Memorial of Holy Communion
Now they approached the most solemn part of the night: institution of the Lords Supper.
It was custom after the meal to break and partake of that half of unleavened cake which had been broken and put aside at the beginning of the supper. Christ took the second half of the bread and, when he had thanked God for it, broke it into pieces and distributed it among the Eleven saying, Take and eat it, for this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
He held up another cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. According to Jewish ritual, this was the third cup which was filled at the close of the supper. Paul called it the cup of blessing. Jesus gave it to them and said, Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood which seals the New Covenant between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many. I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Fathers kingdom. Another wine at a heavenly feast awaited him.
Then he added his final instruction, Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.
Obediently they took the cup and drank from it. Jews believed a mans life was in his blood, and it was poured away when his blood was shed. As they drank, the very life of God was poured into their life, reconciling them anew to God their Father and washing away their sins.
What Did It Really Mean?
Memorial of Holy Communion was the beginning of the New Covenant (Testament)completely replacing old symbolic sacrifices with one new and real Sacrifice.
This means much more than remembrance of his death and fellowship of the church. Such remembrance is often equally vivid in ordinary acts of faith or prayer. The New Covenant had to represent something entirely different from salvation through animal sacrifices and Judaism. The first New Testament celebration was the symbol and promise of salvation in Christ, and fellowship in the Kingdom of God.
But it goes much deeper than that. In partaking of the Holy Eucharist, the body and blood of the Lord conveys to the soul what the bread and wine conveys to the body. Receiving the bread and cup is spiritually to the soul what the outward elements are to the body: both are symbols of true, inward, spiritual feeding on Christ. With the cup, we bless the fellowship of his precious blood that was shed for the remission of our sins. With the bread, we bless fellowship of his body that was broken for us, and also fellowship with one another in the Kingdom of God. Together they become ours for the forgiveness of our sins and salvation of our souls. When we partake of his death, we also partake of his life. Most mysterious words these, yet most blessed mystery of feeding on Christ spiritually and in faith.
This sacred institution has proclaimed the golden light of the kingdom of heaven far out into the worlds darkest night; not only with the Holy Spirits seal of his presence and pledge, but also with the promise of the bright day of his return. For as often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we show forth the death of the Lord for the life of the world to be assuredly manifested until he comes.