What Does The New Testament Say About The Lord's Supper?

The communion table was first called the “Lord’s Supper” by the apostle Paul (I Corinthians 11:20).

However, it was our Lord Jesus Christ who established this memorial during His last Passover meal with His twelve disciples. (Mark 14:12 through 26)

To better understand the significance of this observance, we need to go back to the first Passover when the Egyptian Pharaoh held the people of Israel in bondage and refused to let them go. (Exodus 5:2)

After sending nine plagues on Egypt, the Lord decided to bring a tenth plague where all the firstborn among Egypt would die. (Exodus 11:1, 4, and 5)

To protect the children of Israel from this plague, the Lord commanded the head of each household to select from his flock a one-year-old male lamb that was without blemish (Exodus 12:3 and 5).

Then at twilight on the fourteenth day of their first month, they were to kill the lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses (Exodus 12:6 and 7).

The Lord said that when He saw the blood of the lamb on their houses, He would “pass over” them and spare the lives of their firstborn (Exodus 12:13 and 23).

The people of Israel were to roast the lamb and eat it in haste with unleavened bread and bitter herbs,   and they did just as the Lord commanded. (Exodus 12:8, 11, and 28)

That night at midnight the Lord went through the land and struck all the firstborn, so the Pharaoh rose up and ordered the children of Israel to leave Egypt (Exodus 12:29, 31, and 32).

The Lord commanded the people to keep the Passover as a memorial feast throughout their generations, and any man who failed to keep it at the appointed time would be guilty of sin (Exodus 12:14, and Numbers 9:13).

That brings us to the New Testament, almost 1500 years later, and on the very day that the Passover lamb must be killed, Jesus told Peter and John to go and prepare the Passover. (Luke 22:7 and 8)

And that evening, at the appointed time, Jesus sat down with His twelve disciples to eat the Passover meal, just as God had commanded. (Matthew 26:19 and 20)

During the meal Jesus instituted His memorial supper by first taking the unleavened bread that was required to be eaten with the Passover. (Matthew 26:26 and Exodus 12:8)

He gave thanks, broke the bread, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

Next, He took the cup of the fruit of the vine, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:27 and 28)

Then Jesus said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

And then He said, “This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (I Corinthians 11:25)

Later that night Jesus was arrested, and the next day He was crucified, He died, He was buried, and then He rose to life again on the third day. (John 18:12, 19:17 and 18, and I Corinthians 15:3 and 4)

From the very beginning, the church began to observe the Lord’s Supper, continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the “breaking of bread”, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42)

We know that the practice of the church was to assemble on the first day of the week, which was the same day that Jesus had risen from the grave. (I Corinthians 16:2, and Mark 16:1 through 6)

And the reason the disciples came together on the first day of the week was “to break bread”, or to partake of this memorial supper. (Acts 20:7)

When we observe this remembrance, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes; we are looking back to His crucifixion and also forward to His appearing a second time. (I Corinthians 11:26, and Hebrews 9:28)

By partaking of the unleavened bread, we are remembering that Jesus Christ sacrificed His body once for all time to put away sin. (Hebrews 9:26 and 10:10)

And by partaking of the fruit of the vine, we are remembering that we have been saved by the shedding of His blood, which is required for the forgiveness of sins. (John 19:34, Romans 5:9, and Hebrews 9:22)

Through this feast, we are demonstrating that we have been purchased with the precious blood of Christ, who was as a lamb without blemish and without spot. (I Peter 1:18 and 19)

Jesus was always obedient to His Father, and He was without sin, therefore His blood can save us just as the blood of the unblemished lamb saved the children of Israel. (Philippians 2:8, Hebrews 4:15, and Exodus 12:13)

So Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and Christ is our Passover who was sacrificed for us. (John 1:29, and I Corinthians 5:7)

The Passover lamb was only the shadow of the good things to come, but Jesus Christ is the very image of those things. (Exodus 12:6 and 7, and Hebrews 10:1)