Gospel, Community, and Mission in the Lord's Supper

Jonathan Dodson lays out the 3 fold elements of gospel, community and mission in Matthew 26, where Jesus had his “last supper” with the twelve disciples. 

The gospel ingredient is present in Jesus description of the bread and the wine, symbolizing his body and blood given for us. The very body and blood that would be betrayed and abandoned by men at that table, men just like us. The gospel ingredient reminds us that we are worse sinners than we dare to admit, but in Christ’s body and blood more forgiven and loved than we could ever fathom.

The community ingredient is present in that Jesus shares this first communion meal with his community of twelve, his disciples, twelve persons in community, not twelve individuals. He emphasizes the community by asking them “all” to drink of the cup. They didn’t drink as individuals but as a community, a proleptic new covenant community in his blood (1 Cor 11).

Finally there is the mission ingredient, which is harder to detect but certainly present. Jesus tells the twelve that after that night he will no longer drink the “fruit of the vine”, wine. Why? Because he will wait “until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” The mission ingredient of communion is present in the promise of “new wine.” The hold the old but are moving towards the new. Jesus will bring the new after the mission of the disciples is complete. The new wine is for the arrival of the new kingdom, the consummation of God’s creation project into a city-temple-cosmos resplendent with his Bride (Rev 21). Jesus intimates mission by setting a vision of the future.

(Read the whole thing here ...)