Communion As It Should Be

John 13:1-17 “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

Ordinance of humility in foot washing.

Why Peter refused. He did not understand. He did not understand that the washing of his feet was a type of higher cleansing that Jesus was performing. Jesus even said that he was not going to understand this now, but he will later. Jesus came to cleanse the heart from sin. When Peter refused to allow Jesus to wash his feet, he unknowingly refused the higher cleansing; he was actually rejecting his Lord here. As we know, Jesus never did anything without a good reason. Peter did not understand that it was not humiliating for Jesus to wash his feet.

Humility is to always receive with a thankful heart. Any provision the Lord gives us needs to be met with total thanks and appreciation. We must always bow to any command our Lord gives us and do all that He asks us to do in this walk He has us walk.

When Jesus said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me” Peter immediately surrendered his pride and bowed to Christ as he should have done in the first place. Like with any Christian today, Peter could not endure even the thought of being separated from Christ … that would have been death to him. In response, Peter asked his Lord to wash his hands and his head as well. Jesus said that as long as Peter’s feet (or walk) were clean, there is no need to wash anything else because the whole self is clean, or “is clean every whit”.

Foot washing means more than just bodily cleanliness. For example: just like those who come from the bath are clean, the sandaled feet soon became dusty again because of walking the road of life. Jesus instituted foot washing as a way for us to understand that we need to gather in communion with Him every now and then to be cleansed of the dust of the sinful tendencies we come across in life, in the same way your feet get dusty if you walk down a dirt road. Your whole body is not getting dirty, just your feet. Temptation leads us into all sorts of evil areas and so we still need to gather with Him now and again for that cleansing grace He offers.

When Jesus washed to dust from their feet, He desired to wash away the alienation, jealousy, and pride from their hearts that they already had. This ordinance of foot washing was and is of far more consequence than simply washing dusty feet. At that time, not one of them was prepared to be in communion with Him … just like many of us are not ready now.

Like Peter and the other Apostles, we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ when we accepted Him as Lord and Savior long ago. Unfortunately, through contact with all the evils of the world (like walking down a dusty road), the purity of our hearts becomes soiled to some extent. And so, we need to come to Christ every once in a while, to receive His cleansing grace.

Until we are brought into a state of humility and love, none of us can participate in the memorial service of Christ’s shed blood. Our hearts must be cleansed. Pride and self-seeking create dissention and hatred. But all this got washed away as soon as the Lord washed the feet of His disciples. A change of feeling toward each other was felt in that upper room that day. Looking upon them that day, the Lord could easily say, “Ye are clean”. Well, except for Judas for course. That is why Jesus said, “Ye are clean, but not all”. Jesus knew about the union of heart and that they had love for one another. They had become humble and teachable, just as we become humble and teachable when we bow as a servant before our brothers and sisters to wash their feet.

Matthew 18:3 “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

How grievous must our evil tempers, our vanity, and our pride be to our Lord. Even so, as awful as we are with all our defilement, we must bring every bit of it to Him because only He is able to wash us clean. We are in no way prepared for this communion with Christ unless we are cleansed by Him and His perfect love.

We also need to keep in mind that no one was so exalted as Jesus … and yet He stooped down to perform the humblest duty and washed the disciple’s feet. He did this to warn His people to not be misled by the selfishness which dwells in the natural heart and is strengthened by self-serving.

Christ Himself set the example of humility. All too often many of us seek the higher place in life and refuse to stoop to any level other than that pedestal that we built for ourselves. This selfishness is what leads most people into Satna’s open arms and eventually, eternal damnation.

Jesus has given us a perfect example of the unselfish ministry which has its origins in God the Father. Our God does not live for Himself as some false religions teach. By creating the world and upholding all things every hour of the day, He is constantly ministering for others.

Matthew 5:45 “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Jesus was given unto us to stand at the head of humanity. Still, by His example, He still taught what it means to minister. His whole life was under a law of servitude 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He served all, and ministered to all, as is evident in the well recorded Gospels and epistles, let alone all 66 books of the Bible. He lived the Law of God. And by His example He showed how we are to obey that very same Law.

