What is the Lord's Supper?
By Bryan Rollins
I love Easter! Each year, I begin to celebrate Easter the week before, which begins on Palm Sunday—the day when Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. It was also during this week, often known as “Passion Week” or “Holy Week,” that Jesus and His disciples met in the Upper Room to celebrate the traditional Jewish holiday of Passover.
What is Passover?
Passover is a feast which celebrates God delivering the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. God sent Moses to the Pharaoh to demand freedom for the Israelites, and when Pharaoh refused, God sent 10 plagues on Egypt (Exodus 7:14-11:10). The final plague resulted in the deaths of the firstborn males in every house in Egypt. The firstborn males of the Israelites were spared, however, because God commanded Moses to tell the Israelites to kill a perfect lamb and spread the lamb’s blood over the door frame of their homes. When the spirit of God came to kill the firstborn males, He passed over the homes which had the lamb’s blood on the door frames.
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus celebrated his final Passover meal with His closest friends. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul writes, “ … the Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He also took the cup and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant established by My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
When our church gathers together to participate in the Lord’s Supper, we do so as a family communing with the Holy Trinity through faith. With the bread and the cup, we remember Christ became the sacrificial lamb for us. Because He came in obedience to God the Father and lived a perfect obedient life, Jesus was the perfect lamb to die for everyone else who hasn’t lived a life of perfect obedience to God.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes that everyone has fallen short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:23), and what we earn from that disobedience is death (Romans 6:23). But there is good news: “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This is what the family of God celebrates now through the Lord’s Supper instead of the Passover. We gather as a church to remember that we needed a Savior, and God sent Jesus to give His body and shed His blood so we would be forgiven once and for all.
Bryan Rollins lives in Bluffton with his wife Erica and their two dogs, Mia and Gracie. He serves on LCC’s middle school team as a 6th grade small group leader and on the Sunday morning greeting team.