Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Institution of the Sacrament

The Sacrament is a very important aspect of our Gospel.  It is taken every week in order to take the time to think about where we stand, and remember the Lord’s sacrifice for us.  But there is much more to the Sacrament than just partaking of it.

“The Savior instituted the Sacrament the night before He was crucified, near the time of the Passover celebration.  Many centuries earlier, the feast of the Passover had been instituted to help the children of Israel remember when the destroying angel “passed over” their houses and delivered them from Egyptian bondage (see Exodus 12:21-28; 13:14-15).  The blood of the unblemished Passover lamb that saved ancient Israel was a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who redeemed all mankind.” (Taken from assignment sheet.)  This explanation helps lead to us seeing relationships between both the Passover and the Atonement of Christ, and the Sacrament and the Atonement.

There is a relationship between the Passover and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Passover was the ordinance of sacrifice that others did before Christ came.  They sacrificed an unblemished lamb whose blood saved ancient Israel.  When Christ came, His Atonement took over the Passover.  So, He was the last sacrifice.  From then on, instead of doing the Passover, the Sacrament was done.

There is a relationship between the Sacrament and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The Sacrament is the symbolism of the Lord’s Atonement.  It is the ordinance done today that helps us remember the Lord’s sacrifice for us all, and helps us to remember to follow the commandments in order to allow the Lord’s sacrifice to not be for nothing.

The Sacrament is the eating of bread and drinking of water that stand as symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  John 4:13-14; 6:48-53 adds to the understanding of the symbolism of bread and water.  The water is a representation of the living water.  As we drink of the living water, we will never thirst and will receive everlasting life.  The bread is a representation of the bread of life.  As we eat the bread, we will not die.  This bread came from heaven.  The Lord was the bread of life and the living water.  He came from Heaven in order to help us, His brothers and sisters, to make our way back to Heaven.  If we eat of His “flesh” and drink of His “blood”, known as taking the sacrament, then we will receive eternal life, which is what these scriptures were explaining.

We are commanded to partake of the Sacrament weekly in order to help us remember the Lord.  This is a part of our testimony to the Father that we remember Christ, and if we remember Christ we can always have His spirit to be with us.  Mosiah 5:13 applies to this because we need to remember the Lord in order to truly serve Him.  If we don’t remember the Lord at all times, we aren’t really serving Him.

In the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 26:26 and 28, we learn that the Sacrament is done in remembrance of the Lord.  He died for all those who believe on His name, for a remission of our sins.  We need to do all that the Lord did while He was on Earth, and bear record of Him.  Within the additions and corrections for these verses, the word ‘ransom’ is used.  Ransom means a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity.  Properly partaking of the Sacrament (also known as taking it worthily) ransoms us because the Lord died to save us from captivity.  If we are keeping the commandments and worthily taking the Sacrament, we will be saved.  We will gain eternal life, which is what Christ wishes to give us. 

While taking the Sacrament, I have a list of things I would like to remember.  I would like to keep in mind that the Lord suffered and died for me, personally.  I need to remember that the Lord wants me to think of Him always, and He wants me to do those things that He did while on this Earth.  I also need to work on being worthy every time I take the Sacrament, and if I do all this, I will be blessed. 

The Sacrament is a great blessing in my life.  Every week, it reminds me of all the things that I need to do in order to gain the blessings the Lord wants me to have.  Whenever I start my week off with taking the Sacrament, everything is better and easier to endure.  I love this Gospel and the strength and blessings I receive from believing in it.

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