A Question About Communion
A reader writes:
I am listening to JP right now and heard him say something that I have thought about for a REALLY long time. When Yeshua has the disciples in the upper room for Passover and says “do this in remembrance of Me…” we share the wine and the matza during the seder…..BUT in my church [edited] they have “communion” (isn’t that a catholic word???) every month and say as Jesus said to do this as often as you gather and in remembrance of Me. What are they bringing to remembrance? The crucifixion? I want this clarified if possible. I am 99% leaning toward “doing this in remembrance of Me”….is every year when celebrating Passover to do this. Is this correct or what am I missing? Thank you so much for your help.
Thank you for your question. But with loving respect in Jesus, no, this is a wrong idea for the following reasons:
(1) As we see in Acts 2 and other places, the Apostolic church which received its instructions and doctrines directly from Jesus and the Apostles celebrated the Lord’s Supper regularly, not annually. The early church celebrated the Lord’s Supper in the course of Agape fellowship meals weekly which we also derive from Jude’s epistle and “the Lord’s Day” reference in Revelation 1. This is additionally supported by early Christian historical documents as an extra-scriptural historical coorboration such as The Didache.
(2) Culturally observant Jewish families to this day continue to observe a kind of “mini Paschal Seder” every Shabbat of each week throughout the year called “Kiddush Shabbat“, likewise celebrated with bread and wine. There were additionally multiple Seder meals in the time of Jesus in addition to the main “Erev Hag” Seder as there are today among ultra-Orthodox Jews throughout Hag Matzot (the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread), plus the provision for bereaved families to hold a Seder a lunar month later. Hence when we understand the Judaic cultural setting of the time of the Gospels (what theologians call Sitz im Leben), there is more to Passover than a one time annual event. It is the Jehovah’s Witness cult who push this once a year misunderstanding which, as with much of what they do, they do in ignorance of the Scriptures.
(3) If we took “as often as you do this” to apply only to Passover it would mean the Lord’s Supper is only for Jewish believers (a false belief) because Acts 15 tells us that non-Jews do not need to observe statutes God decreed for Israel apart from four specific things (actually deriving from the Noahide legislation not Torah). 1 Corinthians 7:17-19 likewise states that believers should not abbrogate their own cultural identities. It would also contradict the teaching of Colossians 2:16-18 and Romans 14:4-5 concerning any compulsory festal observance. Communion is a theologically valid trem for the Lord’s Supper (although not my personal term of choice) in that it describes us as being “One Body” in our commemoration of His death and resurrection “Until He Comes”.
We interpret the Gospels in light of the Epistles. The Episltes are inspired cannonical apostolic commentary; they are the portion of Scripture that explains other Scripture. We understand what Jesus meant by reading His Words through the prism of the Apostles explanation of His Words. What you appear to be doing is reading what Jesus stated without reading what the Apostles, writing under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, explain about what He stated. The main Paschal Epistle is 1 Corinthians. The crux of our understanding of the Lord’s Supper and its relation to Passover is in 1 Corinthians 5 and 11.
We trust this clarifies matters.,
Jacob Prasch & Moriel