Daily Devotion | Day 338
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-29, NKJV).
What we are doing in this series is examine what the Scriptures say about eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood. In later presentations we will have much to say about John chapter 6. In the meantime, stay with us as we explore this subject one layer at a time. We want to shed light on all the necessary pieces which form the mosaic of how Jesus feeds His people. We concluded yesterday’s message on the theme of nourishment. Today, we will go deeper by addressing the question: In what ways does Jesus nourish His Church? After all, eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking His blood boils down to the issue of nourishment. We will find out if the means by which Jesus nourishes us includes putting His flesh and blood in our mouth or not. To address this question today, we will appeal to the authority of two prominent Apostles, namely Peter and Paul.
Let us start with what Paul writes in Ephesians 5:25-29. We are interested in what he says about nourishment. He says, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (v. 29). Here, Paul is urging husbands to do for their wives what Jesus did (and does) for the Church. But what is it that Jesus does for His wife, the Church? The answer is, Jesus “nourishes” the Church. And how does Jesus nourish the Church?
Paul gives us the answer in v. 25-27: “Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that he might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” The key ways Jesus nourished (nourishes) His Church are highlighted in bold font. Jesus nourished the Church by loving her, dying for her, sanctifying her and cleansing her. He did this so that His Church would be a beautiful, spotless and presentable bride, full of vitality.
After making this point, Paul told husbands to learn from Christ and nourish their wives as He did. Now we know that Jesus’ love for us is our nourishment. When He sanctifies and cleanses us, that too is His way of nourishing us. What is missing here is the idea that Jesus nourishes us by putting His flesh and blood in our mouth, down into our stomach. If Jesus would nourish the Church by putting His flesh and blood in our mouth, now would have been the perfect time for Paul to tell us. But he did not. Either Paul knew about this kind of nourishment (feeding on the Son of God via the alimentary canal) and did not tell us, or He was unaware that such a nourishment existed. The latter is the reality. Paul did not know about such nourishment.
Now let us turn to Peter. He was writing to Christians (most likely recent converts) scattered around “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1). At one point, Peter said to them, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (2:2). When Peter speaks of “the word,” he is referring to the word of God. Earlier, he had reminded these believers that they became born again through the incorruptible word of God which was preached to them (1:23-25). Now Peter tells them that the word which brought about their new birth is the same word by which they would grow. Therefore, he encouraged them to nourish themselves on the pure milk of God’s word.
Here, as in the case of Paul, if chewing the flesh of Jesus was part of the believer’s nourishment, now would have been the best occasion for Peter to say so. But Peter new nothing about feeding believers by putting the Son of God in their mouth. He knew nothing about it because Jesus said nothing about it.
We have said enough for today. We will continue next time, if the Lord wills. Until then, feed on Jesus by feeding on His word. Amen.
For further study: John 6:1-36; 15:1-17