Eat Jesus’ Flesh and Drink His Blood? (Pt 9)

Daily Devotional | Day 343

“For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).

 We will conclude the current series by looking at two things Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10 because of their relevance to what we have so far discussed.

The first point is from our opening Scripture in which Paul writes, “we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” Paul is talking about believers, specifically those gathered for the Lord’s Supper. And the bread he is talking about is the loaf of bread used for the Lord’s Supper. This is the same bread of which Paul said, “The bread which we break, is it not the communion [fellowship] of the body of Christ?” (10:16). But now he says the Lord’s Supper participants are one bread, referring to the Lord’s Supper bread.

Next, Paul tells us the reason why we are one bread: “for we all partake of that one bread.” Because believers eat from the one bread, they are one bread (and therefore one body). Paul’s point is, the bread we break represents us. We are that bread. As the bread is one, so are we. Anyone at the Lord’s Supper who eats a piece of that one bread is acknowledging and celebrating the fact that he or she is part of the one bread.

Paul chose his words carefully. Notice he did not say Jesus is that one bread. Rather, he said we are that one bread. The obvious question is: If we are indeed one bread, does this mean that when we eat the bread, we are chewing on each other? The answer, of course, is no. The Lord’s Supper, as we have emphasized throughout this series, carries a more profound truth which has nothing to do with chewing Jesus’ flesh or our own. What we do at the Lord’s Supper is celebrate fellowship with Jesus’ body and blood, as well as fellowship with one another.

Let us now look at Paul’s second point. He drew an example from Israel’s temple sacrifices to illustrate how fellowship works: “Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?” (v. 18). In the Old Testament those who served at the altar, Aaron and his sons, ate the sacrifices brought to the altar (Deuteronomy 18:1-5). Paul says, because they ate the food sacrifices (meat, grain, etc.), they became partakers of the altar. Did they have to chew or swallow the altar to become partakers of the altar? No. All they had to do was eat food sacrificed at the altar, and this resulted in them having fellowship with the altar.

Using the same (spiritual) logic, Paul explained that those who ate food sacrificed to idols were in effect having communion (fellowship) with the demons to whom the food had been dedicated (v. 19-20). To have fellowship with demons, one does not have to swallow demons. All one has to do is eat what is dedicated to demons. This is the same principle by which Paul explains that the bread we break at the Lord’s Supper is fellowship with the body of Christ, and the cup we bless is fellowship with His blood (v. 16). And it is on this basis that he warned the Corinthians, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons” (v. 21).

By the very fact that the Lord’s Supper is in remembrance of Jesus’ body and His blood, that makes the celebration sacred – dedicated unto Jesus’ death. As a result, everyone who eats the bread and drinks the cup is in effect having fellowship with the body and blood of Jesus. Likewise, whoever behaves in a manner that tampers with the sacredness of the celebration is guilty of the body and blood of Christ. Such a person eats and drinks judgment (11:27, 29).

In sum, at no point did Jesus indicate – even remotely – that He would give us power to convert bread into His body or convert drink into His blood. No one can create Jesus from bread. Jesus dwells in us, not in bread. To suggest that the Lord’s Supper bread in our mouth is Jesus’ flesh is the result of misreading the Scriptures. Such a misreading inevitably leads to serious temptations, including the temptation to worship the bread and the drink. It is our hope that this series has shed some light on this all important topic. We further hope that the insights we have shared will help us draw closer to Jesus and better understand what He did (and did not do) for our salvation. Amen.

For further study1 Corinthians 10:1-33; 12:12-27

Spiritual Warfare: Two Things You Should Know

Daily Devotion |Day 263

“For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him [Jesus], and she came and fell at his feet . . . and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7:25-26).

Spiritual warfare is an inescapable reality. You’re involved in it regardless of your beliefs. Spiritual warfare is no respecter of persons. Until you pass from this world, you are at war; so you might as well fight – to win. The alternative is to do nothing and end up defeated. Satan and his demons don’t care about your status: man, woman, child, adult, rich, poor, good or bad. They will attack at any opportunity.

If you are a Christian, the stakes are even higher. The day God translated you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13), satan was put on notice. That day, you formally enlisted in Jesus’ army, and you joined the Church in her assault on the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18). This means you are soldier. You therefore need to be more vigilant. Today, we’re going to look at two things you should keep in mind about spiritual warfare.

A Gentile woman came to Jesus for help. He young daughter had an unclean spirit. When she heard about Jesus, she begged Him to cast out the spirit. Initially, Jesus reminded her that His priority was to attend to the needs of Israelites. But the woman wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. She was willing to take whatever help she could get for her daughter. No help was too small for her. Impressed by her determination and faith, Jesus told her to go because (based on her faith) the demon had left her daughter. We will pause here and highlight two points for our consideration.

