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Not Just an Ordinary Passover

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (NIVUK)

Although Jewish families had been celebrating God's rescue of His people from Egypt (Exodus 12:24-28) for almost 1500 years before Jesus, His Last Supper was different. Using the Passover bread and wine, Jesus explained what He had previously taught about His body and blood (John 6:53-56). The disciples experienced the poignancy of that meal just before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:17-30). But Paul was not present at the Last Supper, nor did he consult with the church leaders until after the Lord had taught him (Galatians 1:15-19; Galatians 2:1-2).
The apostle received all the details and their meaning directly from the Lord. However, when Paul eventually presented the gospel he had received to Peter, James and John in Jerusalem, they found that Paul's understanding through God's revelation was exactly the same as their experience (Galatians 2:6-10). This important correlation proves the authenticity of both the disciples' observations and God's revelation to Paul.
The Passover celebrated God's rescue of His people from slavery, through the Red Sea; the Last Supper celebrated Jesus' rescue of His people from the slavery of sin, through His death on the cross (Galatians 1:4). Every time we celebrate communion, we remember Jesus dying in place of us. It is all about Him, His suffering, His sacrifice and His willingness to be punished for our sin. His blood, shed for us, is God's promise that repentant sinners will not be condemned for their sins and banished from His presence for ever. The purpose of the communion is to thank the Lord, to freshly grasp His promise and recommit ourselves to serving Him.
Is that your experience every time you take bread and wine? Or does the awesome wonder of Christ's sacrifice fade with time and repetition? Worse still, like in Corinth, has the communion become a meaningless activity in the midst of getting what you want out of church? These are important verses to help us to reset the focus of our heart onto the Lord Jesus whose sacrifice is salvation for all who believe in Him. Indeed, it is Jesus' instruction that whenever we take bread and wine we should remember Him and be thankful (Hebrews 12:28) until He comes back.

Lord God. Thank You that I am saved only through trusting in the precious blood of Christ shed for me. Forgive me when the familiarity of communion breeds carelessness or contempt in my heart. Please help me to reconsider my responsibility to be obedient by actively remembering what Jesus has done for me, when I receive bread and wine, and to become His thankful servant. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams