This edition of “Whatcha’ Preaching” we will answer the question of why we celebrate communion, but it will read slightly different from normal.
This week is a little different. For more than one reason, we plan on keeping the children in the sanctuary with the adults. Normally they have children’s church where we teach them and worship with them on their level, but today we will allow them to stay with us and we will answer a question that God warned Moses he would have to answer one day.
In Exodus 12:23-27 the Bible tells us:
For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
Notice that the Lord tells Moses that one day the kids would ask why on New Year’s Eve did they always eat roasted lamb with flatbread and bitter herbs. The kids would ask what the Passover meant did they celebrate it?
While the Passover isn’t the Lord’s Supper, the two have many similarities. One of which is the fact that the Passover served as a type or shadow of the Lord’s Supper. It ultimately pointed to Christ and the new covenant He would establish by His death, burial and resurrection.
The Passover meal mirrors the modern day Lord’s Supper and when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper we regularly entertain questions from little ones about the bread and grape juice.
Mommy, why can’t I have some? or Dad, I want to drink out of a little cup too. Why can’t I?
Instead of just saying, “It’s communion. You’ll understand when you get older…” let’s try to teach our little ones today about communion and why we celebrate it.
Why do we celebrate communion?
- Jesus commanded us to celebrate it. We really don’t need any more of any answer than this one. As far as the Christian life goes, we should be able to say this about anything we do. But, more importantly we have his express words in more than one of the gospels and in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians. In verses 23-25 Paul writes, “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, ‘That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.'” Jesus told his disciples to celebrate the new covenant or promise that he made with them by remembering his death. The way that he told them to do it was by eating unleavened bread and drinking from the fruit of the vine.
- It reminds us. Jesus didn’t command us to do something just to see if we would do it or not. No, as we read in 1 Cor. 11:24 we understand that he wanted us to remember him. Celebrating communion causes us to remember the great sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us. It causes us to remember his suffering and his pain, but it also causes us to remember his love and compassion. It reminds us that we are not alone when we are sad or rejected, but that we always have a friend nearby. If we really think about what Jesus means to us, celebrating communion will make us consider our past, our present as well as our future. It should remind us that we once were lost and dead in our trespasses and sins and that Christ is our Savior. It should remind us that we are presently forgiven by this same Savior and that he is preparing a place for us so that one day we can live with him for all of eternity.
- It unites us. We only celebrate the Lord’s Supper together with the church. We don’t do it at home or alone by ourselves. We can look around and see that we are participating in something that is more important than just one person. We are part of Christ’s church, celebrating what he did for the church. Ephesians 5:25 says that, “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” The first Lord’s Supper was a feast. It had more than just bread and juice and had more than just one person or family present. Jesus gathered a group of friends together to unite them and to tell them that after he was gone, they needed to continue to come together and remember Him. We only get baptized once and with that baptism we let everyone know that we want to follow Jesus, but trusting Jesus for salvation and following him in baptism, we come over and over again to celebrate His communion because it is something that we do as a church.