Taking communion is an act of confession. It’s a confessional act. When we confess something we are agreeing to the veracity of something – a criminal signs a confession, a statement agreeing that he committed the crime – when we confess our sins and claim Christ as Lord we agree to our sinful state and need for God – this is essentially what we are doing when we take of the Lord’s supper. This confession is made on three levels – past, present, future.
In taking of the bread and wine, we confess to the past reality that the historical person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth came into this world to give his life as a ransom for many – we confess, or we agree to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins to reconcile God and man – and that he rose again from the dead. Taking communion confesses this reality.
In the present sense, our taking of the meal confesses our desperate need for God – we recognize that we are “sinners in need of a savior” There is some overlap with past and present because in taking communion, in the past and present sense, we recognize we need deliverance from our sin and that placing faith in Christ is the means of our deliverance – the Lord’s supper is a memorial of another historical event – the Exodus. Exodus accounts the deliverance of Israel from slavery to the Egyptians. To bring about their deliverance, the Lord instituted the Passover Meal in which the people were to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and put the blood on the top and the sides of the door post so the angel of death would “passover” their homes and not take their firstborn. Fast forward to Christ and we see the Exodus as a type of what Christ was to do on the cross – hence what is referred to as the second exodus. The first was a physical deliverance, the second, a spiritual one. In taking communion we are confessing to our need for spiritual deliverance from sin.
Finally, in the future sense, our taking of the fellowship meal has an anticipatory element to it – we anticipate the day when we will take of the vine together with the Lord Jesus in his eternal kingdom and the marriage supper of the lamb. At the last supper, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he would not take of the vine again until we are all together in his Father’s kingdom – so in taking communion we are anticipating that day when we will all be together with the Lord in his eternal kingdom.
Taking communion is a confessional act – in so doing we are confessing to the reality of the cross of Christ, our need for God – and our hope of celebrating the meal with Christ in his eternal Kingdom.
picture used by permission: http://teresabernardart.com/communion-table/