Today after communion I’m preaching a sermon on prayer and fasting. This week as I was preparing that sermon I read the book A Hunger for God and in it Pastor John Piper explains how the Lord’s Supper and fasting are connected. The Lord’s Supper is “past-oriented” but fasting is “future-oriented” (p. 79). When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper he asked us to do it regularly “in remembrance” of him (focus on the past).
1 Corinthians 11:23-24 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.” (ESV)
1 Corinthians 11:25-26 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. (ESV)
In past-oriented communion:
- We’re remembering Christ’s death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.
- We’re remembering Christ’s resurrection from the dead to secure for us eternal life.
- We’re remembering Christ’s invitation to repent and believe in him for salvation.
- We’re remembering how he loves us and gave his life to save us.
But in future-oriented fasting:
- We’re longing for Christ Jesus to return as he said he would one day.
- We’re longing for Christ Jesus to come and right all wrongs in our world and lives.
- We’re longing to know Christ Jesus face to face instead of just by faith.
- We’re longing to enjoy Jesus forever and ever and ever.
Piper clarifies that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper in a special way that he didn’t do for fasting, but Jesus did say, “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (p. 80) So that means as we live our Christian lives we will both take communion, remembering all Christ has done for us in the past, and when we fast we long for Christ Jesus to come and do everything he said he would do.
If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior then I invite you to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Remember what he did in the past and hope for what he will do in the future. But if you don’t know Jesus then just hold off. Let the elements pass. But know Jesus loves you and desires to be in relationship with you. Today can be the day you meet your Savior. Let me pray.
Pastor Jonathan Romig wrote this reflection on the Lord’s Supper.