“Jesus said, ‘I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.’” (Luke 22:15-16)
From the moment Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, Christians have regularly celebrated communion in memory of his death. Some church traditions celebrate it every Sunday, others celebrate it monthly—as does my church on the first Sunday of every month—and still others have their own tradition as to the frequency and practice communion.
When we receive communion, we mostly focus on the Lord’s death and our redemption that was purchased at the moment of his sacrifice. And what a sweet time of remembrance it is. Nothing is more moving than coming to the Lord’s Table.
Yet it is not only about remembering, communion also calls us to look forward. Twice, as Jesus instituted this holy sacrament, he spoke to his disciples of a time in the future where he, himself, would again participate in this celebration. He was referring to his second coming. He was issuing a promise that he would come again, and each time they, and by extension, we, receive Holy Communion, partakers were to be reminded of that promise and rejoice in its future fulfillment.
The next time you receive Holy Communion, I want to challenge you to not only look back in gratitude for the Lord’s death, but look forward in hope to the Lord’s coming. When you eat the bread and drink the wine, you are declaring his death, as the Apostle Paul said, “til he comes.”
Holy Communion means a promise. It is one of God’s best promises to you. And he has never broken a promise—not one. Jesus sealed the promise of his return by his death, and he guaranteed it by his resurrection. He will make good on it—perhaps sooner than you expect. And as you come to the Table, remember, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26)
“Death stung himself to death when he stung Christ.” —William Romaine