Enhancing the Meaning of the Emblems
The old Passover commemorated the emergence of the Jewish people from a state of slavery into individual physical freedom. The new Remembrance Supper instituted by Jesus commemorates the new dispensation wherein the individual emerges from the bondage of ceremonialism and tradition into spiritual freedom – the joy of the brotherhood and fellowship of the liberated faith sons of the living God. (Romans 8:20-21) The simple and unpretentious ceremony took place in the upper chamber of a friend (Luke 22:11-12) and was established without ecclesiastical sanction.
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
– Matthew 26:26-28
As was his practice, Jesus employed parables and symbolisms to teach great spiritual truths and to prevent the crystallizing of his teachings. (Mark 4:33) Symbols and parables expand our understanding whereas precise definitions limit us. When instituting the Memorial Supper, Jesus also employed the use of symbols. Rather than destroy the individual’s concept of divine communion by limiting its meaning, he set man’s reborn soul free upon the joyous wings of a new and living spiritual liberty. This allows us a great deal of latitude in thinking and in contemplating what it means to us individually to ‘eat and drink’ of him.
As we prepare to partake of the Memorial emblems, let us reflect on his words and allow ourselves the freedom to recognize a higher and enhanced understanding commensurate with our growing spiritual capacity. We are not bound to the meanings given according to the chains of tradition and dogma. We are free to use our spiritual insight and to expound on the meaning of (1) the symbols and (2) the practice of eating and drinking of Christ, in order to develop a larger and greater understanding.
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.”
– 1 John 2:27
So let us take some time to contemplate the symbolisms associated with the Memorial Supper. Ask yourself:
- What does eating of Christ mean to me?
- What does drinking of Christ mean to me?
- What does Christ expect of me now that I have partaken of him?
- What does the Father expect of me?
- How does this event change my relationship with my brothers?
- How does it change my relationship with the Father and Christ Jesus?
- How does it change my relationship with the world?
- And what can I do to be worthy of having a sharing with Christ?
If time permits, allow those in attendance free expression without condemnation. It is like looking at a beautiful work of art that grabs the individual’s attention and ignites something within his own spirit. Each observer may have his own interpretation and appreciation of the same work, but all will agree that it is beautiful! Likewise, we should not be surprised that the Memorial Supper can effect each of us in different ways. In this manner, we expand our own understanding and appreciation of Jesus, and we gain better insight into our brothers and are accordingly drawn closer.
Jesus asked that as often as we do this, we do it in remembrance of him. First, we remember him by looking back upon his life in the flesh, recalling that he did indeed live among man as the word of God (John 1:1), the bread of life (John 6:48), the way, the truth and life (John 14:6), the one to whom all authority has been given in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) Next, we accept him by receiving the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth into our own vessels so that it bears witness with our spirit (Romans 8:16) and so that we are guided, comforted, strengthened, empowered and renewed. (John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26-27; John 16:13; Acts 1:8) And finally, by faith, we discern that we shall all sometime sup with him in the Father’s eternal kingdom. (Luke 22:28-30)
In this intimate evening supper, we are free to be intimate and deeply personal with Christ in our understanding and appreciation of his life and ministry because, as spirit-conscious sons of the Father, we know that Christ is literally present, in our midst. (Matthew 18:20) And when we have concluded this supper, let us resolve in our hearts that we will never turn our backs on the friendships and relationships we have cultivated this evening, learning to love one another ‘as I have loved you' (John 13:34)
It is up to the sons of light to show the glory and freedom of the kingdom of the heavens. We can no longer hide and live as though we have no power, for the only real power is spiritual power. So let our lights shine brightly into the hearts of men so that all who witness our faith will see the living Christ in us as clearly as if he were standing with them as he stood with his disciples nearly 2,000 years ago. Yes, let the glorified Christ live, not only in heaven, but through the experiences of the spirit born faith-sons of God who have eaten and drank of him as he commanded.