do believers take the bread and wine? What does it mean? This
chapter discusses the Lord’s Supper and its relevance
As the sun disappeared over the horizon, Jesus reclined with
his twelve disciples in an upper room and ate a special Passover meal. During the meal he broke the Passover bread and passed
it to each of his disciples. Later, he passed around a cup
for all to drink. The next day Jesus died at 3 pm—the
lamb for the Passover sacrifice.
This meal was the last meal before Jesus died and has become known as the “Last Supper”. When we follow the example by eating bread and drinking wine as we remember Jesus, it is often called the “Lord’s Supper”.
The re-enactment of this supper is a central part of Christian
fellowship—to remember the death of Christ, the new
and the kingdom to come. For believers this supper is a time
humility, love, fellowship and joyful anticipation of his
1. Verse 26 states that during the meal Jesus handed
around the bread. Does this mean that it is appropriate
for believers to “break bread” during an ordinary
is this an exception?
2. What did Jesus mean by “this is my body” and
“this is my
3. Jesus said “Drink from it, all of you” (v27).
Did all the
disciples drink from the cup? See John 13:30.
4. Why will Christ drink of the wine again? When will this
Accounts of the Lord’s Supper:
|Matthew 26:20–30; Mark 14:17–26; Luke 22:14–39; John
13:1–18:1; 1 Corinthians 11:20–30.
The Passover lamb:
|Exodus 12:3–14; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 7:14.
Jesus our sacrifice:
|Romans 6:6–7; Hebrews 9:14–15,26; 10:9–10,19–22; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2.
The love feast:
|1 Corinthians 11:20; Jude 12.
Bread and wine:
|Genesis 14:18–20; Exodus 25:30; Hosea 9:4; John 6:31–35.
Christ’s love for his followers
On the evening before his death, Jesus set an example to
his followers—to have bread and wine together in regular
remembrance of him. Repeating this simple act produced two
important results: (1) it focused their minds on grace; and
it gave them regular spiritual support.
How often should we
take the bread and
wine? Look at the
examples in Acts
Without regular worship it’s easy to drift away. In
are told: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some
the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another”.
The spiritual meaning of the Lord’s Supper
Jesus included the bread and wine in his special Passover
meal. Each of these three items—bread, wine and Passover
lamb—is of spiritual significance.
The Passover lamb
Each year at the appointed time the Israelites celebrated
Passover in remembrance of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The night before the exodus the
Israelites were commanded
to prepare unleavened bread and herbs, sacrifice a
perfect lamb and paint its blood on the door frames of their
houses. Later that evening the Lord passed over these houses,
but killed the firstborn in every other household in Egypt.
Exodus means a going
out or a departure Exodus 12
The blood of the Passover lamb saved the firstborn of the
faithful Israelites from death. Nearly 1500 years later Jesus
was crucified at Passover time to save faithful Israelites
Gentiles from eternal death:
What other similarities were there between the Passover and the sacrifice of Jesus? See Exodus 12:1–31,43–50.
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
(1 Corinthians 5:7)
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for
ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
See also Mark 14:12;
Luke 22:7; 1 Peter
1:19; Revelation 7:14
The shedding of Christ’s blood meant the end of the
Moses and the start of the law of grace. The celebration of
the Passover is no longer necessary. Jesus introduced a new
remembrance—the remembrance of his death in the bread
At the Last Supper, Jesus said “Take and eat; this is
my body”. Matthew 26:26
The bread is the symbol of the crucified body of Christ.
Amongst other things, it reminds us of the death of sin:
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so
that the body of sin might be done away with, that we
should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who
has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:6–7)
When taking the bread, it is important to think about the
Christ showed by willingly dying for us. As we associate with
his death at baptism, the taking of bread is also a time to
meditate on our death to sin.
At the Last Supper Jesus said, “This is my blood of
covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness
sins.” Matthew 26:28 The wine is a symbol of the spilt blood of Jesus.
reminds us of our new living relationship with God. It gives
confidence to approach God because our consciences are clear.
Hebrews 4:16; 9:14
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the
Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living
way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let
us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance
of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a
guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure
water. (Hebrews 10:19–22)
When taking the wine, we should think about Christ’s
poured out for our sins, and the living relationship of grace
have with our Father through baptism.
The first letter to the Corinthians contains a very strong
A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the
bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and
drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and
drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among
you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen
asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come
under judgment. (1 Corinthians 11:28–31)
Taking the bread and wine with the wrong attitude is useless
and sinful. This time of remembrance should remind us of
our failings and God’s unfailing love for us. Judging
ourselves will result in the right attitude, an attitude of
humility and thankfulness.
The love feast
Meeting together to take the bread and wine is a time of fellowship. Examples:
1 Corinthians 11:20
The disciples usually met together for a meal then afterwards “broke bread”.
This traditional meal called the “love
feast” was a fellowship feast—a time for sharing
among the rich and poor and enjoying each other’s company.The practice of eating together then breaking bread continued
well into the second century.
Today formal remembrance meetings usually do not include
the love feast, however, the principle remains that fellowship
an important aspect of taking bread and wine.|
Have you ever thought about having a mid-week meal and breaking of bread with fellow believers? Matthew 26:29
At the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples that he would
drink wine until he returns again. This means that we can
forward to fellowship meals with Jesus in the
Did you know?
|Transubstantiation describes the belief that the bread and wine turn into the literal flesh and blood of Christ at communion. For many centuries this doctrine has been taught by Roman Catholics. What scriptures would you use to prove that this interpretation is incorrect?
1. What kind of bread was used for the Last Supper: leavened
or unleavened? Should the wine used for remembrance
be alcoholic? Are these details important?
2. Read 1 Corinthians 11:27–30.
(a) Is it true that people become sick and sometimes die
because they take the bread and wine with the wrong
(b) How should believers examine themselves before participating
in the Lord’s Supper?
3. What should this remembrance be called? Some examples
are: communion, memorial meeting, Lord’s Supper,
sacraments, the Eucharist, emblems, breaking of bread,
love feast and thanksgiving. What are the advantages and
disadvantages of each name?
4. Are you forgiven when you take the bread and wine?
When are your sins forgiven?
1. Bread and wine were very important in Old Testament
times. Can you find any Old Testament passages which
foreshadow the Lord’s Supper? [Hint: one example is
suggested in John 6:31–35.]
2. Discuss with someone what the bread and wine mean to
you, and what you understand they represent.
• BBB Section 3.5
• The new life by John Marshall (published by The Christadelphian,
1971). Chapter 4: “The breaking of bread”.
• Studies in the gospels by Harry Whittaker (published
Biblia). Chapters 181–197. A detailed and interesting
analysis of the Last Supper and associated events.
35. The sacrifice of Jesus