Communion

Communion

Do you think that Messianic congregations should practice communion with bread and wine on a regular basis? I have noticed that some do, and some do not.

When Paul writes the Corinthians, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26), he delivers this instruction in the context of speaking to them about the yearly Passover meal (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:8-9). Many over the centuries, though, having been separated from the Hebraic Roots of our faith, have interpreted this as relating to the sacrament of communion. Certainly, while Christian communion has been a spiritually beneficial practice for many to remember the Last Supper, it is often removed from its First Century Jewish context, or its origins in the Passover. What we are to remember is the point in the seder meal where Yeshua lifted up the afikoman and said: “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19; cf. Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22).

It is our opinion that the Lord’s Supper, our remembering of when He said “This is My body,” should be observed once a year during Passover at a very solemn point in the seder meal. However, with this said we should understand why many Christians observe it more frequently. Remembering Yeshua’s Last Supper is by no means something that is wrong or “evil.” But, most Christians’ understanding of this is separated from the Last Supper being a Passover meal, and that is why communion is often observed with leavened bread in many churches (even though various Christian traditions do use some kind of leavenless bread).

Some Messianic congregations observe a form of “communion” with matzah or unleavened bread. This would be more accurate than what many churches do, but it is still a definite holdover from Christian observance. It is not “wrong” to partake of a communion when it is offered, especially if you are visiting a church with a friend or relative. Yet, proper halachah for the Messianic community should more closely try to keep it in line with the season of Pesach. If Messianic congregations serve a communion with leavened bread, typically challah, and wine, it can only be taken as kiddush and not a true remembrance of Yeshua’s Last Seder where matzah was used. If you are in an environment that observes this kind of an observance weekly, then partake of it, but if not and you are leading a home fellowship or study group, then we recommend you keep it consigned to Passover.

About J.K. McKee 636 Articles
J.K. McKee (B.A., University of Oklahoma; M.A., Asbury Theological Seminary) is the editor of Messianic Apologetics (www.messianicapologetics.net), a division of Outreach Israel Ministries (www.outreachisrael.net). He is a 2009 recipient of the Zondervan Biblical Languages Award for Greek. He is author of numerous books and commentaries, dealing with a wide range of topics that are important for today’s Messianic Believers.

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