Explaining Communion to Your Kids

This week is a big week for Christians. It is Holy week -- the week when we remember and celebrate the cornerstone of our faith -- Jesus’s death and resurrection.

There is a part of Easter, though, that we sometimes try to gloss over for our kids. The crucifixion of Jesus. We want kids to focus on the fact that Jesus is Alive! And that’s true, Jesus is alive, but that’s only so amazing because Jesus died on the cross and overcame death three days later.

We remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross on Good Friday. During Good Friday services, we receive communion (also known as the Lord’s Supper) as a way to remember the sacrifice of Jesus, and we also know that communion is intended only to be received by those who have made a decision to follow Jesus. This can cause a bit of an awkward (and confusing!) moment for kids that wonder why they don’t get a mid-service snack like everyone else! So what do you do? How do you explain the purpose of communion to your kid who doesn’t fully understand what it means to follow Jesus yet?

Here are some questions to answer with your kids to help them understand the importance of communion before you get into that situation.


// WHAT IS COMMUNION?

Communion is a time for those who have made a decision to follow Jesus to remember what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.


// WHY IS COMMUNION IMPORTANT?

Read Luke 22:14-20 together.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles took their places at the table. 15 He said to them, “I have really looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you. I wanted to do this before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I will not eat the Passover meal again until it is celebrated in God’s kingdom.” 17 After Jesus took the cup, he gave thanks. He said, “Take this cup and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you, I will not drink wine with you again until God’s kingdom comes.” 19 Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.” 20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup. He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. It is poured out for you.

Communion is also called the Lord's Supper. We receive it together at church just like Jesus received it together with His disciples the night before He died. It was an important dinner because it was during a holiday called the Passover. Passover is a yearly celebration when Jewish people remember when God protected them, and how the angel passed over the homes of those that had been marked with blood from a lamb.


// WHY DO WE RECEIVE COMMUNION?

After Jesus received the supper with his disciples, He told us we should continue to eat this special meal of bread and wine (or grape juice) to always remember Him (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). The bread reminds us of Jesus's body, and the wine reminds us of His blood. Jesus gave His body and His blood away when He died for our sins. He did this to take the punishment we all deserve so that we won't have to be punished when we die but instead, will go to Heaven with Him.


// WHY CAN’T EVERYONE RECEIVE COMMUNION?

Since Jesus only had the last supper with His disciples, or the people who followed Him, we receive communion in the same way. The Bible tells us that “Whoever eats and drinks must recognize the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:29). When we receive communion, we are to remember not only what Jesus did for us, but also why we made the decision to follow Him.


// WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “RECEIVE COMMUNION”?

When we receive communion, we should be very thoughtful. It's not a time to be silly or to talk to other people. It's a time to pray and thank God for His love and for sending His Son Jesus for us. It's a special time of worship and remembering.

Before you receive communion, you should pray and ask Jesus to forgive you for the things you have done wrong. Then you take a piece of the bread and dip it in the juice and eat it. Depending on the type of communion, you might also first eat a piece of bread (or a wafer) and then have a drink of juice. After you have received it, you should pray and thank Jesus for dying on the cross for you and ask Him to help you remember what He did for you everyday.

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As you explain communion to your child, it might bring up other questions about what it means to make a decision to follow Jesus. Be prepared to share your story of why you chose to follow Jesus and help them understand why it’s an important part of who you are. If you aren’t sure how to answer some of those questions, you can sign your family up for our next Start Here class where we explain (in kid terms), what salvation is, why its important, and what to do next; sign up for Start Here at www.thevista.tv/events.