By Andy Zoppelt
In search of communion
For 36 years I have struggled with the Lord's
Supper, I must confess. Something did not seem right about it. I felt
that I was going through the ritual without the reality. So now let us
take a look at communion from the Biblical perspective.
The word supper comes from the Greek word
deipnon (dipe'-non), which means the chief meal or a festival. The
church building cannot normally accommodate, nor is it favorable, to
such intimacy that would have followed the Lord's Supper. In the
Passover, which was the setting for the Lord's Supper, it was a lamb
for a family.
"Tell the whole community of Israel that on the
tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one
(lamb) for each household. If any household is too small for a whole
lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken
into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the
amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat."
(Ex 12:3, 4, NIV)
The size of the lamb determined the number of
people who would get together. The Passover was a shadow of the Lord's
Supper and the Lord's Supper is a prophetic celebration of the
marriage supper of the Lamb. We celebrate the Lord's Supper
prophetically now, but one day we will share it with Jesus in heaven
at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
"Then the angel said to me, 'write: Blessed are
those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' And he
added, 'these are the true words of God.' " (Rev 19:9, NIV).
At the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will be one
family with one lamb. Jesus! We celebrate this feast in remembrance
till we eat the bread and drink the wine with Jesus at the wedding
supper of the Lamb. Think how glorious it will be, when Jesus takes
the bread and the wine at the end of the meal, after we have enjoyed
fellowship with one another, and He then ministers to His body as the
Lamb of God and the Bridegroom of His beloved body. This will be no
cracker-and-thimble-glass event; it will be an extended feast of
fellowship and common union with Him and one another. We will enjoy
the undistracted fellowship with the Lord and one another. We will be
caught up in direct fellowship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
All tears will have been removed, all pain and sickness will be healed
and we will be able to behold HIM in all His glory. What a feast, what
a time that will be. We celebrate communion in hopes of that union
with Him, the feast that will end all feasts.
"For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but
when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a
child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a
child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now
we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part,
but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." (1
Cor 13:9-12, NASU)
The Lord's Supper is symbolic of intimate
fellowship; we eat with friends and family. We are eating as a
separated people and a separated kingdom from this world. We are
declaring our holy relationship with the Lord and one another. We are
prophetically waiting and celebrating the Lord's Supper as a witness
to our final union with Him. We are expectantly looking forward to
seeing our master and Lord in His entire splendor. So let us rejoice
and be glad at this feast, and let us with hope look forward to the
great feast of the Lord.
"I say to you that many will come from the east and
the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 8:10, NIV)
I have tasted the real celebration with brothers I
love, in an intimate fellowship in a home, and refuse to go back the
cracker-and-thimble-glass event. We have been robbed and raped in the
meaningless religion that we have created.
When we celebrate communion we are to have a
yearning in anticipation of celebrating communion with Jesus, which is
why we cannot have any grievance with one another. Can you imagine
having a grievance with a brother at the marriage supper of the Lamb?
Until we celebrate that feast with the Lord, we are to rejoice in the
presence of the Holy Spirit and with the saints - His Body. The reason
we cannot put the meaning back into communion is because we have lost
the meaning of salvation and the church.
"'For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it
(the Lord's Supper) finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.' After
taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it
among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the
vine until the kingdom of God comes.'" (Luke 22:16-18, NIV)
It must have been a tremendous revelation for the
disciples when Jesus took the bread and the wine at Passover and
distributed it to them. The Passover found its intent and meaning at
that very moment; the Lamb, the food, the bread and the wine, all came
together in one glorious feast. I would have loved to see the shadow
find its reality in the person of the Lord. The praises must have
reached the highest heaven; the angels must have shouted a glorious
shout. The disciples must have been sitting there in absolute
amazement. "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the
world." The disciples realized, "He has arrived, He is here and He is
in our midst."
"What was from the beginning, what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched
with our hands, concerning the Word of Life and the life was
manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the
eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us." (1
John 1:1, 2, NASU).
We proclaim His return in
communion and have our hope in heaven
"For whenever you eat this bread and drink this
cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes." (1 Cor 11:26, NIV).
