This service is an introduction to the subject of Communion as it relates to the synergy of Worship. We will explore the experience of Table Fellowship, Communion, Celebration of the Sacred Elements and Unity with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The word communion is defined as fellowship, interchange of thoughts or interests, a state of giving and receiving, agreement, concord and the Greek word for communion is koinonia which means fellowship, association, community, and joint participation. In 1 Corinthians 10:16-2 it means communion and specifically in Acts 2:42, communion is defined as fellowship.
The following is an excerpt from the text, Jewish Insights into the New Testament authored by Barbara Richmond.
The narrative of the Gospel of John writes,
The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself” (John 20:4-7).
John entered then and the scripture records, “So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed” (John 20:8) Was it just the linen wrappings, the absence of a Body that caused John to believer?
We know that every word of Scripture is meaningful and has purpose. In this description of the Resurrection account, have you ever wondered why John took pains to include this detail; i.e., that the face-cloth or linen napkin that was over the face of Jesus was rolled up (some translations say ‘folded’) in a place by itself? Why bother with such a minute detail?
In reality, it is not an insignificant detail but vitally important to the testimony of what happened in that rock-hewn tomb. Again, we must appeal to history and culture, to traditions and customs surrounding Middle Eastern hospitality.
If you were invited to dinner to an observant Jewish home in those days and found that you were well treated, every custom was properly followed, the meal was delicious and the fellowship uplifting, at the end of the meal you would take the napkin that had been provided to you and rumple it casually at your place before leaving the dining area of the house.
If, however, you had been insulted through a lack of appropriate courtesies, the food had been unpalatable, the conversation stilted and tense–in other words, you did not enjoy the evening–the expected response was for you to take your napkin, roll it or fold it in a particular way and set it to one side, signifying to your host and everyone else present that you would never come to this house again!
When Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, well aware that hundreds of Jewish eyes would look into the empty tomb, He took a moment to fulfill a very common and well understood custom. He took the napkin that had been over His face, folded it in the prescribed manner and laid it to one side to leave a clear and unmistakable testimony. That folded napkin said to every Jew who saw it, “I will never come here again!”
When the Scripture says that John “saw and believed” this is what it refers to. John immediately recognized the message encoded in the piece of rolled up fabric. Jesus was speaking to them as strongly as He ever had in words. “I was not well treated, I did not enjoy this experience, I will never come here again!” Never again would He suffer the humiliation of crucifixion, never again would He inhabit a tomb. What David prophesied of Him had been fulfilled and He wanted His own to know it first. “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay” (Psalm 16:10). “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, …”(1 Peter 3:18).
Just a folded napkin? Just an insignificant detail? No, evidence that demands a verdict rolled up in a piece of linen (43-46).
On the table before you are symbolic linen napkins with a Scripture enclosed. It is the intentional act of a divine exchange as you come to the Communion Table. Please bring to the table something to leave such as fear, anger, pride, jealousy, wounded spirit or unbelief in exchange for a promise, a hope, a word from the LORD.
Psalm 22:3 reveals the praises of Israel enthrone God, or that the LORD inhabits the praises of HIS people. Praising and worshipping the LORD brings a sacred holy presence which transforms all dimensions of our lives. ELOHIM does not anoint our praises, HE inhabits our praises with the understanding that the Hebrew definition of inhabit means to dwell, to remain, to continue with and to marry; all of which speak of a covenant relationship. It is an intentional choice to remain in the Presence of ADONAI. As with the woman with the issue of blood, who pressed through the crowd for just ONE TOUCH of Yeshua and let go of the cultural standards of her time in history, in like manner we must let go of the cultural and religious standards of our time in history and press through the recognized and unrecognized obstacles to receive just ONE TOUCH of Yeshua.
When God inhabits our praises, it is not an endorsement of the worship leader, the meeting, the church and/or the organization. ADONAI will come because it is HIS character to keep HIS covenant word to HIS people. Religion is always about what the individual is accomplishing, a focus on self. Authentic Christianity is much more about a discipleship type of relationship with Jesus Christ than a performance of liturgical rituals. As Bonhoeffer pens so succinctly “Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ” (59).
The Holy Spirit anoints teaching and preaching, not praise. The reason we pray and ask for anointing before we teach is because we are dependent upon the anointing of Christ Jesus. Teaching and preaching are not functionally the same as the act of worship. As a student of the Bible, there is great wisdom to be discerned and indisputable knowledge to be gained in the observance of the response of Jesus Christ towards Judas, his betrayer. A Biblical portion of Passover, the Last Supper, Communion with Jesus Christ is the betrayal of Judas. In our own lives, it is the overcoming of betrayal and the forgiving of others that brings harmonious unity to Table Fellowship with other believers. Purity in worship includes complete reconciliation and restoration of relationships. Let us review the Scriptures.
