Sacrament of the Altar
The Sacrament of the Altar, otherwise known as Communion or the Eucharist, is one of the most observed and misunderstood of all of the sacraments. In Communion Jesus Christ gives us Himself to strengthen and preserve us in our journey that we may never have to “walk in darkness” for we have “seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Over the next few posts we will look at the three easy ways we can make the most out of Communion:
- We will examine what is Communion
- What benefits we have from receiving it
- Who is to receive it
What is Communion?
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 26:26-28 WEB
The Sacrament of the Altar is nothing less than the body and blood of Jesus Christ given to us in, with, and under the species of bread and wine.
Let us be very clear. We are not talking about the Roman Catholic belief of Transubstantiation saying that the bread and wine are somehow transformed in its substance. The bread and wine remain exactly what they are, bread and wine. What we mean is that when receiving the elements we also receive the true and very real body and blood of Jesus, not spiritually, but supernaturally. Beyond our ability to perceive or fully understand it.
The reason for this has nothing to do with a special power or righteousness of the priest or pastor, nor anything to do with the faith we bring to the sacrament. It has everything to do with God’s ordinance and command. It is true because, as with baptism and the forgiveness of sins God has promised that it is so. Jesus said in the scriptures that the bread and wine are His body and blood so we may know it to be true:
- Whether we have an unworthy minister, for what minister could ever be worthy
- Whether our faith is weak, for this is the very purpose of Communion to strengthen such faith
- Whether we understand it for even the theologians cannot fully grasp this mystery
Jesus is faithful and His Word will never fail, so the Sacrament is exactly what He promises.
We ask God to bless the cup at the Lord’s supper. When we drink from this cup it means that the blood of Christ is for us all. We break the bread. When we eat this bread, it means that the body of Christ is for us all.
1 Corinthians 10:16 WEB
His gift has been given to us, let us be eager to receive Him.
Today we talked about the first of the three ways we may get the most out of our communion experience. By knowing exactly what it is that we are receiving when we eat the bread and drink from the cup we may appreciate more fully just what Jesus gave up to save us. How can this biblical perspective help Christians today embrace the true consequences of their sin and help them stay away from it?
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Until then, “be a sinner and sin boldly, but let your trust in Christ be stronger”. God love you and keep you. Amen.