Our celebration of the Lord's Supper is a
proclamation of his return. Every time we take communion, we are
proclaiming that we are witnesses to His return and the stand-ins for
Him in this present world. We are to be a united, fruit-bearing
gathering of His saints. We have a hope of a life beyond the suffering
of this present world. That hope is "an anchor for the soul, firm and
secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus,
who went before us, has entered on our behalf." (Heb 6:19-20, NIV).
That hope, if it is real to us will purify us.
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has
not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we
will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone
who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
(1 John 3:2-3, NASU).
The world, entertainment, excitement, success and
ease have dominated the church today and we have lost that living hope
we have of heaven. We have lost the focus on "things above, where
Christ is seated."
Communion is meant to be a heavenly anticipation.
When we lose our heavenly hope, we lose the prophetic purpose of
communion, we end up celebrating a historic Jesus rather than a
resurrected one, and we focus on pleasing ourselves rather than
pleasing Him. Communion is linked in our hope of heaven and being with
Jesus without veils or obstacles.
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, when we pray for you (Why?), because we have heard of your
faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints- the
faith and love that spring
from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven."
(Col 1:3-5, NIV).
We proclaim our oneness in
The reality of our oneness, the purpose of our
fellowship and our relationship with the Lord is beyond ecstasy and
elation. It certainly fulfills the words of Peter, "Joy unspeakable
and full of glory." (1 Peter 1:8). We have lost the sense of intimacy
in the church today, we have very little joy in one another. Paul
said, "My joy is the joy of you all." (2 Cor 2:3) How wonderful it
would be if communion were a celebration of our joy and oneness in one
another and in the Lord. Sadly we have become so fat on theology and
teaching that we can't see the forest for the trees. We have become so
totally ingrained and captivated in our religious practices, we have
lost the standard and the pattern of New Testament church life.
Communion is a declaration of our unity. If we fail to recognize that
union and don't properly respond to it, we suffer serious
"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." (1 Cor 11:29- 30, NIV).
What is the "body of the Lord?" Is it not the real
church, the saints, those that love the Lord Jesus? We see so little
healing of relationships and therefore see so little of healing
physically. We fight, we divide, we keep list of faults, we don't
forgive, we have little mercy on one another, and we don't care about
the pain we cause one another. Then in arrogance (or should it be
ignorance?), we take communion as though we have a common union. We
lack the revelation and the joy of communion, because we have no
common union. Our relations are not in obedience to God's word and the
Lordship of Jesus Christ. How can you have a kingdom whose subjects
have not subjected themselves to the King? There is no common ground
in our relationships, and anything goes. We have no committed covenant
relationship with one another. The foundation has been removed and
many so-called ministers today accommodate and make allowances for
rebellion to exist in the body of Christ. We split and sever as though
it was a biblical mandate given by Jesus Himself. Where is the cry of
the true men of God who can discern the body?
"Many among you are weak and sick, and a number of
you have fallen asleep."
We are weak and sick, our spiritual temperature has
reached an all time low. We live in a religious atmosphere void of
true meaning. We have removed the real purpose of communion to suit a
religion rather than a life-giving celebration of our common union
with Him. Many have broken the bonds of relationships; we have lost
the significance of unity, love and the sacrifice of our lives for one
another. When those elements are removed, we are left with a
meaningless and religious practice. We try to conjure some feelings of
a Jesus that shed His blood on the cross. We do communion in a sullen
and funeral kind of atmosphere, we bow our heads and try to make
meaning out of it. How sad, but what else can we do when we have no
relationships with those we are supposed to be celebrating with?
God has stamped Ichabod on our doors and we conduct
services as usual. I can't believe that we cannot see this, it is so
obvious. We have an entertaining religion void of power and
fellowship, and few see it. The fact that we are void of these basics
of true Christianity amazes me. Why don't we rise up in revolt and
protest? Why don't we fall on our faces in shame and disgrace? Where
is the real beef of our relationships? These indifferent attitudes are
only a demonstration of our condition -- we are asleep and have fallen
I hope that I have given you a true picture of the
Biblical meaning of the Lord's Supper. I pray that you will see the
joy that was intended in this feast, the hope of finally celebrating
it with the King of Kings and
Lord of Lords -- Jesus -- our beloved! Let your
faith reach beyond this carnally driven world and let it reach into
the eternal heavens and have communion with HIM!
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