He held Himself in His hands to show us physically what we perceive spiritually, to transform us in both realms with a new life through regeneration and empowerment.
Holy Communion and Self Examination
God predestined the sacrificial offering of His Lamb on the cross one day
before the Passover Festival that the Israelites celebrated in remembrance for
their deliverance from the slavery of Egypt. The blood of lamb was applied by
them on their doorposts to escape death and the shed blood of Lord Jesus on the
cross redeems us from slavery of the devil, sin and death. The Jewish people
ate the flesh of the sacrificial lamb in Egypt at night and Lord Jesus
established the ritual of Holy Communion in the same manner.
Why was Holy Communion started by Lord Jesus? – Apostle John calls
the Son of God light of the earth, for during creation process He revealed His
glory to light up the earth and set the whole process into motion before
creating the sun, moon and the stars on the third day. ‘In the Word was life
and He was the light of the earth’ (John 1:4). In light of God’s glory, the
void and formless earth not only regained its shape but also its capability to
partner with God to bear the trees and plants but also living beings including
man. When God breathed into the pile of dust He turned what was perishable into
imperishable from within. Wages of sin is death where separation from God is
spiritual death followed by physical death of the body. The sin of disobedience
again converted the body or the outer vessel into its perishable state through
death. Through this sinful surrender the forces of darkness overpowered and
resumed to itself the authority and dominion over everything from man. And with
this nature also lost its glorious state and started producing ‘thorns and
But in all this God did not abandon man and promised Abraham ‘to be God to you
and to your descendents after you’ (Genesis 17:7). Later God heard the cry of
the Israelites and the first covenant of rescue and move to ‘a good and large
land, to a land flowing with milk and honey’ came about. Moses was then sent as
their redeemer from Egypt (Exodus 3:7-8). And the same promise was repeated to
Moses to tell the Israelites, ‘I will take you as my people, and I will be your
God’ (Exodus 6:7). On the eve of departure from Egypt, LORD God told Moses to
command the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb for each family and apply the blood
of the lamb on the door posts and eat the meat thereof during the night and to
be ready to move by daybreak. On seeing the blood the Lord would Passover that
house while others would lose their firstborn child of both man and beast
The covenant of redemption became effective with the application of the blood
of the lamb and eating of its meat and Pharaoh thereafter allowed Moses to lead
the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. John the Baptist revealed
the identity of Lord Jesus to his disciples, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes
away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). Lord Jesus’ coming as Redeemer must
impact mankind as well as the nature and the earth which suffered ‘not of its
own accord’ by rescuing all from the clutches of the devil, sin and death
(Romans 8:19-27). To this end God made His own Son ‘who knew no sin to be sin
for us’ (2 Corinthians 5:21) and He became sin not sinner for us and our sins
were transferred to Him to ‘wash us clean’ through faith in His sacrifice. Lord
Jesus told Martha, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ and confirmed what was
later to come (John 11:25).
Lord Jesus rewards those who believe in Him and obey His commands. The seventy
who were sent by the Lord, returned rejoicing that the demons were subject to
them under Lord Jesus’ authority. The Savior Lord revealed their true reward
for their labor, ‘your names are written in heaven’ (Luke 10:20). The new
covenant of Lord Jesus also assures the believers the same and more. He has
promised, ‘I have come that they (believers) may have life, and that they may
have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10). In fulfillment of His promise to not
leave the disciples and to empower them, the Holy Spirit descended from heaven
to be in and with the believers (Acts 2:1-4).
the earlier covenant of redemption from slavery and move into the Promised Land
started with eating the flesh of the lamb and application of its blood, Lord
Jesus being the Lamb of God commanded the disciples to ‘eat the bread and drink
the wine as His body and blood’ and to do this in remembrance of Him (Luke
When and how should the Holy Communion be
administered? – Apostle Paul clarifies the Holy
Communion as per Lord Jesus’ intent – first, is the breaking of bread and
command to ‘take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in
remembrance of Me’ and then ‘this cup is the new covenant in My blood, this do,
as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’ (1 Corinthians 11:24-30). And
then he clarifies the reason that as often as the believers ‘eat this bread and
drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes’. There is no set
time plan laid down but the Church has laid down their own guidelines as per
convenience, once a month or more number of days.
