1 Corinthians 11:23-25—For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
Paul claims to have received this tradition from the Lord Himself. It is the key passage that we refer to when we have communion. We find that the Gospels tell us the same thing. We are to remember the Lord’s death for us on a regular basis. The bread is to remind us of His body that was broken for us. The cup is to remind us we have entered into the new covenant. The author of Hebrews tells us that the body of Christ is the veil that was torn to allow us access to the Holy of Holies in heaven (Hebrews 10:19-22). Because Jesus died in our place, we have access to God. When we take the bread of communion, we remember the great price that was paid and the privileges we now have because of it. It also reminds us that we are the body of Christ. Though we are many different parts, we are a part of the whole. In this passage, Paul was warning them to be considerate of one another at communion to be sure all could participate. Some were sick and even died because they were taking it lightly and without consideration of other members of the body. He warned us to examine ourselves first. The cup is representative of the blood of the new covenant. Believers are not under the old covenant of law, but the new covenant of grace. The old was based on our obedience, but the new is based on what Christ has done. The new covenant was predicted to include the very presence of the Spirit of God within us. Covenants were ratified by blood and often by a wound in the hand of the participants. The new covenant is dependent on only one party keeping the terms and so the wound is on His hands alone. Communion calls us to consider these things, but most of all it calls us to remember He gave His life that we might truly live in Him.