Of The Holy Communion
The Holy Communion Is Established by the Lord
The last supper was prepared during the Passover
feast Jesus kept with his disciples, which was the night of Jesus’ betrayal (Lk
The Holy Communion was instituted by the Lord
Jesus at the Passover feast (Lk 22:19–20). The bread in Luke 22:19 is the bread
of Holy Communion, and the cup in Luke 22:20 is the cup of Holy Communion.
After having been blessed by the Lord, the bread and the cup became the
sacrament of Holy Communion.
After the Lord had established Holy Communion,
he told the disciples to perform it in remembrance of him (Lk 22:19). For this
reason, the church performs the sacrament of the Holy Communion.
After his ascension, the Lord revealed to Paul
the significance of the Lord’s supper (1 Cor 11:23–25;
cf. Gal 1:11–12).
Significance Of The Holy Communiom
In Memory of the Lord Jesus’ Death
The Passover feast is kept in
remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel from the judgment of death and
Egyptian bondage (Ex 12:21–27, 13:3). The Holy Communion is conducted in
remembrance of Jesus’ suffering and death for our sins (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor
11:24–26). Therefore, before blessing the bread and the cup, a minister should
speak about the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus to move the congregation
with thanksgiving and compel them with the love of Christ.
The Lord Jesus was born in a simple manger and
lived his life in poverty for our sake (Lk 2:6–7, 9:58; 2 Cor 8:9). Jesus was
arrested, scourged, mocked, and spat upon in the face for our transgressions
and iniquities. He wore a crown of thorns and was nailed on a cross, suffering
a bloody and tormenting death (Ps 22:12–16; Mt 27:18–59; Rom 4:25).
Jesus was forsaken by God for our sins, and his
soul went to Hades to taste death (Mt 27:45–52; Acts 2:30–32; Heb 2:9).
Thanks to the grace of God, the chastisement of
our peace is upon Jesus, and by his stripes we are healed (Isa 53:4–6).
The Partakers of the Blood and the Body of the
Lord (1 Cor 10:16)
The breaking of the bread signifies that the
Lord broke his body for us (Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24).
The cup signifies that the Lord shed his blood
for us (Lk 22:20; 1 Cor 11:25).
After having consecrated the bread and cup, they
become the body and the blood of the Lord (Mt 26:26–28; 1 Cor 11:29).
Those who eat the Lord’s flesh and drink his
blood have everlasting life, and they will be raised on the last day (Jn
the sacrament of Holy Communion is a mystery in itself. Paul pointed out the
danger of receiving the Lord’s body and blood unworthily. Some believers became
weak and sick, and some died because they did not discern the significance and
value of the Lord’s body and blood (1 Cor 11:28–30). Therefore, those who
commit sins and feel guilty before God should never partake of the Holy
Communion. Paul drew a contrast of partaking the Lord’s
supper with partaking in food offered to idols. The latter is fellowship
with the devil, while the former is fellowship with the Lord (1 Cor 10:19–22).
Jesus once said, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I
in him” (Jn 6:56). Therefore, Holy Communion is a mysterious and spiritual
communion. By examining and judging ourselves, we partake
the Holy Communion worthily, and we can thus receive the fullness of life. If
we live a life of examination and have Holy Communion with the Lord in a worthy
manner, the Lord will preserve us and resurrect us on the last day. Recognizing
the grace of the Lord, we should partake the Lord’s supper
with full thanksgiving until Jesus comes again.
Performance Of Sacrament Of The Holy Communion
Frequency and Time in the Sacrament of Holy
Some Christians feel the Lord’s
supper need only be held once each year during Passover. They feel that
Holy Communion is mere outward religious form and symbolic ritual, thus
Christians do not need to observe it (cf. Gal 4:10–11). However, the Lord’s supper is commanded by the Lord for his remembrance,
and by it we have spiritual communion with the Lord. It can be held often till
Jesus comes again (1 Cor 11:26).
Disputes over the time of holding the Holy
Communion are unnecessary. Although the Lord was betrayed and took the last
supper during the night, he was crucified in the daytime. We need not set a
fixed date, e.g. Passover, or time, e.g. nights only, for this sacrament.
Sacrament Materials in Holy Communion
In the Old Testament, no leaven
was allowed in the feast of the Passover. Therefore, the Lord undoubtedly used
unleavened bread during the last supper (cf. Lev 23:4–6). Additionally,
according to the Bible, leaven represents evil and corruption (1 Cor 5:7–8; cf.
Mt 16:5–12). Thus, we must take care not to mix leaven in with the bread.
