This post was written by Kasey Clark. Kasey is a pastoral assistant at New Circle Church.
Communion is a compelling call to evangelism. Pastor Barry encourages us, as the body of Christ, to take communion from this stance: “Look back, look at the present, and look forward.” My goal is to help you do that as we consider the significance of Christ’s last Passover meal in the final hours of his life. Let’s commit to accomplishing this by saturating our considerations with Scripture. And finally, let’s work toward this goal by structuring our considerations with the phrasing of Paul, who summed up the Lord’s supper in 1 Corinthians 11:26 like this: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.“
1. “The Lord’s Death” – Look Back
We initially see the story of the Passover take place in Exodus 12:1-32. (If you have never read this account, it would be extremely beneficial to you to take 5 minutes to read it.) The command is given that the people must kill the “Passover lamb”, one which is without spot or blemish (vs.5), and the blood of the lamb must be placed on the doorposts (vs.7). This was because the LORD was going to “pass through the land of Egypt that night.” His mission was to “strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt [He] will execute judgments.” And he did this that all may know that “I am the LORD.” The blood of the lamb is important because God said, “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 no plague will befall you to destroy you.” God goes public with His holiness (or we could say – His “separateness” from the god’s of Egypt) by establishing that judgment is the just consequence of sin, rebellion, and idolatry.
We see that the lamb gave his life so that those within the household did not have to give theirs. The lamb’s blood covered the household from the just judgment of God, designating safety for all inside the covering. The lamb’s blood signaled that those within the family were God’s people. If we take the above considerations and substitute each lowercase “l” in “lamb” with a capital “L”, we begin to see the continuity between the death of the Passover lamb in Egypt and the death of the Passover Lamb on Calvary. Next, let’s explore how the Israelites reacted to this information and how we must respond.
2. “You Proclaim” – Look at the Present
When Moses finishes telling the people of Israel about the institution of the Passover lamb, we see at the end of Exodus 12:27 that the people responded like this, “And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.” When the joy of this good news hit their ears, the result was an overflow of worship at the wisdom of God. The joy of finding out that there was a substitute could not be suppressed, and rather poured over into a humble worship.
This is the joy that Peter wrote about. 1 Peter 1:8 says, “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” Later in the same chapter, Peter explains the purpose behind this joy. He says:
“Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave Him glory.“
The plan all along was that Christ would be our substitute. And Peter ends chapter one by saying, “This word is the good news that was [proclaimed] to you.” The Lord’s supper is a compelling call to proclaim the gospel both to believers and nonbelievers alike!
3. “Until He Comes” – Looking Forward
Finally, we long for the day when we will eat the Lord’s supper with the Lamb of God. Jesus says in Luke 22:18:
“For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine
until of the kingdom of God comes.”
We, his bride, yearn for that day. For now, we eat and drink, proclaiming his death and his resurrection. All the while, we soar above the “here and now” in our hearts and crave the “there and then.” We ache to behold the King of Kings face to face and sing these songs with the angels in heaven:
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” – Revelation 5:9-10
“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Revelation 7:10
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen!” – Revelation 7:12
If these songs do not swell up the inexpressible joy in your heart for Christ, consider that we will wear white in the presence of God because of our Passover Lamb. Our sin will be gone. Our unrighteousness will no longer have a hold on us. Listen to how one of the elders describes why we will be clothed in white in the presence of God:
“They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
– Revelation 7:14
When you take communion, do you look back to Christ’s death? Do you look at the present by proclaiming the gospel? And do you look forward to the time when Christ comes back? If not, it’s not too late to change. Paul gives the solution, “You proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
In essence, Paul says this to you, joyfully proclaim the white-washing blood of the slain Lamb until He comes to sup with you and the rest of His bride in the kingdom! How magnificent is this Passover proclamation! Let these considerations not only move you the next time you partake in communion but let them also compel you toward evangelism of those who may not have been cleansed by the white-washing blood of the Lamb.