As discussed in an earlier post, another occasion when Jesus’s disciples didn’t recognize him after the resurrection occurred as the disciples and Jesus were walking on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. After reaching their destination, they were sitting together at a table, when Jesus “took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him…” (Luke 24:30-31, NIV)
Though not clear that Jesus was sharing with his disciples what we usually call the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or the Holy Eucharist, the language used in Luke 24 is very similar to that used during the Last Supper in Matthew 26:26-28 and Luke 22:14-20. It is clear that the meal at Emmaus was holy, sacramental. It opened the disciples’ eyes, and they recognized the Christ.
This rings true with me, because it is during Communion that I see Jesus most clearly. It is when I know that he is in me, and I am in him. It is when I’m assured that Jesus died for my sins and the sins of the world.
Paul recounts Jesus’s institution of the Lord’s Supper in I Corinthians 11:23-26: “The Lord Jesus, on the night 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 after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
We proclaim Christ’s death and the new covenant each time we celebrate Communion. The blood of Christ courses through our spiritual veins and hearts. Jesus is plainly present. We recognize him.
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (I Corinthians 1016)