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BIBLE THOUGHTS ABOUT HOLY COMMUNION.
Jesus Christ as a means for us to meet Him on earth; that the union between Him and us may be drawn closer, that His merits may be applied to us for the remission of our sins, and that the graces of the Holy Spirit may be im. parted to us for our growth in holiness.
“Come unto Me,” said Jesus (St. Matt. xi. 28), and in Holy Communion we obey His call and come to Him, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” St. John heard Him saying (Rev. iii. 20); “ if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him ;” and hereby we open the door of our hearts to Jesus, and He will surely keep His word and come in to us.
SECTION II.-The Institution. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My Body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and
it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (St. Matt. xxvi. 26—28).
“ This do in remembrance of Me" (St. Luke xxii. 19).
With these words our Lord instituted the Holy Communion, and announced the beginning of the New Covenant between God and man (Jer. xxxi. 31). And under His divine authority, thus set forth, the ancient Jewish worship, ordained by God of old time, has ceased; and the Old Testament or Covenant has given place to the New
Henceforth “the breaking of bread” takes the place of the Passover Feast, and all other sacrificial services; and the New Covenant made with all the world, through the Blood of Jesus, takes the place of the Old Covenant made with the one nation of the Jews through the blood of beasts. (Exod. xxiv. 8; Heb. viii. 6-19.)
From this we learn that Holy Communion is the chief act of Christian worship, being ordained by Christ for Christians in place of the ancient acts of worship ordained for Jews. And in coming to Holy Communion we come in obedience to our Lord's command to worship as Christians, and to show that we do believe in Him who by His Blood made the New Covenant* with all the world.
SECTION III.—The Christian Sacrifice. Jesus was 6 the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (St. John i. 29), to which the ancient Jewish sacrifices pointed forwards ; because it was “not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin” (Heb. x. 4). And by His death upon the cross Jesus “ offered one sacrifice for sins for ever" (Heb. x. 12).
Therefore when Jesus speaks of His Blood of the New Covenant shed for the remission of sins (St. Matt. xxvi. 28), and says,
- This do in remembrance of Me,” it is clear that He bids us look back to His sacrifice and make a memorial of His precious death. Holy Communion is “ for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ.”
* Notice the division of the Bible into Old and New Testament. A Testament is a Covenant; and the Bible is so named because the Old Testament describes God's dealings with men under the Old Covenant made with the Jews; and the New Testament describes God's dealings with men under the New Covenant made with all the world in Christ.
It therefore follows that we are invited to come to Holy Communion filled with the remembrance of Christ's death, to plead it before God, trusting to nothing of our own, that we do or feel, but hiding behind the merits of our Lord. For hereby we “ show the Lord's death” (1 Cor. xi. 26). And we may be sure if we do this that Almighty God will accept us. For we are pleading only—Jesus died for me—and that not in words which might be mixed with error, or not be fitting ones; but pleading in deed, by doing that which Christ Himself appointed.
SECTION IV.-The Communion.
When the people crowded round Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum, on the day after He fed the five thousand, He told them of better food which He would give, even Bread from Heaven ; and then He spoke of this Heavenly Food as His Flesh and Blood (St. John vi. 27, 51, 53).
Months passed away, and no explanation these mysterious words was given. Until at the Last Supper, the disciples saw Him solemnly take bread into His hands and bless it, and break it, and give it to them, as He had done on that