Until He comes — a communion meditation
- “Then John’s disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don’t fast?” Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn while the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast” (Matthew 9:14-15 NET).
- “For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26 NET).
Today is worldwide communion Sunday, so we are going to share the bread and the cup today. I’m also speaking in just a few minutes on Jesus’ command concerning fasting. There is a connection between these two rituals — the ritual of fasting where we go without eating, and the ritual of communion, where we eat a special meal in memory of Christ’s death on the cross.
Jesus told John’s disciples that he — the bridegroom — would be taken away from us. He was taken away when he returned to heaven. He is not here among us in physical form. He will not be among us physically until he returns. So, it is appropriate that each of us sets time aside from our normal schedule to fast, to mourn the fact that he is not here.
It is also appropriate that we gather together in his name to remember what he did when he was among us. He is more than the Bridegroom. He is the Lamb of God. His death on the cross paid the price for our sins. If he had not done that, our destiny would be universal death. He is our substitute.
The bread that we eat reminds us of his broken body. The cup that we share reminds us of his shed blood. Sharing this meal is one way that we proclaim his death, and what it means.
There is another thing that connects these two rituals. We are not commanded to fast all the time because the Bridegroom will not always be away. He is coming back. Arthur Wallis wrote in God’s Chosen Fast, “The fast of this age is not merely an act of mourning for Christ’s absence, but an act of preparation for His return. May those prophetic words “Then will they fast” be finally fulfilled in this generation. It will be a fasting and praying Church that will hear the thrilling cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” Tears shall then be wiped away, and the fast be followed by the feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”*
In the same way, the communion meal reminds us not only of what Jesus did in the past but also of what he is going to do in the future. We proclaim his death until he comes.
*Wallis Arthur. God’s Chosen Fast How Christians Can Change World Events through the Simple Yet Powerful Tools of Prayer and Fasting. Christian Literature Crusade 1986. p. 32.