1. To be effective in spiritual warfare, you need to identify your target (i.e. know what you’re dealing with). The woman in the story could not cast out the demon by herself. But she had one thing going for her. She correctly discerned that a demon was at work in her daughter’s life. As a Christian you can correctly discern spirits. In fact, the Bible takes it for granted that you can (1 John 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). Discerning correctly the spirit you’re dealing with is key to victory in spiritual warfare. Otherwise, you will be flying blind; and you don’t want that.

2. Let your faith remain steady. Demons will know if your faith is shaky. They can tell if you’re not sure of yourself or if you’ve given up. Demons submit only to steady faith. The woman demonstrated this kind of faith. She looked for Jesus. When she found Him, it seemed at first that Jesus wasn’t interested. But she didn’t get discouraged. She dug deep and found a reason to still believe. Jesus was amazed. In the end, notice that Jesus did not even pray for her or her daughter. He didn’t cast out the demon, either. The demon simply left based on the woman’s steady faith and her refusal to quit. Jesus said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter” (Mark 7:29).

Spiritual warfare takes steady faith and discernment of spirits. Train yourself to be an effective warrior for Christ.

BlessingMay the Lord command His blessing upon you and your household. Amen.

For further studyEphesians 6:10-20

Released from satan’s Shackles

Daily Devotional: Day 137 

Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13:15-16, RSV).

At the beginning of His Messianic mission, Jesus announced His mission statement (cf. Luke 4:16-21). Part of His mission was to set captives free and to release all those who were oppressed by the devil. Jesus’ mission of deliverance included deliverance from both spiritual and physical maladies masterminded by satan. Today’s passage follows an incident that occurred in the synagogue.

On a certain sabbath, Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. In the congregation was a woman who, according to the Bible, had a spirit of infirmity. As a result, the woman was bent over and count not straighten up – for eighteen years. Long story short, Jesus set her loose from the satanic bondage, and immediately the woman straightened up. At this, the ruler of the synagogue was deeply upset and reminded the congregants to avoid coming to seek healing on the sabbath (cf. Luke 13:10-14). But Jesus responded with a sharp rebuke and a reasonable defense of His action.

Look at today’s Scripture. You will see the word “untie.” Jesus said that on the sabbath each of the people untied their farm animals to get them water. Interestingly, they didn’t classify that as a violation of the sabbath law. Using that logic, Jesus explained that if even animals could be untied and led to refresh themselves, how much more should a human being – and a daughter of Abraham at that – whom satan had tied up for eighteen years be untied on the sabbath day. Do you get what Jesus is saying? Even animals are not tied up for more than a few hours. Yet satan – evil as he is – had tied up that woman for eighteen years (That’s about 157,788 hours of being bound!). It was time to untie the child of God and let her walk free

I want you to notice something profound about Jesus’ answer. Notice that Jesus’ explanation for setting the woman free centered around the sabbath. As you know, the word ‘sabbath’ means rest. The point is this: Jesus came into the world to untie you and thereby give you sabbath rest from satan’s shackles (the shackles of sin, addiction, demonic oppression, infirmities caused by evil spirits, fear, spiritual death, spiritual blindness, etc.).

I pray that if you have been tied in any way by satan, Jesus will have mercy on you this moment and unbind you. Amen.

For further study: Matthew 11:28-30

Casting Out Demons: 101

Daily Devotional: Day 84

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’” (Acts 19:13-15, NKJV).

Acts chapter 19 tells us that Paul entered the city of Ephesus, and for several months, taught the people about Jesus Christ. While Paul was in the city, God did unusual miracles through him. At one point, even his aprons or handkerchiefs were placed on the sick and the diseases as well as demons left. Observing this extraordinary phenomenon, some Jewish exorcists decided it would be a great idea to invoke the Name of Jesus as part of their exorcism ritual. Among these were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest. Much to their chagrin, however, these seven men discovered that demons know the difference between authorized use of Jesus’ Name and unauthorized use of the Name.

One day, the seven men wanted to cast out an evil spirit by invoking the Jesus preached by Paul. But the evil spirit was quick to call them out, saying: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” The evil spirit subsequently charged on them and gave them a thorough beating. Lesson: Evil spirits are not ignorant of our spiritual standing and our spiritual authority in Christ. They can tell a true Christian when they meet one. Every true Christian has, by default, the spiritual authority to command evil spirits to flee (see James 4:7). However, when a false believer uses Jesus’ Name for exorcism, he does so illegally, because his action is not backed by a faith-relationship with Jesus Christ.

As a child of God, if you must cast out demons, you are not allowed to appeal to the faith of Paul, or the faith of your pastor, or the faith of any other person, dead or alive. The only name you are authorized to invoke is Jesus. And this is the Name demons will obey without question. To command evil spirits to depart, stand in the authority of Jesus’ Name and speak for yourself as a believer. This is casting out demons: 101.

Confess:

In the Name of Jesus, every demonic activity in my life, I command you to cease. And I forbid you, satan, from manipulating my life. Amen.

For further study:  Luke 10:17-20