Pride is something man has always had an issue with. Remember when James and John asked for preeminence in the Kingdom? Jesus said …

Matthew 20:26 “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.”

In His Kingdom, the fleshly lust for supremacy and pride has no place. The only greatness is the greatness of humility in New Jerusalem. When Jesus finished washing their feet, He said, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” This ordinance is what our Lord Jesus Christ appointed on that very day as His command to His bride as preparation for His sacramental service.

While pride, variance, strife, and supremacy are cherished the heart simply cannot enter into fellowship with Jesus … we are not prepared to receive the communion of His body and His blood if we are only in communion with Satan’s characteristics. Therefore, it was this foot washing that Jesus appointed the memorial of His humiliation to be first observed.

To be in communion is to be in agreement. One definition of the word “communion” is “sharing in common” or “in participation”. We simply cannot do that if we do not humble ourselves as Christ did, and how He commands us to do.

Remember what He said after He got done washing their feet? He said, “Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

Mankind has always had an issue with pride. We always seem to esteem ourselves above our brethren. We work for self, we seek the highest place, and in so doing we cause bitterness of spirit to grow within us. The ordinance preceding the Lord’s Supper, the foot washing, is to clear away these traits and these misunderstandings so as to bring man out of his selfishness and down from his self-built pedestal of self-exaltation. The ordinance of foot washing brings man down to the humility of heart that will lead him to honor.

Our Lord is watching from Heaven right now and is always present when we gather like this to search our souls. In His grace, our thoughts are then shifted off self and onto our brethren. The Holy Spirit always quickens sensibilities of those who follow the example of their Lord.

As our Savior’s humiliation is remembered when we follow His example, thought links with thought, a chain of memories is called up, memories of our Lord’s great and eternal goodness as well as the favor and tenderness of earthly friends, all of this comes to mind … yes, even blessings forgotten, mercies abused, and kindness slighted … their all brought back to mind. Roots of bitterness that have crowded out our love for each other are made manifest, defects of character, neglect toward duties, ingratitude toward God, coldness toward our brethren … all of this will be brought to our remembrance.

Sin is seen in the same light God sees it when we get on the same page with Him. Our thoughts are no longer thoughts of complacency anymore when we focus like this, but of severe self-censure and humiliation because we know “oh wretched men and women that we are”. Paul knew it, why wouldn’t we know it?

The mind is now energized to break down every barrier that has caused alienation between God and ourselves. And all evil speaking and evil thinking is put out of the way.

So, sins are confessed, and they are forgiven as we have been promised. And so, the grace of Christ comes into the soul and the love of Christ draws hearts together in a blessed unity, just as Jesus wants it to be … IF we are ever to be called His loving bride.

(Break for foot washing)

As we know, Jesus was about to end the keeping of the feast days at this point.

John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

The Lamb of God was about to offer Himself up as the eternal sin offering God’s people have been proclaiming as God’s plan for 4000 years whenever they offered up a lamb as an offering for their sins. It is 4000 years because Abel did it first.

The keeping of the annual feast days was ending, and the Lord’s Supper was now being established in its place as a way for God’s people to acknowledge all that the feast days pointed to for all those years and is now ending at the cross just as prophecy predicted. When Jesus said …

John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

All that the feast days pointed to were ended right at that very moment, regarding what He would do for us, and when, and why.

Matthew 27:50-51 “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;”

Daniel 9:27 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,”

When that Temple veil was ripped in two, it signified the end of those ordinances and sacrifices which pointed to Christ’s death. Our salvation was assured on that day and our taking in of His supper is our way of proclaiming our faith in that love filled act.

John 13:21-30 “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”

What many fail to realize at this point is the longsuffering of Jesus toward Judas. For those 3.5 years that Jesus shared and walked among them preaching, teaching, and healing the sick, He did all He could to reach Judas, but to no avail. Still, even though Judas had already made plans to betray Him, Jesus knew it and once again gave him the chance to repent by revealing His divinity to Judas. Jesus knew of his plans even though Judas did it all in secret. Sadly, he still ignored all that the Lord had showed him. That final call to repent was ignored and Judas did what he planned to do.

