Eat Jesus’ Flesh and Drink His Blood? (Pt 1)

Daily Devotion | Day 335

“For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me” (John 6:55-57, NKJV).

Our message for the next few days will be a continuation of what has been said previously in The Lord’s Supper: Lessons from Corinth. Although the two messages are closely related, we found it helpful to treat the current series as a distinct sub-topic within the discourse about the Lord’s Supper. We did this for three reasons. Firstly, what we are about to discuss is indispensable if we want to grasp the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. Secondly, the topic is extremely rich and profound. As such it requires its own time and space. Thirdly, it is a subject that has generated controversy, division and confusion among Christians for centuries. 

Christians deserve clarity about what Jesus did for their salvation, especially regarding the body and blood of Jesus. We can benefit from what Jesus did if we know what it means for us. We hope the current series will further this cause. If you have not read the previous five-part series on the Lord’s Supper, please do so. This teaching is an extension of that.

What Jesus has done for us – in His death and resurrection – is marvelous. Our responsibility and privilege is to examine it critically, and appropriate it for our edification and for the sole glory of the Father. As the title suggests, the question we will be addressing throughout this series is: When we eat and drink the Lord’s Supper, are we eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood? Some (notably Roman Catholics) say, “Yes;” others (mostly Protestants/Evangelicals) say, “No.” And there are others who are ambivalent. But what do the Scriptures say?

As we tackle this question, we will look at what happened in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:21-24). Our study will take us also to Capernaum where Jesus said He would give us His flesh and blood (John 6:22-59). Additionally, we will examine vital truth from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians (5:28-33) as well as highlight lessons from David’s friendship with Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-4; 20:11-17). Throughout this teaching, there are two Bible concepts we want to keep in mind: marriage and covenant. These two concepts are the keys for understanding what Jesus said about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. In other words, the concepts of marriage and covenant provide the ‘hermeneutical parameters’ or framework for understanding and celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

The principle of fellowship, union or oneness is well established in the Bible, usually in the context of a covenant. Understanding how this principle works will clarify  how the Lord’s Supper works. Fellowship is a mutual sharing which makes the parties involved become (literally) one. This means at the Lord’s Supper fellowship we are joined to the Lord’s body and blood and the Lord is joined to us as one. Paul made this clear in the passage we read yesterday (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). The cup we bless, he said, is fellowship (communion) of the Lord’s blood, and the bread we eat is fellowship (communion) of the Lord’s body.

What Paul said is no different from what we hear from Jesus in today’s opening Scripture. The Lord says, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in Him.” Notice that Jesus has His mind on fellowship or union with Him. As we partake of His body and blood, it leads to an intermingling. In a manner of speaking, Jesus passes into us and we pass into Him, thereby becoming one reality. Therefore, Jesus and the Lord’s Supper participant, while remaining distinct individuals, essentially are one.

We will pause here. What we have said so far is an introduction. God willing, we will go in-depth starting tomorrow. Remain blessed in Christ and have a wonderful weekend. Amen.

For further study: John 6:1-59 

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