God has always loved us with an everlasting, and therefore, unconditional love. He blessed Abraham and told him, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants” (Genesa 17:7). He doesn’t need a covenant to prove His commitment to us, but He makes covenant in order that we might clearly see His eternal loving-kindness. The gospel is the good news of God’s love expressed to us in covenant. Why did He make a covenant where He forgives all our sin before we were even born? Because He loves us with no strings attached! There is no other explanation.

To understand Communion, we must understand something that is at the heart of God’s dealings with man since the Garden of Eden. We must understand covenant. The idea of covenant and especially blood covenant is the foundation for everything God did to bring the man back into relationship with himself.

When man sinned, God killed an animal to provide a temporarily adequate covering for his sin. In doing so, He put the idea of blood covenant into man’s world. Starting with the animals sacrificed to cloth Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to the covenant with Abraham, we see God using covenant to have relationship with men.


The Meal Covenant In The Scripture

Every covenant ended with a meal that declared that the covenant was valid and now functional in the lives of the parties to it. The meal showed the covenant as the two representatives would eat of the same bread and drink of the same wine, telling the world that they were one. [simple_tooltip content=’28 But they said, “We have certainly seen that the Lord is with you. So we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, between you and us; and let us make a covenant with you, 29 that you will do us no harm, since we have not touched you, and since we have done nothing to you but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the Lord.’” 30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.’](Genesis 26:28-31[/simple_tooltip]; [simple_tooltip content=’44 Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.” 45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar. 46 Then Jacob said to his brethren, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a heap, and they ate there on the heap.’]31:44-46)[/simple_tooltip]

The covenant that God made with Abraham came into effect with a covenant meal, at which time Abraham killed the calf and Sarah baked her cakes; the angel of the Lord, and two angels ate and drank the meal Abraham and Sarah had prepared [simple_tooltip content=’6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quickly, make ready three measures of fine meal; knead it and make cakes.” 7 And Abraham ran to the herd, took a tender and good calf, gave it to a young man, and he hastened to prepare it. 8 So he took butter and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree as they ate.’](Genesis 18:6-8)[/simple_tooltip]. The meal was the signal, for the covenant promise made long ago was about to be fulfilled and Sarah would have her miracle son.

The Israelites were delivered from Egypt and slavery in fulfillment of one of the promises of the covenant with Abraham, but the deliverance was in fact a little covenant that centered in the Passover meal [simple_tooltip content=’1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. 17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’” 21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. 24 And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25 It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ 27 that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.’](Exodus 12:1-27)[/simple_tooltip]. The door of each home had been smeared with the blood of the lamb that they were about to eat. As they walked through the bloody door, they were declaring their covenant status with God, sheltered by Him from the judgment that was to fall on Egypt; by eating the lamb, they became one with the covenant sacrifice. Their being taken from Egypt and formed into the people of God took place in a covenant meal.

The covenant made at Sinai, which we now call the old covenant, recorded in [simple_tooltip content=’1 Now He said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 And Moses alone shall come near the Lord, but they shall not come near; nor shall the people go up with him.” 3 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has said we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord. 6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.” 9 Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank. 12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” 13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. 16 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.’]Exodus 24[/simple_tooltip], came into effect when the covenant meal was eaten with God. The amazing sight is recorded in verses 9-11 of that chapter, which tell us, “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel… So they saw God, and they ate and drank.”

God and man sat down and ate together! This was the making of the old covenant, and we must anticipate something even far more wonderful in the new and better covenant.

On the eve of His death—or, if we use the Jewish method of counting days, on the same day as His suffering and death—Jesus instituted the covenant meal of the new covenant.


19And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19-20)


The Old Covenant Provision

If we are going to understand what the communion is to us, we must have some understanding of what Passover was to the Hebrew people. If we were reading the story of Exodus, we’ll see that a dinner has just become a central part of the story. Why? The answer is covenant. All blood covenants had certain elements that were part of the process. One of those elements was a covenant meal.

During the first Passover, they killed the lamb and put the blood on the doorposts. This caused the destroyer to pass over their families because God said, “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you…”  (Exodus 12:13)

The blood was for the people’s forgiveness.  The blood covered the people’s sins and appeased the righteous requirements of God.

But what did they do inside the house? They ate the roasted lamb and the unleavened bread [simple_tooltip content=’Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.’](Exodus 12:8)[/simple_tooltip]. This was to give them strength for the journey. It was not natural strength that they received. It was supernatural.

