Throughout this Good Friday service, we meditate and reflect on the suffering and passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As we begin the account of Jesus’ final hours leading to the cross, we start in the upper room with the twelve. This is an especially appropriate place for us to begin, because it reminds us of two things:
First, Communion reminds us that Christ’s suffering on the cross—his body broken and his blood shed—was done for us and for our sins. The goal of Good Friday is not to feel sorry for Jesus. The goal of Good Friday is to see the seriousness of our sins and the lengths to which God has gone to remove them from us.
In a few moments we will sing these lyrics together:
Ye who think of sin but lightly, nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly, here its guilt may estimate
Mark the sacrifice appointed. See who bears the awful load.
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s anointed, Son of Man, and Son of God.
So as we come to the table to eat bread, we receive by faith Christ’s body. All the events we rehearse tonight were done for us. As we come to the table to receive the cup, we taste by faith the New Covenant purchased in Christ’s blood. All the events we rehearse tonight were done for us.
Second, beginning our service with this meal reminds us that Christ’s suffering on the cross is something we share in. Paul writes about this meal, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16).
As we hear and remember the work Christ did for us, this is no spectator’s event. We have been united to Christ by baptism: His death is our death; his burial is our burial; and so his resurrection is our resurrection. So by taking this meal together, we remember that this story is our story. As surely as this bread and wine enter into your body and become part of your body, so surely does the work of Christ we remember feed you and strengthen you as you participate by faith.
We will practice Communion with a shared loaf and shared cup this evening. Again, Paul writes, “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Corinthians 10:17)
In this meal, we remember what Christ has done for us and for our sin, and by faith we participate in his body and his blood. So if you are not trusting in Jesus, we ask that you would please abstain.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)