On the first day of Passover the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, a large room in the heart of Jerusalem, and when it was evening Matthew verse twenty reads,
He took his place (he knew his position among them) with the twelve, and while they were eating (table fellowship Passover meal), he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, LORD?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.”
The bowl on the table was filled with olive oil for dipping unleavened bread, symbolic of the hardened hearts of the people as relates to the Jewish Passover Meal. The bowl was filled with olive oil to make the bread more palatable. It was common courtesy, common manners of the day not to dip while someone else was dipping or to put one’s fingers or hand in the oil because the bowl of oil sat on the table for days. In our American Culture it would be like double dipping in the Guacamole or Ranch Dip. Was the Christ Jesus, the Anointed One addressing table manners at the last meal with His disciples? It seems probable that His subject manner was of far greater eternal importance.
In Matthew 26:23 the word hand means “the hand that grasps power” therefore, the sentence sounds something more like this: He who dipped his hand, is grasping power with me, (the Son of Man/Jesus Christ), in the dish, (the bowl filled with oil representing anointing), and he will betray me. The one who puts his grasping power into the anointing with me is lukewarm, not close or sensitive to me and is presuming to use the power that I have for his own gain.
What betrayal means is to find a way to give one’s power to another. To find a way to take the spiritual gifts that God has given to me–and give it to another for that individual to dominate, control and/or rule over me and others. It is an unholy presumptuous act to take what is not yours such as an anointing, gifting or an authority of the Most High God and give it to another for personal gain. Judas received thirty pieces of silver for his act of betrayal. Unfortunately, the one, who most commonly betrays, is someone like Judas who was close to Jesus Christ and intimately knew HIS spiritual authority, HIS anointing and the integrity in which HE walked.
Because of the public ministry of Jesus Christ and Judas walking alongside Him for about three years…it is difficult to imagine the audacity of Judas to put his hand in the bowl, with the anointing of the King of Kings and LORD of Lords, the Holy Son of God, Jesus Christ. Because we are born with a self-centered nature, we have the capacity to betray each other. Only through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit are we positioned to live without betraying those we love.
What was the motivation of Judas? Was it anger or jealousy? Was he trying to get justice in an unjust world? Did he have a wounded spirit, troubled childhood or was it just about money? How did the chief priests and elders convince him to do it? Regardless of the motivation, it was impossible for Judas to fully know the outcome of the betrayal. He could not have known the outcome of the meeting with the Chief Priests. Nor could he have known that Jesus would be taken before Pilate. Truly, only God knew the heart of Judas, just as HE only knows our hearts. The testimony is recorded in Matthew 27:4,
When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the Chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
Let us return to the Upper Room in the heart of Jerusalem, the Passover narrative continues in Matthew 26:26-30,
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”
Participating in Communion is the intentional act of celebrating unity with the body of Christ and the Holy Trinity, a corporate gathering in one accord. Communion blends all the languages of the world, the symbols, the colors, the sounds, and the creation of the Divine Creator on a universal palette, a common table, a place of fellowship, a place of repentance, a place of forgiveness, a place of reconciliation, and a place of restoration. The Holy Trinity is the nucleus of worship, the place where the structures and forms of worship are birthed. Table Fellowship is the invitation of the Creator to humankind to step into the nucleus of covenant love. Communion with ELOHIM is the heart and synthesis of worship, the resonation of complete forgiveness, absolute restoration and total reconciliation with the symphony of heaven.
The Communion service is a symbolic action of worship including the languages of music, color, symbols and numbers. As an example, there is one cup symbolizing unity, the bread symbolizing Jesus Christ as the Bread of Life, and the wine signifies the new covenant. Each of the table elements coalesce, like streams merging into a river, in honor of Yeshua and HIS guests. As we participate in table fellowship, the communion service, we taste and see that the LORD is good and worthy to be worshipped!
We would like to offer you the opportunity to experience communion as demonstrated in the Gospel of Matthew at the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth. HE gave HIS life willingly for each of us that we might have intimacy with HIS Father, that the Holy Spirit would come and dwell within each of us, and that we would have eternal life with Him! We come as people of faith as is written in Hebrews 11:6,
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe HE exists and that HE rewards those who seek Him.”
As we partake of communion, we receive the new wine, the new oil, the new grain, and the new covenant of Jesus Christ! We receive forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, redemption and renewal and we receive the fullness of a loving God’s blessings, favor, mercy, grace and overt love. We choose to leave our personal history in the tomb of Jesus Christ for eternity and receive the fullness of HIS resurrection power, atonement and anointing for HIS eternal glory.
The communion table is open for all to come and partake of communion with King Jesus. Hebrews 6, 7 and 8 speak of our Jesus Christ our High Priest of the Melchizedek Order…the one who ushered in the new covenant. When we come to the table to meet our King, our Savior, our LORD, our High Priest, we pause and take a moment for reflection. We recommend taking at least two pieces of bread, the first is to dip in the olive oil and the second is to dip in the juice.
Pray closing prayer and invite to Open Heaven Worship.