All who followed the Lord’s instructions were delivered from the plague of death that night, but that was not all of the Passover meal’s benefit. Psalm 105:37 tells us that when He brought them out (the very next day), there was not one in the estimated two and a half to three million people who were sick or unable to travel: “He brought them out with silver and gold; and among His tribes there was not one who stumbled.” That word stumbled in the Hebrew language means literally “to be feeble, weak, cast down, or decayed.”

In the natural, a group of that size would have its share of people who were suffering from disease and degeneration of body, who would not be in any shape to make an exhausting trip like the one that lay before them. So there must have been something miraculous that took place from the time they partook of the lamb the previous evening to the time of departure. The blood broke the power of the plague and death, and the body of the lamb imparted physical health and strength to these people.

We know that this lamb was a mere shadow of the real substance.  So if the body of a “shadow lamb” could bring such supernatural results, how much more the body of the true “substance lamb” our Lord Jesus Christ!


The Lord’s Supper as Confirming the Covenant

1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “…For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” Jesus Christ is considered the final Passover Lamb – the final sacrifice to break the power of the curse and death.

If you take time to study the Passover meal, you find that certain elements, particularly a portion of bread and a glass of wine, were always set aside in recognition of the coming Messiah. However, Jesus took these very elements and handed them to His disciples saying, “…Take, eat; this is My body,” and “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

He’s telling them that from now on, they won’t partake of the Passover celebration to remember the great deliverance from Egypt, but to remember the finished work accomplished by Him for our deliverance from sin and all its evil consequences. Moreover, they are to believe that as they partake of the elements of the meal, they also partake, in a special way, of the powerful effects of His blood (which breaks the power of sin and its curse) and His body (which took our infirmities and carried away our diseases). That Body and Blood have overcome, and bring to each of us that same victory.


It should be clear that the blood and the body have two different applications.  This is consistent throughout the Bible.

  • The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” [simple_tooltip content=’Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.’](Isaiah 53:4)[/simple_tooltip]. In the Hebrew, the words translated as “griefs” (choliy) and “sorrows” (mak’ob) are mistranslated in several English Bibles. The correct translation is “diseases” and “pains,” respectively. The Young’s Literal Translation states that, “Surely our sicknesses He hath borne, and our pains – He hath carried them…” This verse is quoted by Matthew in the New Testament, translated this way, and is applied directly to a context where physical illness is the subject at hand.
  • [simple_tooltip content=’that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”’]Matthew 8:17[/simple_tooltip] says, “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” In the Greek, “infirmities” is „astheneia” and it means bodily weaknesses.  So we can see very clearly that Isaiah was saying that the Messiah would take upon His own body, our bodily weaknesses, sicknesses, and pains.  In other words, Jesus bore not just our sins, but also our bodily weaknesses, sicknesses and pains.  This is what some writers called the “double cure.”
  • David described the double cure this way, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2-3). Notice that His benefits include the forgiveness of our sins as well as the healing of our diseases.

Healing, like forgiveness, is not a promise.  It is the blood-bought right of Christians. When Jesus took our punishment on the cross, it did not just bring us forgiveness, it also brought us healing.

So, Communion is the covenant meal of the “New Covenant in the blood of Jesus.” It’s God’s delivery system by which every good provision and blessing that Christ won for us at the cross is released in our lives. It is a time of Jesus giving to us, a time of us receiving from Him, and a time of enjoying the Lords love for us through a consciousness of His finished work.


The Reason Of Partaking Unworthily

If this is true, why many Christians are sick? Now, if the people of the world are sick, it should not surprise us.  They do not have Jesus Christ as their protection, so it is not wonder they are sick. But when believers are sick, it is necessary to know why.  And we do not want to draw our conclusions from human experience, but from God’s Word.

You might be surprised to know that the Bible gives one and only one reason why Christians are weak and sick, and die prematurely.

The apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 11:29-30, said, “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgement to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.”  Sleep here means death, not bodily rest.  Paul said, “For this reason…”  He did not say, “for these reasons.”  He was pointing us to one singular reason Christians become weak and sick, and die before their time.

And what is “this reason” that Paul was highlighting to us?  He said, “…not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason…”

The word “discerning” in Greek is “diakrinō,” which means “to distinguish” or “to separate.” Paul said that because of the lack of discerning – that Jesus’ body was broken for your healing, and Jesus’ blood was shed for your forgiveness – many are weak, sick, and die before their time.

