The Lord’s Table
There is a connection between the OC Passover and the NC Lord’s Table. The Passover was an animal sacrifice that looked forward to the time when it would no longer be needed; it was a prophecy that looked forward to its fulfillment. That fulfillment was Christ, the Lamb of God being slain for us. As the OT believer ate it in faith they looked forward to the time in which the true Lamb would be slain for the forgiveness of their sins. The Passover also looked back at their deliverance from Egypt, but the danger for the Jew was to not realize that it primarily looked forward to true deliverance from sin.
As Christ prepares to fulfill that type, he institutes a new observance that causes us to look backward but also look at the present and to look forward as well. Like the Passover it anticipates a time in which it will no longer be needed. There are two basic truths that each NT account mentions.
First of all, they all tell us that the bread and the cup are symbols of his body and blood that were given for the remission of sins. In the original each one says consistently that the body was given and the blood was poured out. This is tied to how our sins are forgiven by his death and that this is the essence of the NC. And so the first thing the observance of this table does is to connect us to the past, to the day in which a suitable substitute was lifted up and took our place. He is the reason we are at peace with God because he took away the guilt of our sin. This is why Jesus said to do this in remembrance of me. We remember his death, we do not re-crucify him, and we thank God that he died once for all time for the sins of his people. Heb 10:12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, Heb 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Secondly, we don’t just remember but we eat the symbols. We acknowledge that Christ hasn’t just done something in the past but indwells us now and gives us life and light and joy and peace. He satisfies us with good things now and he has united us to his body and we share communion with God’s people now. We are growing in our knowledge and fellowship of him. He indwells us with his Spirit and has sealed us until the day of his return. Perhaps it is this last thing that we are to especially consider at the present. We have been united to his death so that it is a present reality and assurance to us.
Thirdly, this allows us to look forward to the day when we shall no longer observe a rite that reminds and anticipates because we will be safe in the eternal presence of God and in complete and unbroken fellowship with him. Sin will no longer cause us to forget and ignore our Savior but we will enjoy him perfectly.
In each of the gospel accounts Jesus makes it a point to say that he will not drink of the fruit of the vine until he does so in the kingdom of God. A lot could be said about this but I think Paul sums it up in his account where he says, 1Co 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Once he comes we won’t have to have this observance because we will be enjoying the fullness of the kingdom.
Bread and wine in the Bible also speak of our needs being met and the fullness of joy. Christ was saying that he is going away but when he comes back we will once again sit down with him and enjoy true fulfillment and true joy in the day in which all our enemies have been destroyed.
So this table unites our past and our present and our future. Because it is a celebration of Christ and he is our perfect salvation, our abundant life now and our glorious hope that awaits. Let us use it as time of worship; to thank him for being a perfect savior and to commit our present life to him and to be faithful until the day that he comes back for us to receive him unto himself.