One day when Jesus was teaching the people, He said,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. . . .The Jews' response shows they did not understand what Jesus meant. Then, before Jesus was crucified, He dined with His apostles and instituted the sacrament, taking broken bread symbolizing His broken body and drinking wine/water symbolizing His shed blood (Matthew 26:26-28). The aspostles did not quite understand either. Not until Jesus was crucified and resurrected did His words and actions make sense.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and that bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:47, 51-54)
That understanding did not last long. After the Great Apostasy, when the church fell apart and the apostles were martyred, gospel doctrine was misinterpreted, lost, and altered. The sacrament was one such doctrine that became skewed. People began to believe there really was a cup Jesus used that would give them immortality, when in reality the cup is the sacramental water we take to renew our covenants that, if kept, will give us eternal life with Christ. The immortality spoken of does not happen on this earth, but in the presence of God. (In fact, because of the resurrection, all men good and evil will be resurrected and become immortal. But eternal life--living with God forever in happiness and glory--will only come to those who are righteous.)
Each week we have this opportunity to drink from the "Holy Grail," repent of our sins, and start fresh again. This ordinance is truly sacred and important to our salvation. We should not take it lightly. Elder Andersen shared the following story in the April 2012 Ensign:
Let us worthily and humbly take the sacrament each week, always remembering our Savior.While serving as a mission president in Guadalajara, Mexico, I interviewed a missionary who expressed concern that he was not feeling the influence of the Spirit as he had earlier in his mission. I asked if he was getting along well with his companion, if he was obeying mission rules, and if he was keeping his thoughts and actions clean and pure. He responded that he was. I was then impressed to ask him if he was partaking of the sacrament each week. Surprisingly, he answered no. He and his companion were trying so hard to bring their investigators to church that they usually arrived late and missed the ordinance of the sacrament. That was our answer. Without renewing his baptismal covenant, he was losing the promised blessing of having the Spirit with him.
Challenge: Gain a stronger testimony of the sacrament.