The body of the Lord is only one.
No matter how many members are in the congregation, only one
bread is to be used. The one bread is broken and distributed according
to the number of partakers (1 Cor 10:16–17; Eph 4:4).
Wine is fermented and it cannot
represent the innocent blood of the sinless Lord. While wine is often employed
as a symbol of enjoyment and bounty (cf. Isa 25:6; Jn 2:1–11), it was
prohibited to God’s workers because of its effect in dulling one’s senses in
one’s drunkenness (cf. Lev 10:8, 9; Ezek 44:2; Prov 20:1, 23:29–31). As stated
above, leaven was not allowed during the Passover. “Leaven” usually refers to
highly fermented dough, but “leaven” was also used in reference to the lees in
a bottle of wine, i.e., the sediment on the bottom of a container of wine.
Therefore, in the sacrament of Holy Communion it is not appropriate to use
wine. Had the Lord meant “wine” and not “fruit of the vine,” he could have
easily specified “wine” by saying so. Therefore, the cup of the Lord consisted
of the “fruit of the vine,” namely grape juice, which was unfermented by the
lees or leaven (Mt 26:29; Mk 14:25).
The Holy Communion sacrament is administered, in
principle, by elders, deacons, or preachers, i.e., by the workers sanctified to
God (Ex 30:30).
The sacrament is performed in the name of the
Lord Jesus, because the Lord is Lord of Holy Communion and will be in the midst
of those who gather in his name (Mt 18:20). The church with the Holy Spirit’s
abidance is the kingdom
of God, and Jesus will
commune with the church ever anew in the place where God rules and lives,
namely the Father’s kingdom (Mt 26:29).
After the preaching and remembrance of Jesus
before Holy Communion, the sacred worker in charge of the sacrament should give
thanks and bless the bread with a prayer of understanding in Jesus’ name.
Afterward, the sacred worker should then break the one unleavened bread with
his hands for distribution to the congregation (Mt 26:26). After this is done,
the sacred worker should consecrate the cup similarly to the consecration of
the bread, and then distribute the “cup,” which may be poured into little cups
for convenience to the congregation (Mt 26:27).
Self-Preparation and Attitude Before Partaking
in Holy Communion
Be prepared and holy.
A week or two prior to the date of
the Holy Communion, the congregation is to be informed in advance. This gives
them time to self-examine and prepare themselves mentally and spiritually.
Thus, the partakers should sanctify and ready themselves—to purge out the old
leaven in their life (1 Cor 5:6–8, 10:18–21, 11:27–28).
Discern the significance and value of the Lord’s
body and blood.
Through the Lord’s promise, the
bread and cup become the Lord’s flesh and blood after they are consecrated.
Thus, the partaker must distinguish the Holy Communion from an ordinary eating
meal, lest God execute judgment on those who treat his body and blood lightly
(1 Cor 11:29–30).
Place/Time in Partaking
the Holy Communion.
The congregation should
respectfully and quietly meditate on the Lord’s love when partaking the Lord’s supper—waiting patiently for the bread and cup. The
whole process should be done orderly and within the sacrament premises, usually
the church premises. Never take either the bread or grape juice outside of the
sacrament premises—the sacrament elements must be taken at one place (1 Cor
10:16–17, 11:33; cf. Ex 12:46). Do not leave the elements till the next morning
(cf. Ex 12:10). Thus, the general principle is the
congregation should partake in one place at “one sitting,” i.e., not leaving
the sacrament elements until morning.
Those who are not baptized should not partake in
Holy Communion. Additionally, believers who have committed any mortal sins must
not partake in the sacrament (cf. Ex 12:42, 45; Ezra 2:62–63; 1 Cor 11:27–30).
Christian Life After Partaking in Holy Communion
We must begin to live for the Lord Jesus,
because he died for us (Rom 14:7–8; 2 Cor 5:14–15).
We must lead a sanctified and holy life, i.e.,
an “unleavened” life. Just as recorded in the Old Testament, God’s chosen kept
the feast of unleavened bread after the Passover (Ex 12:15–20; 1 Cor 5:6–13).
We should love one another and learn the lesson
of unity—not only with the Lord but also with the brothers and sisters in
Christ. The lesson of unity in Jesus Christ must be learned in order to form a
unified church body—represented by the one unleavened bread used in Holy
Communion (1 Cor 10:17; 12:12–27).
After each Holy Communion, we should be reminded
to look forward to the second coming of our Lord, as well as our
ultimate resurrection and return to our heavenly home on the last day (Jn 6:54;
1 Cor 11:26; Rev 19:7–9).