(Exo 29:38-46) “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. 39 Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. 40 With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. 41 Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning–a pleasing aroma, an offering made to the LORD by fire.
42 “For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the LORD. There I will meet you and speak to you; 43 there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory.
44 “So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. 45 Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. 46 They will know that I am the LORD their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the LORD their God.
The daily sacrifice of wine, blood, and flour mixed with oil, was given to assure the Israelites that God was present among them and that he had chosen them to be his people so that he could be their God.
The daily sacrifice was a lamb, flour mixed with oil (the ingredients for unleavened bread), and wine. At communion, we provide the bread and the wine. God provides the lamb. But because it’s God who provides the blood, it’s not our sacrifice to make. Rather, God has already made the sacrifice “once for all.” We bring the rest of the offering, no longer for atonement, but as a thanks offering.
(Heb 7:27) Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.
For Christians, forgiveness is not an event repeated day after day. It’s “once for all.” We no longer need to be forgiven over and over. But we do need to be reminded.
When we take this bread and drink this fruit of the vine, we aren’t buying another week’s worth of salvation. That’s not the point.
Nor is this an ordinance — a command — to be obeyed on penalty of damnation.
No, this is God’s reminder to us. God says, in effect, I promised to forgive your sins. I took a blood oath. I meant it. And every time you eat with fellow believers in my name — surely at least once a week — I want to remind you of my promise and the awful price I paid to honor it. Don’t ever forget that I have promised to forgive your sins, to dwell among you, and to make you holy.
The Lord’s Supper is not about our earning salvation by keeping a command. It’s about God assuring us that he’s already taken care of that for us — and promising, once again, that he’ll be true to his word at the end of all things.
We don’t partake of the bread and the cup because to skip church damns. We receive a gift from the hand of God himself to remind us that God is our God and we are God’s people — and that he will keep his promises.
God saved us so that he could live among us. First, Jesus himself lived among God’s people, and when Jesus ascended to be with God, he sent the Spirit to dwell within us — within each Christian and within each congregation. And when we gather in Jesus’ name — not just on Sunday, but anytime — Jesus himself is among us.
You see, one reason we were saved is so that God could dwell among us — to bring heaven and earth closer together, to bring us closer to Eden in which God walked with man in the cool of the morning.
When we take the loaf and the wine, we eat with Jesus himself — “God with us” — and celebrate God’s willingness to live among his people.