The Lords Supper, Communion, Mass, it comes by many different names and depending on who you ask you may get very confused as to what this is all about.
Where does it come from?
This ‘sacrament’ is actually originally from the Old Testament, back in the day when God was taking Israel out of Egypt (Read in the bible Exodus 12). The Pharaoh was refusing to let the Israelites leave until finally God showed His power through plagues which sadly ended in the death of all the firstborn males in Egypt. On this night the Israelites were told to prepare to leave Egypt, they were to make bread without yeast to prepare for their journey and they were commanded to cover the doorposts of their houses with the blood of lambs so that the angel of death would pass by them- the pass-over. It would have been a horrific experience hearing the wailing of the thousands of mothers as they lost their children, and eating the lamb whose blood was covering the entrance to your house, and one would think it was unforgettable; but so that generation after generation of Israelites would never forget this night, they were to celebrate annually a Passover meal. This meal they were to remember God’s power at work for them, and how it is only by blood that sins can be ‘covered’ and ‘death’ will pass by that we may go in freedom to new life. Find it in the bible in Matthew 26; Mark 12; or Luke 22
The Passover and Jesus
What we now know as ‘the Last Supper’ was Jesus celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples before his crucifixion. It was at this meal that Jesus introduced himself as the ‘Passover Lamb’. He gave the Passover new meaning, it was because of His blood which would be shed (not the blood of animals, symbolised by the wine), and his flesh that would be broken (symbolised by the bread) that our sin would be covered (paid for) and we would have death pass over us, giving us freedom from sin and new and eternal life with God. Jesus said to his disciples whenever they do this (eat and drink) to remember Him (and His sacrifice for us).
What we do now
Just as the Jews would celebrate Passover to remember what God had done for them, and to remember that sin had a price to be paid, we too regularly celebrate with grape juice (some churches still use wine) and bread in our services. When we eat the bread and drink the juice we remember the sacrifice that was paid for us and we celebrate that we have Jesus who took our sin on the cross that we may be free.
Some consider this eating bread and drinking wine to be a supernatural event that miraculously the wine turns to blood and the bread turns to Jesus body once we eat it (Transubstantiation). We see it instead simply as a meal of remembrance, honouring and worshipping God for what He has done for us. We take communion acknowledging that it is only by what God has done on the cross that we may travel from slavery in sin to freedom as God’s people.