Second is about remembering the Lord during Holy Communion. The remembrance has
both a backward and a forward look and we remember Lord’s death on the cross
and its significance, what He has done for us. But we also look forward to His
second coming and anticipate what He will do when He returns. We gratefully
recall His loving sacrifice for forgiveness of sins and restoration of the
broken relationship with God to get motivated to love and serve Him better.
happens to the cup and the bread? – Just as the Passover is about
deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the Lord’s Supper is about deliverance from
sin by Lord Jesus’ death. When Lord Jesus said ‘This is My body’ what happened
to the bread in His hand? First, some believe that the bread and wine actually
become Lord Jesus’ physical body and blood; second, others believe that the
bread and wine remain unchanged but the Savior is spiritually present with the
bread and wine; third, still others believe that the bread and wine symbolize
the Messiah’s body and blood. There is no doubt that it is His Holy Table that
we approach and reverence, humility, confession of sins and total surrender are
essential. Everyone agrees that participating in the Lord’s Supper is an
important element in the Christian faith and that we get spiritually
strengthened through participation.
is the right way of participation? – In 1 Corinthians 11, Apostle Paul
has laid down some basic guidelines; first, we should step forward thoughtfully
for we are proclaiming that the Savior died for our sins ; second, we should
participate worthily, with due reverence and respect; third, we should examine
ourselves for any unconfessed sin and/or resentful attitude; four, we
should be considerate of others, waiting for others and eating in an orderly
and unified manner (verses 26 -33). In reality no one is worthy to come to the
Lord’s Table for we are all sinners saved by grace and we must prepare
ourselves through a healthy introspection.
Greek word ‘dokimazo’ is translated as examine but it also means to put to the
test to reveal what is good and genuine but not for disproving or to show it is
bad. This examination means that the right to access is not for everyone but
for Lord’s people only and for His family only. For if one’s heart is not right
with God, you are entering not by the ‘door’ but as a robber or a thief. It is
not for conversion of sinners or lead men to salvation but for those who are
already saved and washed in His precious blood for then you can meditate on His
sacrifice to feed the spiritual life already received. But how is this
examination carried out?
First, Examination is not for rejection but to come there in the right spirit –
It is not about perfect sanctification for then none could come. It is also not
about fullness of faith but a grain size faith that has quickened into new life
and is thirsting for more.
the responsibility of examination – The words let him means that the
responsibility rests with man himself and he must judge himself as an
individual responsible for his action, ready to obey His word all the days of
your life. This will help you for it is not due to someone else’s entitlement
that I come but my own as per God’s grace.
Third, it is a solemn occasion, so don’t come thoughtlessly or
flippantly but in right earnest, like Apostle Peter opening up my heart before
the Lord saying, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You’. To come
in humility of spirit confessing that I am not what I want or ought to be but
You can, with Your grace and I stand at the foot of the cross in absolute
Four, to come intelligently, fully aware as to why we have
come. This examination is to discover soul-hunger that needs to be nourished by
the Lord. It is not the bread or the wine but the mind seeing through the
visible signs, that which is inwardly signified and then under the guidance of
the Holy Spirit understand the whole meaning.
it is to come rejoicing that I have been blessed and chosen by God to
be at His table and He has invited me and now, how can I enjoy the blessings
that He has served and have a sweet conversation with Him. I may rejoice that
God became man to be my Redeemer and a Good Shepherd to feed me of His flesh
and blood to renew me.
Lord’s Supper is a spiritual feast for the gladness of the soul of the
partakers and I examine myself to be fully prepared for this. Am I spiritually
alive? Have I been renewed in my heart and life? Has the Holy Spirit brought me
into the spiritual world of the Son of God? Do I hunger after Lord Jesus? Do I
long for the water of life? The dead cannot partake in a feast and dead sinners
also cannot join without repentance and cleansing
Lord Jesus invites His friends, those who obey His commands, do I follow
His Word and move forward to complete His plans. Have I in faith appropriated
to myself His atonement that I may be justified before God?
am I a part of His body, the Church, and in complete union with one
another? I cannot bring myself to His altar if I have an issue with my brother.
do I know Him whose body and blood is there on His table? Have I ever
seen Him with the eyes of faith and do I commune with Him on a regular basis to
share my griefs and sorrows as well as my joyful moments?
Apostle Paul cautions us about not discerning the Lord’s body and the Greek word used is ‘diakrino’ meaning to properly judge or investigate thoroughly with close reasoning as in a mirror (1 Corinthians 11:29). It means positively to intimate reasoning and negatively to ‘over judging’. I must not only fully understand the real meaning of the Holy Communion but also assess its affect on my life about display of His love towards others. ‘By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren’ (1 John 3:16). Lord Jesus is the Tree of Life and our way of access to Him is guarded by a Cherub with a ‘flaming sword’ and anyone attempting to reach the Garden of Eden or the Tree, without proper authorization, faces punishment. Self examination is to prepare self to have access as well as to escape God’s wrath and Apostle Paul warns that many have died due to this, which could be a physical and or a spiritual death. The Savior Lord has opened the way to Himself for all believers through the torn curtain.
Lord’s Supper is in remembrance of the Lamb of God and to move thereafter spiritually strengthened, to move as a claimant of the New Covenant and to dominate the forces of evil surrounding us and to lead others into His light. This comprises holy moments where the Lord is passing His bounties to His people but is also ready to award punishment for errant behavior. It is His grace that provides us access and not of our doing and we approach with reverence.