We can learn a great deal from the way Jesus treated Judas here. Even though Jesus knew from the start that he was going to betray Him … He still washed his feet. Judas was even allowed to participate in the sacrament of communion. Absolutely everything that He could have done for Judas was done for him. His example is for us.

When we look upon each other with a judgmental heart, whether we are right or wrong we are not to shun them or treat them in a hateful way because in so doing we lead them away from every opportunity to hear the truths we have to share that may bring them to repentance. As we see how Jesus worked with Judas, we too must work with those we assume to be in error or in sin. When the Lord washed their feet, all the apostles except Judas came to repentance and partook in the communion as they should.

Judas is the obvious example of those that come to communion unworthily because he claimed to be a follower of Christ yet sought to betray Him. Still, this does not mean we can exclude anyone from this gathering unless, of course, they are in OPEN sin before all the church.

An example of this would be a couple who are living together without being married. The following is plain in how we are to treat those who are in open sin.

1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”

Truth is, none of us can read the heart. So, unless their sin is in the open and is common knowledge to all, we are never to shun anyone from partaking in the communion. If they have hidden sin that we do not know about, then that is their problem. We cannot read their hearts, so there is nothing we can do. Like Judas, they claim Christ Lord but betray Him in their actions.

1 Corinthians 11:27-29 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

In other words, you cannot take advantage of that which He has done for you two thousand years ago. At the same time, the gathering together for communion is not to be considered a time of sorrow either. This is not why Jesus sanctioned it that night at the last supper. As the disciples gathered that night, they were not to sit about that table discussing or even contemplating their shortcomings, nor were they to dwell on their past religious experiences … whether they were elevating, or depressing does not matter. Even the differences they had between each other was not to be factored into this gathering; the washing of the feet took care of all that; it was gone.

So, like our relationship with Jesus, it is an individual walk. Our communion with Him is just as personal. Therefore, all self-examination is done before taking part. All sins have been confessed. Even all the differences between each other have been reconciled. Afterall, it is written in …

Matthew 5:22-24 “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

It is now that we come to meet with Jesus. All that was needed to be done beforehand has been done. It is not a shadow of the cross, but it is saving light that we are standing in right now. The bright beams of the Son of Righteousness are now upon us and with our hearts cleansed by His precious blood we gather now in full consciousness of His presence, even though we cannot see Him with our eyes or touch Him with our hands, we can still hear His loving voice declaring …

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

We are sinners saved by grace. Jesus died for us and we are His people. Because we are His people, we are often afflicted, persecuted, and hated by all nations for His sake. We can especially see this in today’s world. And it is only because of the truth He represents. Even still, we can stand firm in His name knowing that for us He gave His life.

No matter how difficult life gets, no matter how heavy the burdens become, we need to remember that Jesus endured the cross and all things pertaining to it! He did not just suffer the cross, He suffered through many grievous wounds before the cross. All this is without mentioning all He suffered in His heart as He dealt with the love He had toward everyone. So, even if the trial becomes very intense, we need to echo …

Job 19:25 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:”

Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

These are the things we are never to forget. We must keep the love of Jesus with all its constraining power always fresh in our memory.

Christ has instituted this communion service that it may speak to our senses of the eternal love of God that has been express on our behalf through Jesus Christ Himself. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Jesus. The union and love between brother and brother, sister and sister, and brother and sister must always be cemented and rendered eternal by the love of Jesus.

As heart wrenching as this may seem to some, especially to the angels in Heaven, and the unimaginable heartbreak of the Father, this loving act which Jesus performed for all mankind upon His cross 2000 years ago has blessed us with all that we need to gain salvation. Dying for us that way on that day, and for those reasons … what He did makes it so real in the hearts of billions and the countless numbers throughout the universe, just how powerful His love really is.

