesy.
What is it then, brethren? When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Cor 14:1; 1 Cor 14:26
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 1 John 4:7-15 KJV