(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
(10). The Institution Of The Lord’s Supper
The Passover Feast commemorated the time when the angel of the Lord “passed over” the homes of the Hebrew people sparing the lives of their firstborn sons as opposed to the death of the Egyptian firstborn sons. It was during this feast, and after Judas had left the company, that our Lord Jesus instituted what has become known as “The Lord’s Supper”, or the “Communion Service”. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.”.
The celebration of the Lord’s Supper has been a point of controversy throughout the history of the Church as to the meaning of the Bread and the Wine. While some hold to the teaching of transubstantiation, and others teach that partaking of the bread and the wine is the same as partaking of the actual body and blood of the Christ, there are those that hold to the teaching that the bread and wine are mere symbols of the body and blood of Christ, understanding that our Lord Jesus was simply using a figure of speech when He said “this is my body… This is my blood” in the same way as He said, “I am the true vine”.
After He had instituted the supper, our Lord then explained the real meaning of the ceremony by adding “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” . This new feast was no longer relating to the lamb slain in Egypt, but now it identified the Lord Jesus Christ as the new “Passover Lamb” whose blood would be shed on the cross for the remission of the sins of the people of the world, and He concluded by saying, “I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” ,referring to the millennial kingdom where, with His resurrected disciples, He would once again participate, leaving us with no indication that wine will be drunk in heaven.
The apostle Paul later confirms this remembrance feast in his letter to the Corinthian Church where he states that he received the instruction from the Lord and he was passing it on to them (and to the Church in general): “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” <1 Cor.11:23-26>. Thus the Lord’s Supper is a commemoration feast of the Lord’s death until He returns to set up His millennial kingdom.
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood…” this is a reference to that predicted by the prophet Jeremiah for the death of our Lord Jesus and the shedding of His blood would introduce this New Covenant in which salvation would be an individual choice and decision for all mankind, for Jeremiah writes, “”I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”” , the writer to the Hebrews also picks up this comment and adds “…to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood…” .