As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying,“Take this and eat it, for this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)
Relate: If there is one name associated with the Protestant Reformation, it would be Martin Luther. Common tradition has it that he nailed those ninety-five thesis to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church and the reformation swept over Europe like a flood. What this doesn’t take into account is that there were other men, like Erasmus who were already pushing reform before Luther and plenty of others, chief among them Zwingli, who were starting reformation movements almost simultaneously in other areas. There was actually a moment when these two men came together to see if they could combine their two reformation movements under one banner. In most areas these two were pretty much in agreement, but there was one area that both considered extremely important in which they could not come together.
“Hoc est corpus meum”. During their discussion, Luther wrote this in the chalk on the table and both men went around and around on what “est”, (is) meant. Luther said it was literal. Jesus was saying this is my body. When we take communion we are literally partaking in the body and blood of Christ. Zwingli said the “is” was figurative. Just like when Jesus said “I am the vine” He did not literally mean he was an actual grapevine. The two could not find common ground and ended up going their separate ways. From this disagreement, the precedent was set for division upon division within the Protestant church into the literally thousands of denominations today.
React: My initial reaction is to think, “Seriously? Is it that big of a deal that you couldn’t find unity on such a small point?” Well yes, actually, it is that big of a deal and no, it is not a small point. What both these giants in the faith realized is that remembering the Lord’s death through communion is no small matter and no matter which side you come down on, taking communion is of huge importance. Today it might be viewed as a tradition we do regularly or maybe its a nice breakup of the normal church routine, but Paul said that just such a flippant attitude was causing some within the early church to get sick and die.
How seriously am I following God’s command to remember His death until He returns?