What Is Communion and Why Does the Church Do It?
Have you ever wondered why Christians eat a small piece of bread and drink a sip of wine (or grape juice) in some church services?
You’re not alone.
For thousands of years, the Church has continued a practice called communion, or depending on different church traditions, the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist.
Communion uses bread as a symbol for Jesus’ body and wine as a symbol for His blood. Yes, it sounds strange. But why do Christians talk about eating Jesus’ body and drinking His blood? Are we cannibals?
Where Did Communion Come From?
Jesus started the tradition of communion. He instructed His followers to use bread and wine to remember the sacrifice He was going to make when He died for our sins on the cross (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Jesus called Himself “the bread of life,” which means that we’re nourished by Him, we survive because of Him, and He satisfies us when everything else leaves us empty (John 6:48-51). There’s a connection between our nearness to Jesus, believing in Him, and being fulfilled by Him (John 6:35).
The early Church celebrated Jesus by taking communion, sometimes every day (Acts 2:42-46). They saw that every time they gathered around a table to eat and drink, it was a chance to recognize Jesus and thank God for all He’s done.
Reasons Not To Do Communion
Taking communion doesn’t make you a Christian. It doesn’t save your soul or get you to heaven.
God actually warns us about taking communion without considering what it means and why we’re doing it. The intent is not for us to mindlessly perform a ritual, but to intentionally set aside time to remember what Jesus has done and why He did it (1 Corinthians 11:27-31).
Every time we gather around bread and wine, in church or in our homes, we remember Jesus is the one who provides all we need.
Why Christians Do Communion
It’s not about the bread and wine; it’s about the body and blood of Jesus.
It’s not about the ritual or the method; it’s about listening to Jesus and doing what He says.
Communion is not an obligation, but a celebration.
Communion celebrates the Gospel: Jesus was broken for us so that we can be fixed by Him.
Celebrating communion marks the story of Jesus, how He gave Himself completely to give us a better life, a new start, and a fresh relationship with God (1 Peter 3:18). It’s not about a ritual to revere, but a person to worship. Jesus is less concerned about the method of celebrating communion and more concerned that we celebrate it.
As often as we remember Jesus, we should celebrate Jesus.
Communion is important because it’s a command to remember. Jesus wants us to remember every time we taste bread and wine, and even when we sit at the tables in our own homes, that He is the one who provides all we need. He gives us the physical food that we need to survive and the spiritual nourishment we need to keep taking next steps with Him.