But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.
Sunday is a very special day for those of us in the Lord’s church. It is the day we assemble to worship our God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). It is also the day we partake of communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper. This practice of observing communion on a weekly basis each Sunday is unique in the religious world. Many visitors from other religious bodies wonder why those in Christ’s church partake of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, when they choose to observe it once a month, every few months, or once or twice a year. Christians must “always (be) ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Pet. 3:15). Thus, it is proper for New Testament Christians to know exactly why we observe communion every Sunday.
First, we are commanded, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (Col. 3:17). We must have authority from Christ concerning all aspects of our observance of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus speaks to us today through the inspired writings of the New Testament (Heb. 1:1-2; 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 14:37; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). Therefore, we must go solely to the New Testament to find the authority on how and when to partake of communion.
Within the New Testament, we read of how Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on the night in which He was betrayed, a Thursday night (1 Cor. 11:23). The reason we don’t partake of communion on Thursday nights is because the church was not yet in existence at the time Christ instituted the Lord’s Supper. Keeping this in mind as we study further, notice that while instituting the Supper, Jesus mentions a particular day, quoted above in Matthew 26:29 (see also Mark 14:25): “…I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until THAT DAY when I drink it new with you IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM.” Luke records, “…I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on UNTIL THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMES” (Lk. 22:18).
We see that Christ promised them He would not partake of communion with them until that day when He drinks it with them in His Father’s kingdom, the day the kingdom of God comes. This is significant because the New Testament teaches that His church is the kingdom. Two thousand years ago He and John preached that the kingdom was coming soon (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). He spoke of His church and the kingdom interchangeably (Matt. 16:15-19). He told His disciples, “…there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until the see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mk. 9:1). After His resurrection and immediately before His ascension, He promised His disciples that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8), a promise fulfilled ten days later when the Spirit came upon the apostles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), the day 3,000 souls were added by the Lord to the church (Acts 2:41, 47). After Acts 2, the New Testament refers to the kingdom of God and the church of Christ interchangeably and as having already come and presently existing (Rom. 14:17; 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 2:12; Rev. 1:4, 6, 9).
Thus, the church – the kingdom – came on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was a Jewish holy day, originally called the Feast of Weeks, which always took place on a Sunday (Lev. 23:15-16). This means the kingdom came on a Sunday, the first day of the week. Go back to Matthew 26:29, Mark 14:25, and Luke 22:18. Christ promised He would not drink of the fruit of the vine of communion until “that day” when He drinks it new with them in His Father’s kingdom, when “the kingdom of God comes.” The kingdom came on a Sunday.
We’ll study more about this next week, Lord willing.