is the Holy Communion?
Communion is a sacrament in which believers partake of the bread and the cup of
the Lord Jesus—which are His body and blood—in remembrance of His death (Lk
22:14–20; cf. 1 Cor 11:23–26). In the Bible, the Holy Communion is
referred to variously as “the Passover” (Lk 22:13, 15), “the Lord’s Supper” (1
Cor 11:20), “the Lord’s table” (1 Cor 10:21) and “the breaking of bread” (Acts
Q2 Where, in the Bible, is it recorded that Jesus
four biblical passages that record Jesus’ institution of the Holy Communion: 1)
Mt 26:26–29; 2) Mk 14:22–25; 3) Lk 22:14–20; 4) 1 Cor 11:23–26.
account in Matthew, we learn that Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and
gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Mt 26:26).
Next, He took the cup, gave thanks and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For
this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission
of sins” (Mt 26:27–28). His words, “My blood of the new covenant”, describe the
role of His blood in forging a new relationship
between God and ourselves.
Q3 What are the differences between the Holy
Communion and the Old Testament Passover?
institution of the Holy Communion during His final Passover meal with the
disciples marked an important transition: He turned a Passover meal belonging
to the old covenant into the Holy Communion, belonging to the new covenant.
Under the old, the Jews observed the Passover with an unblemished lamb (Ex
12:3–11, 27); under the new, Jesus became the Paschal lamb who was sacrificed
for us (1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pet 1:18–19). His blood was the basis of the “better
covenant” (Heb 8:6). Hence, when Jesus took the cup, He said, “This cup is the
new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Lk 22:20; cf. 1 Cor
Q4 Can the cup remove our sins?
Communion cup contains the blood of Jesus which marks a new covenant. The Bible
does not teach us that the forgiveness of sins comes from drinking it; rather,
it comes from our being washed in the blood of Jesus through water baptism
(Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Jn 5:6, 8; Rev 1:5).
Q5 What materials should we use for the Holy
the example set by Jesus, we should use one unleavened bread (1 Cor 5:8; 10:17)
and one cup containing the “fruit of the vine”, which is grape juice (Mt
26:29). The absence of leaven (yeast) in both the bread and the cup is
spiritually significant: leaven symbolizes “malice and wickedness” (1 Cor
5:8)—qualities that can never be associated with the Lord. This is because
Jesus was “a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet 1:19; cf. Heb 9:14).
Q6 What is the nature of the bread and cup?
significant that when Jesus took the bread, He said, “This is My body” (Mt 26:26), and when He took the cup, He said, “This is My blood” (Mt 26:28). From these
words, we understand that the bread and the cup cannot be regarded as mere
symbols: after consecration, they become the body and blood of Christ by the
power of the Holy Spirit and the word of the Lord.
Q7 What blessings are associated with the Holy
partake of the Holy Communion, we are assured of a number of blessings:
• Communion with the Lord. Paul says, “The
cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1
• Spiritual life. Jesus says, “Most
assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink
His blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53); “I am the living bread which
came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and
the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the
world” (Jn 6:51).
• Fellowship. Paul says, “For we, being
many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor
10:17); “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of
one another” (Rom 12:5).
• Resurrection on the last day. Jesus
says, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will
raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54). When we partake of the Holy Communion,
we have the hope that we will be raised up on the last day with a glorious
spiritual body, to be like the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 15:42–53; Phil 3:20–21).
Q8 What is the significance of the Holy Communion?
Communion enables us to:
• Remember the Lord’s death. Jesus
says, “Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in
remembrance of Me” (1 Cor 11:24); “This cup is the new covenant in My
blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor 11:25).
In our lives, we should always be mindful of the Lord’s grace, and the
Holy Communion offers us a regular opportunity for reflection. By observing it,
we allow God’s love to touch us continually. In this way, we can become
like Paul, who was able to say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no
longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the
flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”
• Proclaim the Lord’s death. Paul says,
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s
death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26). Jesus died for the sins of mankind. By
keeping the Holy Communion, we are declaring to everyone their need to believe
in Jesus, to be reconciled to God and to be saved by the life of Christ (Rom
• Keep our covenant with God. Jesus says,
“This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Lk 22:20).
