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. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:26-29 ESV)
Depending upon your church tradition, you either celebrate communion once a week, once a month, or on some other schedule. However, I wonder how many Christians really know the significance of communion, or the Lord’s Supper? I include myself in this query because I fall into the habit of treating the Lord’s Supper as just another ‘thing’ the church does regularly. Why is it that we are called to “do this in remembrance” of him (Luke 22:19)?
Let’s analyze the context of the account. This is the night before Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. It is also the night of the Passover celebration. Jesus is instituting a new covenant on the day of the celebration of the old covenant. Why? Because what we have here is a fulfillment of the old covenant and the establishment of the new covenant; one age is coming to a close and another is dawning. The time of promise is done, the time of fulfillment is at hand. All of these things are occurring at this moment in redemptive history. Furthermore, the Passover marked the most important event in redemptive history from a Jewish perspective. It was the celebration of God’s salvation of the Israelite people from their bondage of slavery to the Egyptians. The culmination of the ten plagues was going to happen and those whose homes were covered with the blood of the paschal lamb were protected from the Angel of Death.