The bottom line is this: it is only because of His death that we can actually look with joy toward His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (pause for prayer and the eating of the bread …) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (continue on knees in prayer for drink)

John 2:10 “And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”

There is more than one way to see this passage that speaks of Christ’s first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana. First off, the doctrine of the Jews was as plain water, without any substance. The attendance of our Lord and Saviour at this wedding is no mistake. The symbolism surrounding it speaks volumes unto the soon commencing work of Christ. The water changing to new wine is to symbolize Jesus giving what some would naturally think to be “new” doctrine unto them. Even though it was thousands of years old, it was forgotten by most thanks to the corrupted teachers of the Law and their wishy-washy traditions and doctrines. Jesus came to speak truth and He exchanged the Jewish false doctrines with the truthful doctrine as it has always been in Heaven.

Whenever I think of the materialistic Pharisees who demanded strict obedience to their fabricated doctrines and traditions, I am often reminded of …

Proverbs 25:14 “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.”

Their doctrines, no matter how severely they were ordered upon their subjects, were like useless vapors or clouds without rain when it came to truth as it is written.

Also notice that after tasting the new wine Jesus created, the wedding governor stated, it was saved until “the end” of the wedding feast and not given at the start like most usually did in those days. This is also to symbolize how the obedient Christians understood more of the truth presented by Christ during His ministry than the Pharisees did. This also applies to us in today’s world because we certainly are at the end of time. And His truth has been opened up to us as prophesied by Daniel the prophet.

Wine in prophecy is defined as doctrine. That being the case, recall the following …

1 Corinthians 11:25 “After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”

The way the truth intertwines into reality here is so amazing to me! What I mean is, we not only see the cup of new wine being offered at the last supper as representing the pure teachings or doctrine of Jesus Christ, or “new testament” as He described it that day; it also represents His blood being spilled for our salvation; which leads to the second way of looking at this new wine being offered at the wedding feast.

What Jesus did at the marriage supper in Cana can also be seen as a symbol regarding the prophesied act of salvation for all mankind. When we are baptized in water, we are baptized into his death. The new wine He miraculously supplied at that wedding therefore represents the shedding of his blood on Calvary. And He did not just make one jug of this new wine either. He made enough for everyone at that wedding feast just as He offers salvation to every soul on earth so they too can attend the soon coming wedding feast in New Jerusalem.

And yes, this also means Jesus would never have created fermented wine at the wedding feast or would have offered fermented wine at the last supper because the new wine Jesus presented that day was perfect and pure just as the truth He preaches, whereas fermented wine would be corrupt and defiling just as the false teachers preach. We also need to realize that even though His blood spilled that day, neither He nor His blood was not allowed to rot in the grave, further confirming His blood was just as pure and undefiled as was the wine at the wedding and the last supper.

1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 34 “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.”

Paul was rebuking them because when they came to partake in the Lord’s supper, they over did it in a big way. Jesus did not institute the last supper as a way to pig out each time we meet for church. It was to commune with Him and make things right between the brethren. Many churches do this to this day with their large feasts after the sermon. They even have the food cooking to the point halfway through the sermon you can smell it and that distracts the people. Worse yet, it distracts the preacher as well.

Paul was saying they needed to eat at home before coming to church to eat. No big sin in having a church dinner once in a while; but to make it into a feast on the day of communion? That is not good. Plus, it made the poor feel shamed because they could not afford such meals. Like the basket they pass in the church today; the rich pour large amounts in the basket in front of the poor and the poor are again shamed. That is why I never ask for donations.

The Jews used to have large coffers outside the church to place donations in. But because most preachers are in it for the money today, they pass the plate to forcibly remind the people to donate. Still, even with those coffers outside the temple, Jesus was moved to explain the scene with the poor widow dropping in a few pennies as the rich dumped in large handfuls one coin at a time. Those that worship the money will always find a way to flaunt it before the people as if that money were all generated by their own wisdom. We know the Lord sets up the pauper and the prince and so to claim you are a self-made man as some do is to declare the Lord had nothing to do with it.

*** Please not that this page is a transcription of a Communion service from one of brother Nicholas’ Communion services. For more information, please visit ***

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