INSTITUTION OF THE LAST SUPPER
26Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said,
“Take, eat; this is my body.”
27And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of it, all of you, 28for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
It is hard to identify in what part of the Passover seder our Lord instituted this sacrament. The opinion goes from the middle of the Supper (Luke 14:19-20), to the two last cups of wine taken at the end of the meal (Mark 14:25-26). However, the most probable hypothesis is that Lord Jesus altered the normal order of the Passover meal in order to institute the memorial of his atoning sacrifice in the last Passover meal with his disciples on Earth (Luke 22:15).
Lord Jesus instituted the sacrament of his Sacrifice or ordinance, as it is commonly called, to establish a link between the moment He offered his eternal life as compensation for the sins of all humanity; to the all the time the Church will wonder on Earth, as a memorial of this death and resurrection, and as a channel of Grace to all who participate from it.
This memorial of the Lord’s sacrifice is more than just ‘a symbolic representation’ so that we would not forget. It is certainly an ‘anamnesis’ (acted remembrance) of the sacrifice on the cross, but also a channel of Grace, a special blessing that sanctifies the spirit and body of those who participate from it. As necessary as Baptism, and with similar purpose.
The bread and the wine consecrated, are more than just symbolic memorial of the Body and Blood of our Lord. They have a spiritual value in virtue of their representation, in such a manner than Apostle Paul speaks of taking the ‘body and blood of the Lord’ in sin, if we take from them without respect and reverence (1Corinthians 11:27). They are not anymore common bread and wine, even though they still are, since Lord Jesus has not yet died on the Cross and He was present alive when He instituted it; but are sacred elements consecrated by the word of God, the desire of Jesus and the value of the things they represent.
The Holiness of the Lord’s Supper is not only in the elements, but in the whole ceremony of the sacrament. It is a sacred memorial in the midst of a sacred ceremony, and therefore, we must always participate from it in reverence and repentance.
A last thing to remember, is that we must partake from it having asked God for forgiveness of our sins. If we take from the Sacrament without repentance of our sinfulness, we are holding the sacred Body and Blood that Lord Jesus offered on the cross, and which these elements represent, in contempt, and it is an insult to God. This sin is so grave, that could cause death (1Corinthians 11:27-30), and certainly, condemnation in the afterlife.
Nothing of what God does is in vain. And the Holy Supper is one of them, and it is a command from Jesus to perform it and participate from it. It is not a choice, but an obligation.
Any act of worship, which claims to be complete before God, must include the Lord’s Supper, because it is what gives sense and crowns the whole adoration offered to God. Without the sacrifice it represents, there would not be any type of adoration to God.
The Lord’s Supper is a very special way of how the Church of God, shares time and receive Grace from Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Jesus is especially present among his followers when we partake from it with love, reverence and repentance. It sanctifies us.