Daily Devotion | Day 336
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV).
Jesus said He will give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink (John 6:48-58). Then at supper with His disciples He took bread and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). Then the cup, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do . . . in remembrance of Me” (v. 25). Therefore, when we eat the bread and drink the cup at the Lord’s Supper, are we eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking His blood? This is the question we are discussing.
As we delve into what Jesus said, we want to look at as many relevant Scripture passages as possible. One of these passages is found in Genesis 2:21-24. Our opening Scripture captures only v. 24, but we will not overlook the remaining verses. At first this passage may seem to have nothing to do with the Lord’s Supper. But soon, we will discover that it does. Recall what we said yesterday about marriage and covenant.
God put Adam to sleep and from him, He made Eve. Then He presented Eve to Adam. When Adam saw her, he exclaimed with delight, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (2:23). What the Bible said next is striking, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (v. 24). What we have here is the first marriage covenant.
We will focus on the idea of joining and becoming one flesh. A bond had been established between Adam and Eve through marriage. This bond created a union of the two individuals. So strong was the bond that Adam and Eve ceased to be separate flesh. They became one flesh. Applying this truth to every husband and wife, Jesus declared, “so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate” (Mark 10:8-9).
The union of Adam and Eve meant he was in her and she was in him. But at the same time, they did not lose their distinct individual identities. Adam was still Adam and Eve was still Eve. It is the same with all married couples. They are one flesh in the real sense of the word, yet they preserve their unique individuality. We now must point out an interesting fact.
By what means do husband and wife become one flesh? They become one flesh as a result of the marriage covenant which is ‘activated’ through intercourse. Without intercourse, we cannot properly speak of one flesh. This explains why Paul wrote, “Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He [God] says, ‘shall become one flesh’” (1 Corinthians 6:16). Observe that Paul uses “body” and “flesh” interchangeably. The joining takes effect as soon as a man and a woman have intercourse. Whether they are married or not, is irrelevant. If they are married, they become one flesh in God’s sight, legally and righteously. If they are not married, they still become one flesh in God’s sight, but illegally and sinfully (fornication or adultery). The first instance draws God’s blessing, but the second draws His wrath (Ephesians 5:3-7).
We must point out that the Bible refers to husband and wife as one flesh in a real and literal sense. However, for them to become one flesh, the man does not have to cut his flesh and serve it on a plate for the wife to eat. Nor does he have to bleed in a cup and ask the wife to drink his blood. The wife does not have to cut her flesh, either. They both are one flesh but the means by which they become one flesh is not through a mutual consumption of their flesh and blood. To become one flesh, they do not need to serve their flesh to one another as one does with barbecue or steak. Rather, they become one flesh by entering into a marriage covenant via intercourse. This is the only means God has provided for a man and a woman to become one flesh.
Once the marriage covenant is in force, husband and wife abide in each other in a loving union as one flesh. In this sense, they partake of each other’s flesh and blood. One flesh cannot exist without fellowship of the flesh (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). In other words, there can be no union unless both parties ‘feed’ on each other. And it is the marriage covenant which creates this fellowship of two bodies, resulting in one body. In the end, husband and wife experience a mutual partaking of body and blood through their covenant, not through tearing away each other’s flesh in vampire-like fashion.
What we have said so far brings us to our main question: When Jesus speaks of giving us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink, is He suggesting that we swallow Him in our mouth; or is He inviting us to something more profound? We have just begun. In the coming days we will build on what we have said today, if the Lord permits.
Until then, remain in the Lord. Amen.
For further study: Ephesians 5:22-33