THE GARDEN OF EDEN
Let’s step back into the Garden of Eden for a moment. Take a look at Genesis 6:3:
“And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she TOOK of the fruit thereof, and DID EAT, and GAVE also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
COMMENT: Eve [the name given to her after the fall] took and ate the forbidden fruit. Then, she gave some to Adam. But, did you see anywhere in that verse where she gave thanks for it? She couldn’t reasonably ask God to bless something that was forbidden to them. As a result of eating the forbidden fruit, mankind came under a curse. What was the curse on mankind? For man it was spiritual death and physical death. Not only was mankind affected by it, but all of creation came under the curse.
JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES
Now let’s fast forward to the New Testament. Jesus and His disciples are reclining around the table and are celebrating the Passover together. This would be His last time to eat it with them, before He was to go to the cross.
“And as they were eating, Jesus TOOK bread, and BLESSED [it], and brake [it], and GAVE [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And he TOOK the cup, and GAVE THANKS, and GAVE [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
COMMENT: Here we can see that Jesus took, blessed and gave the bread to His disciples. Next, He took, gave thanks, and gave the wine to them also. Immediately you will notice that Jesus actions included the giving of a blessing, or thanks, whereas Eve’s actions did not. Only what is good can be blessed. Only what brings life can be blessed. Later, Jesus would seal His New Covenant with His broken flesh and His shed blood. He made a way to remove the curse and to bring life to all who wanted it.
Notice that Jesus and His disciples ate the bread first. Jesus does not explain the purpose of the bread here. The cup of wine is taken next. Jesus says, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” He is very specific about the blood. The blood establishes the New Covenant and it is also for the forgiveness of sins.
For what then is the bread? The following verses gives us a clue.
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”
“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;”
COMMENT: From these verses we can see that the scourging of Jesus was for the healing of the physical body, or for anything that affects the body negatively. Therefore one can see that the bread and the wine, taken during the Lord’s Supper, have a twofold purpose: That of showing forth God’s provision of healing for our bodies and His provision for the forgiveness of our sins. Keep in mind that Jesus was never sick. Not once does the Scriptures’ tell us that He got sick. Just think we, as Christians, have the privilege of taking in His body through the Lord’s Supper, or what some call the Holy Communion.
SONGS ABOUT THE TWO-FOLD PURPOSE
Here are a couple of songs that allude to the twofold purpose of the New Covenant. Apparently, the song writers understood that two fold purpose.
Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
By Augustus M. Toplady (1775)
Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood, From thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the DOUBLE CURE,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
By Joachim Neander (1680)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is THY HEALTH and SALVATION!
All ye who hear, Now to his temple draw near;
Praise him in glad adoration.
THE SIGNIFICANCE MATZO BREAD
COMMENT: Why am I mentioning the matzo bread that is used in the Passover meal by the Jews, when I am talking about The Lord’s Supper? This is the reason why. There is no leaven in the bread, so it is flat. It is made in a square shape. It has holes in the bread that make the bread look like it has stripes on it. The baking of the bread leaves brown spots, like one sees on saltine crackers. Each of these things has significance to the Christian.
Leaving out the leaven represents the absence of sin. This speaks of Jesus who knew no sin. The holes are to remind us of the fact that Jesus’ body was pierced with nails and a sword. The stripes stand for the scourging given to Him by the Romans. The burned spots represent God’s fire of judgment that fell on Jesus for our sins.
MIND YOUR MANNERS
Let’s move on. How are we to partake of the Lord’s Supper? We are to do so in a worthy manner. If a person is saved, that person is worthy of receiving the Lord’s Supper. However the MANNER in which that saved person partakes of it should be taken into consideration. It should not be taken lightly. Ask yourself, why am I partaking of this? One is not just drinking a little grape juice and eating a piece of bread. One must discern that it is the Lord’s body and blood that he or she is taking in. It should be done reverently. (See 1 Corinthians 11:29-30.) (Also, I talked a little bit about this in my post on The Cutting of the Covenant.)
WHY PARTAKE AND HOW OFTEN
Why are the saved to partake of the Lord’s Supper? The Lord asked them to. He wants them to do it in remembrance of Him. What are they to remember? They are to remember that He was beaten for their bodily healing and crucified for the saving of their souls. Another reason I thought of was this: He wants us to remember how much He loves mankind. How many times should a Christian celebrate the Lord’s Supper? As far as I know, there is no limit.