So the reason the Corinthians became weak and sick was their failure to discern the Lord’s body. It means that they did not know why they were partaking of the body when they came to the Table.  They had no idea why there were eating the bread.  And this was the reason they were not receiving the divine life of their Savior, causing them to be weak and sick, and to die prematurely.

Since truth is parallel, it means that if we do discern the Lord’s body, we will walk in His health and wholeness.

This is only logical.  The same can be said of the opposite words. For example, the opposite word for small is tall; or the opposite word for small is big. So it follows that if Paul said, “…not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep,” then it must be that when we do discern the Lord’s body, we will be strong and healthy, and live long.


Discerning The Body And The Blood Of The Lord

In order to fully receive God’s provision of health and healing, as well as every aspect of His abundant life into our lives, it’s important for us to understand what the bread and the cup represent, and to discern the two elements correctly when we partake of the Holy Communion.


(a) First, we need to understand what the bread represents.

At the Last Supper Jesus handed out the bread, said it was his body, and told the disciples to eat it in remembrance of him [simple_tooltip content=’And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”’](Luke 22:19)[/simple_tooltip], He didn’t say much else because no doubt they could all recall the fuss that happened the last time He said He was the bread of life:


I am the bread of life… I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world… I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:48, 51-54)

As a result of these words many disciples turned away from following Jesus [simple_tooltip content=’From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.’](John 6:66)[/simple_tooltip]. To them, the idea of eating his flesh and drinking his blood was repelling. They did not grasp that Jesus was referring to his impending sacrifice – that he would give up his body in fulfillment of [simple_tooltip content=’4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His striped we are healed.’]Isaiah 53:4-5[/simple_tooltip] so that we might have life.

Also, when Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is My body,” the disciples did not need any other explanation. These men were with Him every day and not once did they see Him sick. They saw His body was vibrant, full of life and full of health, so that the crowds were healed only by touching Him [simple_tooltip content=’And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.’](Luke 6:19)[/simple_tooltip].

His body was so filled with life that even His clothes were soaked with His health.  The Bible says that a woman with an issue of blood for 12 years came to Him knowing that He was her only hope. [simple_tooltip content=’25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”’](Mark 5:25-34)[/simple_tooltip].

The disciples knew better than anyone else that taking the bread meant ingesting His health into their mortal bodies.

God wants you to see the bread as the body of Jesus— stricken, beaten, torn, and broken for your healing and wholeness.


(b) Second, we need to see what the cup represents.

 When Jesus took the cup, He announced a new covenant based on His blood: „This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [simple_tooltip content=’And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”’](Matthew 26:28)[/simple_tooltip].

Paul’s epistles make it very clear that the blood of Jesus brings forgiveness of sins [simple_tooltip content=’in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.’](Colossians 1:14[/simple_tooltip]; [simple_tooltip content=’In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace’]Ephesians 1:7)[/simple_tooltip]

In fear of eating and drinking in an unworthy manner, many Christians treat Communion as a time of somber reflection. But was there ever a better reason of joy and celebration than this? Think about it: We who were once defiled by sin have been washed white as snow [simple_tooltip content=’“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’](Isaiah 1:18)[/simple_tooltip]. Our guilty consciences have been cleansed and our forgiveness has been eternally secured by the precious blood of Jesus [simple_tooltip content=’let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.’](Hebrews 10:22[/simple_tooltip]; [simple_tooltip content=’but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.’]1 Peter 1:19)[/simple_tooltip].

So, God wants you to be conscious that because the Son of God paid the penalty for your sins, you have been completely forgiven and made righteous.


In the next article, we will look more closely at what Paul meant in that passage of 1 Corinthians 11, which seems to be one of the most abusive and misunderstood passages of the Bible. Until then, the next time you hold the bread in your hand, see Jesus at the scourging post. See Him taking the stripes for you. See one stripe after another landing mercilessly on His body for the healing of whatever ailment or sickness is holding your body captive. Tell yourself, “Surely He has borne my sicknesses and carried my pains.” That is how you discern the Lord’s body when you partake of the Lord’s Supper. And when you discern the Lords body like this, you will be strong, healthy, and live long!

And when you drink of the cup, be conscious that because the Son of God paid the penalty for your sins, you have been completely forgiven and made righteous. Partake, rejoicing that the blood of Jesus has given you right standing before God so that you can always come boldly into His presence, and find His grace and mercy to help you at every point of need [simple_tooltip content=’Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’](Hebrews 4:16)[/simple_tooltip]!