The Lord’s Supper

It is commonly understood that Christ instituted a new ritual, the Lord’s Supper, partaking of bread and wine representing His body and blood, as a sacrament or ordinance of the Church. A very basic problem with this claim is that Christ never actually does any such thing, and neither do any of His apostles.

What Christ does, during that last Passover meal with His disciples, is explain that two of the key elements of Passover, the affikomen and the cup of blessing (or redemption) (1Co 10:16), represent His body and blood. He tells us that as often as we partake of these particular elements (Lk 22:19-20), contained in Jehovah’s Passover celebration, we show His death until He returns. (1Co 11:26) He never even hints at starting something new.

Paul affirms this by referring to Passover as the Lord’s Supper (1Co 11:20, 23-25), identifying the Communion elements in this way. As Scripture offers no other means to sanctify any particular set of elements as representative of Christ before God, any attempt to decouple them from Passover implies flagrant presumption; it can’t actually be done.

The modern concept of the Eucharist didn’t exist in the time of the Apostles; it evolved nearly a century later, a product of that awkward and painful era in which Gentile Christians were desperately trying to distance themselves from Judaism in order to avoid severe Roman taxation and persecution. Anything that might be used to identify believers as Jewish had to go: circumcision, the Sabbath, as well as God’s feasts and dietary laws. It was during this time that Christian theologies emerged claiming the abolition of Mosaic Law, separating us from this delightful treasure, contradicting Christ’s direct command  (Mt 5:17-19), and the original Apostolic witness. (Ac 21:24)

Jesus Christ didn’t start a new meal or ritual for the Church; what He did was deepen our understanding of an old one, and encourage us to enjoy Him in it: He’s our Passover(1Co 5:7-8)

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