How can the last supper be explained? What is the true purpose and meaning behind it? Are we really supposed to imagine drinking blood and eating flesh as we remember Christ’s sacrifice? Denominations disagree with nearly every aspect of the last supper of Jesus Christ. We are going to first explore what it really is, the universal beliefs among Christians and finally into the amazing and beautiful theology that is rapidly gaining popularity. So, let’s get started with our analysis, the last supper explained.
What is the Lord’s Supper – a Visual Sermon
For those who aren’t familiar with the Lord’s Supper, also referenced as the Last Supper, let’s do a run through. For those who are familiar, feel free to skip down to the next section.
On the night before Passover, Jesus gathered with the twelve disciples for their last meal together before His crucifixion. During that time, Jesus spoke of things to come such as the betrayal, denial, and His death. Then, as seen in the verse above, He broke bread and passed a cup. He then stated that “this is my body, and this is my blood. Do these in remembrance of me.”
The next day was Passover when the Jewish priests would sacrifice the lambs to cleanse God’s people. However, this is also when Christ would be crucified, die, and be buried. Killed on Thursday, He would be resurrected on Saturday as prophesied (three days). Upon His resurrection, He fulfilled prophesies thousands of years in the making. He created a new covenant between God and man through Christ that we now refer to as Christianity.
The Last Supper and the Meaning Behind It- a Memorial
Like anything with God, the Lord’s Supper has more than just one purpose. Some denominations believe that the Lord’s supper is literally transformed into the body and blood of Christ upon prayer. Others believe that it is a symbol, an act of remembrance only. The truth is that we agree that the Last Supper is to remember the sacrifice, the death of Jesus Christ. He didn’t just die for our sins; His body was broken and His blood shed. He took on the pain and suffering we deserve and left it on the cross. An act of sacrifice, taking what we deserve upon Himself so that we can have an opportunity at salvation.
Many cultures use food as a way of remembrance. Here in the United States for example, we eat turkey, corn, etc. to remember the harvest feast shared by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people. Latkes are fried in oil for Hanukkah to represent the oil that kept the menorah burning for eight days. African Americans often use ancestorial foods to remember their heritage and honor those who suffered during slavery in America.
Food is a part of who we are as human beings. Therefore, it’s not abnormal to use food as a form of memorial or act of remembrance. It can often stand up to the test of time. As large statues and buildings crumble, these traditions live on. At least as long as we continue to practice them and pass them to the next generation. But it can also go much deeper than memorialization.
The Last Supper of Jesus Christ– Confirmation of the Covenant and our Proclamation
In a previous article, we discussed just how incredible the life of Jesus Christ was and how He made the impossible, possible. But even more than fulfilling prophesies that date back a millennia before His life, Christ’s actions also created a new covenant with God. No more sacrificing sheep to cleanse our sins or honoring the old customs of the Old Testament. We now have a mediator, through Jesus, to pray directly to God and know our Heavenly Father. Each time we partake of the Lord’s Supper we are proclaiming our faith in Jesus Christ and the new covenant. It is an outward expression of your walk of faith.
The Last Supper Explained- Unity
The last widely accepted belief is that the Lord’s Supper is a reminder that Christ is with us always. We do not partake of the communion alone but as a collective body, the unified body of Christ. It is an example of how Christ brings us together and we share in the salvation of His sacrifice. We are all equal in the eyes of God and each of us partake of this meal to build a sense of community with one another. Christ stated that the day before His death was the last time He would partake in this meal until He came back. So, we can remember Him each time we share communion together and focus on one day eating with our Savior in Heaven.
The Last Supper- a Deeper Analysis of Christ
Salvation is not found in a loaf of bread or in a cup, but in the faith and devotion to the sacrificial act they represent. Sometimes as Christians we get so caught up with serving and socializing that we lose focus on just what Christ endured in our place. For me, along with many other believers, communion has a much deeper meaning than the routine we sometimes like to make it. I hope this new outlook helps you, if you are beginning to see it the same way.
If you have followed our writing, you know the one thing we will never do is limit God. There is never just one meaning and one purpose to anything our Creator does. We can discover infinite possibilities if we simply focus on His Word and listen to what the Holy Spirit speaks to us. One of these things is regarding the meaning of the Last Supper.
I grew up in a church where I often served as an usher for service, but no matter my role, we offered the Lord’s Supper every Sunday morning and every Sunday night. Even now, I see nothing wrong with that, but it became a routine for me more than something special. As I got older and grew in my spiritual life, I began to see this act as something so much more. Remembrance alone is enough for me to want to partake, but even then, I felt more purpose.
The things we consume, hamburgers, hotdogs, vegetables, alcohol, etc. all become a part of our body. If you eat healthy and train, your food becomes muscle. If you are as addicted to cookies as I am, they become fat. But the things we put into our mouth we are internally consuming and making it, in some small way, a part of who we are. I love the saying, “you are what you eat.” If that’s the case, my youngest son is bound to turn into a little Cheese-it one day. But what if we are consuming Jesus and His teachings. Not literally flesh and bone, but the thought of Him. What if we take something physical, like bread and juice, and use that as a medium to bring Jesus into ourselves.
If He is the living water from which we can partake and never thirst, why are we not dunking ourselves headfirst into that well? Just like any food, let’s take the Lord’s Supper as an outward act of consuming the acts of Jesus and making Him a part of who we are. Talk about healthy eating!
The Last Supper Analysis of the Mystery
The Last Supper was an example for Christ to show us how we can remember Him, memorialize His life and teachings as a single Christian body. It unifies us as Christian brothers and sisters as we confirm God’s new covenant and proclaim Jesus as king. But let’s also open our hearts as we partake of this special act and allow the Holy Spirit to speak new truths into us. Let’s take this spiritual meal and turn it into spiritual energy to comfort one another, bear fruit, and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives. We are not on Earth for a long time, we are here for God to accomplish the impossible through us. We need the Lord’s Supper and its power of unity to come together as one. Together, as God’s people, we can change the world and prepare Christ’s kingdom for His return.
Written by Jon and Kathleen Frederick with Seven11 and Co-Authors of Immersion “An Inspirational Christian Photography and Devotion Collection”