Holy Week in the Christian year is the week before Easter or Christ’s resurrection. It begins on Palm Sunday which commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and follows the final week of His life leading up to His crucifixion, death and burial.
On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, He spent time with His disciples and they ate the Passover meal together before He suffers (Luke 22: 14-18). He has a farewell discussion with them (John 14-17) telling them that He would be going away to the Father, that He will send the Holy Spirit, He bestows peace on them, commands them to love one another, explains that He is the Vine and they are the branches, warns about upcoming persecutions, then prays for them and the future church. He also instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. Jesus declared that He was giving His body and shedding His blood for us (Luke 22:19, 20). Holy Communion represents the New Covenant we have through Christ’s blood (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:12-15; 13:20, 21).
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner, He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you and many sleep. 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 (NKJV)
Earlier in His ministry He had revealed to them that He was the true bread that came down from heaven from God the Father and gives life to the world (John 6: 32-33). Many disciples couldn’t understand what He meant and turned aside from following Him. Jesus gives us His life and all that He is and has.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 (NKJV)
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, 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. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” John 6:53-56 (NKJV)
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63 (NKJV)
When Jesus died on the cross, He became a curse for us that the blessing of Abraham might come upon us (Galatians 3:13, 14). Through His death and resurrection He defeated the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2); (i.e. sin; sickness and disease; poverty and lack); defeated Satan (John 12:31), disarmed principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15), destroyed the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), obtained the keys of Hades (Hell) and death (Revelation 1:18) and took back dominion of the earth He had given to man (Genesis 1:28; Psalm 115:16) that man had lost to Satan (Luke 4:6) through disobedience back in the garden of Eden.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18 (NKJV)
When we take the Holy Communion, it is not a ritual, but a blessing to be received. We are partaking of His life and remembering what He has done for us. When we partake of the bread, we are declaring that by Jesus’ stripes we are healed and that Jesus’s health and divine life flows in our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11). And when we partake of the cup, we are declaring that we are forgiven and have been made righteous through Jesus’ blood which has given us right standing before God and therefore we are celebrating our inheritance that Jesus has provided i.e. salvation, healing, provision, deliverance, protection, wholeness, preservation, prosperity, etc.
Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains) yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4, 5 (NKJV)
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)
Jesus has brought us healing for our spirit, soul and body.
Taking Holy Communion helps us to visualize the new covenant. The veil that was in the Temple is like His flesh which was torn when He died on the cross so now we can boldly enter into the presence of God. The cup represents the blood of Jesus which gives us access to enter the holy place where we were not able to go before. We are made perfect through the blood of the everlasting covenant (Hebrews 13:20, 21); we have redemption and are redeemed from the power of evil (Ephesians 1:7); we overcome the devil through the blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11); His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7); etc.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, 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 10:19–22 (NKJV)
Taking Holy Communion is supposed to be a celebration of remembering what Jesus has done for us and the authority, power and victory that we have in Him! That is why the Lord tells us that each time we take it we are remembering His death till He comes. We aren’t just remembering His death but aligning ourselves with the reality of His resurrection on the third day (Ephesians 4:8-10; 2:6; John 11:25, 26)!
We are reminding the devil that he lost, Christ has won over sin and darkness and we are in Christ, the victorious one (1 John 4:4; 2 Corinthians 2:14)! There is power in proclaiming the Lord’s death! We are proclaiming to the principalities and powers that they have been disarmed because Christ has triumphed over them and He has given us the victory (Colossians 2:15; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 15:57)! We should be living in His resurrection power on a daily basis (Ephesians 1:19, 20; Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:4; Colossians 3:1-4).
It isn’t a time to be focusing on ourselves but on what Christ did for us. We examine our hearts and if the Holy Spirit brings something to our remembrance that needs to be forgiven, we ask for forgiveness for ourselves and forgive others. We should be doing this daily not just during this time. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) so as a believer, we shouldn’t be fearful of taking Holy Communion. However, it is important to heed the warning about eating the bread and drinking the cup in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-29) as Holy Communion is only for believers, the body of Christ. Judgement has come through a lack of discerning the Lord’s body.
Also when we partake of the bread without understanding the significance of the body of our Lord to bring us healing and wholeness, we are not properly discerning His body. We would then be taking it in an unworthy manner and therefore many have died for a lack of understanding this (1 Corinthians 11:30). The manner in which we take it will determine whether we experience the benefits of the Lord’s body (Psalm 103:2-3). When you fail to discern His body properly, you are negating what He did on the cross. We must partake believing by faith in the work of the cross so that we can be made well. In order to receive the fullness of His life into our lives, we need to take Holy Communion by faith like everything else we receive from God.
I grew up in a church that didn’t focus on the significance of the bread for healing. They put stress on examining yourself to see if you had any sin in your life and then the importance of the cup representing Jesus’ blood for forgiveness. I felt so guilty and unworthy at times that I didn’t take it. It was very freeing and joyful when the Lord showed me that He gave His body for my healing as well and that His death on the cross, the shedding of His blood, took care of more than only my sins!
Holy Communion isn’t just for healing and forgiveness but for any area of our lives that we need to receive the abundant life that Jesus died to give us i.e. deliverance, provision, etc. It can be taken anywhere. It is not just for inside a church building but wherever a believer or believers are. We are His church, the Bride, the body of Christ! It can be taken with whatever you have available at the time i.e. juice, water, Gatorade, etc. and bread or crackers, etc. I use grape juice and communion wafers or Matzo crackers. It doesn’t matter what we use, the importance is to remember what Jesus paid for on the cross and to receive that into every area of our lives.
Even though we may take Holy Communion daily or as often as desired declaring and being thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18) for what Jesus has done, it should never be taken lightly but with reverence, respect and honor. Jesus gave us an example when He gave thanks (1 Corinthians 11:24).
So whether you believe the elements in Holy Communion are symbols commemorating Jesus’s death; He is spiritually present but not in the elements themselves; or that the elements literally become the body and blood of Christ; Holy Communion is a celebration of the New Covenant and victory we have through the work of the cross. He is inviting you to come fellowship with Him and one another at the Lord’s Table. Remember, Jesus came to give us life and that more abundantly (John 10:10)!
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20, 21 (NKJV)