PDF  MSWord
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and having blessed it, he broke it, and giving it to the disciples, said, “Take, eat. This is my body.” Bible

“bread.” This was not special bread, but the ordinary bread that the apostles were eating. Originally, communion was not a “ceremony,” but occurred at the start of a communal meal. There was no special bread or wine. Jesus did not have any, nor did the early Church. They used the bread and wine they were already eating and drinking. As with most things, over time the simple offering of thanks and time that was taken to eat some bread and drink some wine in recognition of Jesus’ sacrifice became ritualized and the “communion service” was invented.

In the early Church, anyone who wanted to eat and drink and recognize the sacrifice of Jesus could. There was no “membership,” or “requirements” that had to be met. Jesus did not ask for any, nor, as far as we can tell from the apostolic Church, did the early Christians. Again, over time Christians became concerned about not having the “right” people partake of the bread and wine, especially because it was supposed to accompany a personal commitment to the Lord. That was exacerbated by the Roman persecution of the early Church, because many Christians, rather than be tortured, gave in and offered sacrifices to the Roman gods. They would be “Romans” until the time of persecution was over (most persecutions lasted only a short time), and then they wanted to be received back into the congregation. However, the “confessors,” (those Christians who were tortured and often maimed because they continued to confess Jesus as Lord but survived—in contrast to the martyrs, those Christians who died for Christ) often did not want to allow these “weak” and “uncommitted” Christians back into the Church. Thus they would try to exclude them from the meetings and the communion.


Commentary for: Matthew 26:26