Although the New Testament offers several versions of Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist, common themes emerge. In observing the Lord’s Supper, the church puts the worshiper in contact with the redemptive death of Jesus—the act that has brought the church into being as one body, the eschatological new covenant community.
Protestants commonly use the term Lord’s Supper for the act of worship that centers on the table of the Lord. The Lord’s Supper originated with Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, in the context of the Passover, and shares with the Passover the theme of the Lord’s deliverance of Israel. As interpreted in the Gospels and by Paul, the Lord’s Supper is symbolic of Christ’s death, a memorial that places the worshiper at the Cross. It is the ratification of the covenant between the Lord and the people of God, an emblem of the communion or mutual participation of all members of the body of Christ. The Supper is a proclamation of the gospel and a symbol of faith in Christ.