Then he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And in the same way he took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
We have communion on most Sundays and every Easter, we partake of the communion. It becomes such a habit that it is taken without consideration of what it actually means for us. Although I don’t entirely agree with the Catholic’s view of the Eucharist, there is so much more to communion that Protestants make it to be. There is something spiritually significant about the bread and the cup that symbolises Jesus’ body.
Communion means “sharing in common”, from the Greek word κοινωνία (koinōnía) in 1 Corinthians 10:16. The participation in communion is a gathering of believers sharing a common meal and fellowshipping together as a reminder of Jesus, who lived and died a perfect and sinless life of love towards mankind and obedience towards the Father. He was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; See also Isaiah 61:1-2). We are reminded not just of all the benefits we have in the cross because of His work, but also of the solemn truth that Christ, the one and only Son of God was hung on the cross for us. Every time we partake of communion, we look upon the cross again.
When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. At this point their eyes were opened and they recognized him. Then he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Didnt our hearts burn within us while he was speaking with us on the road, while he was explaining the scriptures to us?”
The Road to Emmaus is an amazing story of what the breaking of bread does to unbelief. The disciples explanation of who Jesus is and what His work meant showed their unbelief. They saw a dead prophet who was once great, who they thought would be the Messiah (Luke 24:19-24). Their minds were foolish to understand and their hearts were slow to believe (Luke 24:25).
The Road to Emmaus was a first in many ways. It is the only recorded time that Jesus broke bread with His disciples after the resurrection. He had done so the night of His arrest (Luke 22:19-20) and had given them the reason for having communion together – “in remembrance of me.” He was showing them that tomorrow He would be the bread of life (John 6:35) broken for them. But here, it was the resurrected Jesus, risen Christ, the living bread reminding them of Himself.
Before the breaking of bread, they were kept from recognising him (Luke 24:16) but once He broke the bread, blessed it and gave it to them, their eyes were opened. This was more than a reminder, it was a revelation. They had a revelation that the person before them was Jesus Himself. Not only was it Jesus, it was Jesus alive (and not dead)! Just moments before, they saw the man standing before them as no more than a knowledgable man, and after that, He was recognised as the Resurrected Christ (v24). The breaking of bread was the move of the miracle itself.
Was there anything special about the breaking of bread that allowed them to recognise the risen Christ?
For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until he comes.
1 Corinthians 11:26
But until this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds, but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
2 Corinthians 3:15-16
Yes there is.Communion is the symbolic act of the gospel, the story of the cross and Christ. Whenever we partake of communion, we retell the gospel story, we remember Christ. Communion is a proclamation. The action of breaking the bread makes a declaration / announcement of Jesus’ body broken for our sins. It is the gospel being revealed in practical action. It causes us to turn our eyes to the cross and to Christ. The breaking of bread has the spiritual might to lift the veil and cause us to see Christ afresh.
In a way, we are all on the journey to Emmaus. Christ journeys with us and woos us to Himself. He interrupts our foolish minds and slow heart (v25) and speaks understanding into our Spirit. He is there and has always been there, yet sometimes when He speaks, we fail to recognise Him. The next time we break bread together, think about what is released by this simple act of declaration. Think about the unveiling of our eyes to recognise the risen Christ. In our daily lives to recognise Christ. In our work places, in our families, in our hobbies, He is there, and He has always been there. It’s about time we made that declaration that the world might see Christ as we do.