Why is it Called the Lord’s Supper or Communion?
The Lord’s Supper is also called “the Lord’s table” (1 Corinthians 10:21), “communion,” “cup of blessing” (1 Corinthians 10:16), and “breaking of bread” ( Acts 2:42 ). In the early Church it was called also “eucharist,” or giving of thanks (Matthew 26:27), and generally by the Latin Church “mass,” a name derived from the formula of dismission, Ite, missa est, i.e., “Go, it is discharged.”
The account of when Jesus instituted this ordinance of communion is given in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20, and 1 Corinthians 11:24-26.
What is the Purpose of Communion?
-To commemorate the death of Christ: “This do in remembrance of me.”
-To signify, seal, and apply to believers all the benefits of the new covenant. In this ordinance Christ ratifies his promises to his people, and they on their part solemnly consecrate themselves to him and to his entire service.
-To be a badge of the Christian profession.
-To indicate and to promote the communion of believers with Christ.
-To represent the mutual communion of believers with each other.
The elements used to represent Christ’s body and blood are bread and wine. The kind of bread, whether leavened or unleavened, is not specified. Christ used unleavened bread simply because it was at that moment on the paschal table. Wine, and no other liquid, is to be used (Matthew 26:26-29). This is a permanent ordinance in the Church of Christ, and is to be observed “till he come” again. (Adapted from Easton’s Bible Dictionary.)
The primary biblical text on the nature and meaning of the Lord’s Supper/Table and Communion is 1 Corinthians 11:23-34. Here are ten brief observations on what we see in this text.