Imagine the best wedding you’ve ever been to; there’s a beautifully dressed bride, a bride-groom dressed to impress in his stylish, probably rented, tuxedo, a wedding party styling wedding regalia, an audience comprised of friends, family, acquaintances, and persons who have snuck in to have a piece of cake after the ceremony. The flowers are wonderfully assorted, smell fresh, and look beautiful. The decorations add to the significance of the wedding and magnify the beauty of the service. The ceremony is immaculate; no flaws, no errors, no mispronunciations, and no unexpected surprises. Once the sacrament concludes, the newlywed husband and wife briskly depart to the reception.
The reception is well-prepared, finished tables, beautiful center pieces, chairs well arranged, and a lead table that looks as though it was prepared for a king. The feast is flawless, well-seasoned, and served promptly. Immediately following the consumption of this scrumptious meal, the best man stands, and taps his glass to signify a toast and then proceeds to deliver this well-prepared speech including a story of the bride-groom and concludes with the renewal and blessing of an everlasting union between husband and wife.
The Bible tells us of a wedding of paramount significance in the book of Ephesians (5:22-32). Background to this great union can be found in
Ephesians Chapter 1 says: 22 “And (God) has put all things under (Christ’s) and has made Him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is the body the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Then in Chapter 4 “15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”
The greatest wedding of all time is a union in which we sometimes overlook. It is the wedding between Jesus and the church.
22 Wives, [be subject] to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself [being] the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives [ought to be] to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also [does] the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his Father and Mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and [let] the wife [see to it] that she respect her husband.
Let’s take this in the context of communion now. When we speak of communion bread, we speak of the body. However, the body, as illustrated in Ephesians, is the church. The Lord is the head of the body. Thus, talking of the body, we are laying aside individuality and speak collectively.
Ephesians 4:15-16; “15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.”
We, in order to grow and expand, need to lay aside our individual agendas and become part of something greater. We must show our faith through our actions. When we take the bread and eat it in remembrance of the body, we are taking communion and consuming it in remembrance of the church. Not the building, not the group of people you see every Sunday morning, not the Wednesday night small study group, nor the group of ‘active participants’ in your congregation. We consume communion in remembrance of the body as a whole and how we are a small portion of something much larger.
The wine is symbolic of the blood that has been shed for the church as a whole.
Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.”
What other affirmation do we need to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins? Individually we are part of the body in which Christ gave Himself up for. He did it to sanctify, and present the church clean, without spot or wrinkle. He on the cross died so we could be holy and blameless.
Matthew 26:28 states “This is the blood of my New Testament.”
The New Testament is life eternal, the promise of return, freedom, forgiveness, and salvation.
The Bible promises of another wedding of even greater importance; it is the return of Jesus to be the head of the Church! Matthew 25: 1-13 gives us a parable of Ten Virgins who are waiting for their bride-groom to return. Five of the virgins are well prepared, have everything in order, fuel in their lamps, and are ready for the return of the bride-groom. The other five virgins have very little or no fuel left to burn in their lanterns but at the last moment try to borrow some from the five well prepared. They are denied such saying they were foolish and to go buy some fuel on their own. The five well prepared went to meet with the bridegroom and entered into the wedding feast with him. The other five knocked on the door and Jesus proclaimed to not know them. The parable, symbolic representing faith in Christ, warns us to be prepared. Have faith and know that He will return so that we may be in attendance as Christ returns as the head of the church.
During this wedding ceremony, the bread will be passed, each person taking a piece representing the body of Christ. Each person in attendance is there as part of the body and each one has been invited to be the best man and offer up a toast unto the Lord who shed His blood to sanctify the body.
Perhaps as we take communion, we should take such as a toast in celebration of the union between the Lord and the Church. We take the bread being only a small part of the whole, and we take the wine in remembrance of the new covenant. Take the wine and offer a toast, tell the story of the man who died on the cross for my sins, for our sins; remember he rose to the heavens above; and remember he will return again. We can conclude our toast with thanks for life everlasting in paradise due to the sacrifice of the Lord God Almighty.