The Lord's Supper Refs
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Why do believers take the bread and wine? What does it mean? This chapter discusses the Lord’s Supper and its relevance to us.

Matthew 26:17–30

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 of wine
for all to drink. The next day Jesus died at 3 pm—the perfect 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 covenant and the kingdom to come. For believers this supper is a time of humility, love, fellowship and joyful anticipation of his return.

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 meal or is this an exception?
2. What did Jesus mean by “this is my body” and “this is my blood”?
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 happen?

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 (2)
it gave them regular spiritual support.
How often should we take the bread and wine? Look at the examples in Acts 2:42,46; 20:7.

Without regular worship it’s easy to drift away. In Hebrews we are told: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another”. Hebrews 10:25

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 the 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 and 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 law of 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 and wine.

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 love 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.

The Wine
At the Last Supper Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Matthew 26:28 The wine is a symbol of the spilt blood of Jesus. This reminds us of our new living relationship with God. It gives us
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 blood poured out for our sins, and the living relationship of grace we have with our Father through baptism.

Self examination
The first letter to the Corinthians contains a very strong warning:

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 or examining 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: Jude 12, 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 food equally 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 is
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 not drink wine until he returns again. This means that we can look forward to fellowship meals with Jesus in the kingdom.

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 attitude?
(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”. 8 pages.
• Studies in the gospels by Harry Whittaker (published by Biblia). Chapters 181–197. A detailed and interesting analysis of the Last Supper and associated events.


10. Worship
35. The sacrifice of Jesus
53. Fellowship

 
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