God had previously made a covenant with the ancient Israelites, but they failed
to honour it, with the result that He disregarded
them (Heb 8:9). However, God spoke of a new covenant through which He would
take away man’s sin (Rom 11:27). This covenant was later established though the
blood of Jesus Christ. Today, we can enter into it through water baptism.
Thereafter, we have a duty to keep the covenant faithfully: if we sin again wilfully, we will be despising the blood of Jesus that has
sanctified us (Heb 10:26, 29).
• Anticipate the Lord’s second coming.
When we partake of the Holy Communion, we are anticipating His second coming (1
Cor 11:26). Jesus says, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of
the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s
kingdom” (Mt 26:29). These words encourage us to remain alert and to prepare
for that day.
Q9 Are there prescribed times for holding it?
Many denominations have a tradition
of holding the Holy Communion specifically on Sundays and also during their
Easter season. However, this is not taught in the Bible; it simply states that
we should hold this sacrament on a regular basis: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the
Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26).
Does the “breaking of bread” recorded in Acts 2:42 refer to the Holy Communion?
Bible, the “breaking of bread” refers to two things, depending on the
context: a fellowship meal and the Holy Communion. Examples of those contexts
that indicate a fellowship meal include the Lord’s breaking of bread with two
believers in Emmaus (Lk 24:28–31); the early Christians breaking bread from
house to house (Acts 2:46–47); Paul breaking bread with the believers in Troas
(Acts 20:7); Paul breaking bread with his travelling companions during a storm
at sea (Acts 27:35–36).
is good reason to believe that the breaking of bread mentioned in Acts 2:42
refers to the Holy Communion. It reads: “And they continued steadfastly in the
apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and
in prayers.” Here, the specific context is the religious life of the
early Christians: the breaking of bread is mentioned alongside other matters
directly relating to their faith—keeping the teachings of the apostles,
fellowship and prayer.
matters of context aside, the important point to note is that the early
Christians “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine”, which
would have included the commandment to observe the Holy Communion (Lk 22:19; 1
Cor 11:23–26). Hence, when Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about the
Holy Communion, he addressed them in a manner that indicated their familiarity
with the sacrament (1 Cor 10:16–17; 11:17–34).
can partake of the Holy Communion?
Communion is no ordinary meal. It is a communion or fellowship with the Lord (1
Cor 10:16) and between the believers: “For we, being many, are one bread and
one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor 10:17). Therefore, only
those who have entered into the body of Christ through water baptism (1 Cor
12:13) can partake of it—in the same way that only circumcised Israelites were
allowed to eat of the Passover meal (Ex 12:43).
teaches us to examine ourselves before we partake of the Holy Communion, lest
we be found unworthy and judged for “not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor
11:27–29). He warns us of the possible consequences, which are sickness and
even death (1 Cor 11:30). For this reason, anyone who has committed a mortal
sin—a sin that cannot be forgiven (1 Jn 5:16)—should refrain from it.
With what attitude should we partake of it?
and cup are holy. Anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body of
Christ will be judged (1 Cor 11:29–30). Therefore, we need to adopt the right
attitude, which entails that we:
• Uphold the truth. We do this by
accepting the Bible’s teaching concerning the Holy Communion—to understand that
it is a holy sacrament through which we commemorate and proclaim the Lord’s
death (1 Cor 11:24–26) and receive His spiritual life (Jn 6:54). We should
partake of it in recognition of the truth, lest we “be guilty of the body and
blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27).
• Examine ourselves. Before partaking of
the Holy Communion, we should examine ourselves to determine whether we have a
clear conscience (1 Cor 11:28). Elder John says, “Beloved, if our heart does
not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 Jn 3:21).
• Discern the body and blood of Christ. We
need to understand that we are partaking of the body and blood of Jesus: “For
he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to
himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor 11:29).
should we give thanks for the grace of the Lord?
partaking of the Holy Communion, we should show our gratitude by keeping the
Lord’s commandments, living holy lives and serving Him. We can also learn from
the words of Paul:
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies
to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the
Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end
Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead
and the living.
True Jesus Church.