Eat Jesus’ Flesh and Drink His Blood? (Pt 5)

Daily Devotion | Day 339

“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:28-29, NKJV).

The night of the Last Supper (Passover) was special meant a lot to Jesus. He had been looking forward to this particular night with intense expectation. Here is how Luke put it, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16). In today’s presentation, we will pay attention to something Jesus said at this supper. It will help us better understand what it means to eat Jesus’s flesh and drink His blood.

When some think of what happened at the Last Supper, they assume that the Apostles alone ate the bread and drunk from the cup. That would mean Jesus was a spectator at the Last Supper. But that is not the case. After Jesus gave the cup to His disciples, He added, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). The bread Jesus gave them, as well as the drink, were all part of the Passover meal. This was a moment of fellowship. Jesus and the Apostles all partook of the same meal. Jesus was no spectator. We know this from what He said: “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on . . .” By “this fruit of the vine,” Jesus was referring to the fruit of the vine He had just given to the Apostles.

This means Jesus drunk the same fruit of the vine which He gave the Apostles. He added that He would not drink of it again until He drunk it new with them at a later time, in the Father’s kingdom. This explains why He instructed the disciples to celebrate this supper in His remembrance. He would no longer be physically present to sit and dine with them (feasting together and drinking the fruit of the vine). He wanted them, in the meantime, to keep His memory (as well as their fellowship with Him) alive by regularly breaking bread and drinking the cup at the Lord’s supper. As often as they did this, they would be proclaiming the Lord’s death until He returned.

Furthermore, Jesus had indicated that there would be yet another supper, a fulfillment, where He and His disciples would drink again the fruit of the vine which they had together enjoyed at the Last Supper. That would happen when He appeared a second time to gather His bride (the Church) to be with Him forever.

The Book of Revelation gives us a hint of what to expect: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb [Jesus] has come, and His wife [the Church] has made herself ready. . . Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:7, 9). This marriage supper of the Lamb is what Jesus was speaking of when He said, “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” This tells us that the new covenant is a marriage covenant between Jesus and His wife, the Church. And this covenant is established in His blood.

Jesus had no problem drinking the same fruit of the vine He gave the Apostles because He knew that His blood was not in the cup. His blood would be shed on the Cross, not in the cup. When He gave them bread (His body) and drink (His blood), Jesus was indicating something more profound. He was indicating that He would soon offer Himself (body and blood) as a husband offers himself to his wife with the aim of becoming one flesh. Therefore, when we eat the Lord’s Supper, we remember Jesus as a Loving Husband who gave His life for His wife, the Church. At the same time, we long for the ultimate  Lord’s Supper celebration in heaven: the marriage supper of the Lamb.

If we suppose for a moment that at the marriage supper of the Lamb, we would be served the meat and blood of Jesus, we are in for a rude awakening. That did not happen at the Last Supper, and it will not happen at the main event in heaven. May the Holy Spirit increase our understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice. Amen.

In our subsequent presentations, we will turn our attention to what John chapter 6 says about eating the Bread of Life. Stay blessed. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 22:1-14

The Lord’s Supper: Lessons from Corinth (Pt 2)

Daily Devotion | Day 331

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. . .. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep [have died]” (1 Corinthians 11:27, 29-30, NKJV).

Today we will continue our examination of what Paul said to the Corinthians about the Lord’s Supper. Basically, Paul spoke of three things. He identified a problem, stated its consequences and offered a solution to the problem. The Corinthians were treating the Lord’s Supper with contempt. They did this through division, setting ‘the haves’ against ‘the have nots.’ This division ensured that the poor were marginalized, despised and humiliated for their inability to compete with those who had abundance.

When any of Christ’s people (gathered for the Lord’s Supper) are treated with contempt, it is tantamount to treating the Lord’s Supper with contempt. Any believer who engages in such behavior at the Lord’s Supper is eating and drinking “in an unworthy manner.” This was the problem at Corinth.

Paul’s point is this: What you do to anyone at the assembly, you do to Christ Himself, because the people at the assembly make up His body. What you do to one member of that body, you do to the whole body. And what you do to the body, you do to the Head of the body, Jesus Christ. In the same letter, Paul reminded the Corinthians about this fact when he said, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (12:27). Failing to recognize that the people at the Lord’s Supper are the body of Christ leads to “not discerning the Lord’s body.” It is a failure to discern that the assembly is the body of Christ, and that this assembly has met to honor the Lord’s body. When believers assemble for the Lord’s Supper, it is no ordinary gathering. It is a holy convocation. Therefore, it matters how believers conduct themselves. 

Paul was concerned about people’s conduct during the Lord’s Supper, not their conduct before or after the Supper. This does not mean that a Christian’s conduct is irrelevant outside the Lord’s Supper. It just means that Paul, at this point, is not speaking of the overall conduct of a Christian. He is addressing a specific problem which takes place during a specific event (the Lord’s Supper). Therefore, he is focused on what people do at the Lord’s Supper, not what they do in their own homes or at their workplace. And it is important that we keep this context in mind; otherwise, we will read too much into what Paul is discussing or draw broad conclusions from a specific situation.

Consequences exist for our conduct whether we partake of the Lord’s Supper or not. In the preceding chapters of First Corinthians, Paul speaks at length about the importance of righteous conduct and the consequences for ungodly behavior (especially chapters 5, 6 and 10). When He gets to chapter 11, his intent is not to repeat what he has said before. His mind is now set solely on what goes on at the Lord’s Supper. The consequences for irreverent or disruptive conduct during the Lord’s Supper are severe. When the sacred is treated as something common, the people responsible suffer consequences.

The Lord’s Supper is so called for a reason. It is no ordinary eating and drinking. It is a supper in honor (and remembrance) of Jesus who redeemed us with His body and blood. This event also is the occasion to celebrate our fellowship with the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). Therefore, whoever trivializes this kind of meeting dishonors the body and blood of the Lord. In Paul’s words, “whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (11: 27). 

All of heaven declares, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:11-12). At the Lord’s Supper, Christians meet to honor this Lamb who was slain. It is important, therefore, that during the Supper they conduct themselves in a manner befitting its purpose. This means treating everyone at the assembly with love and reverence, while avoiding any behavior which can hurt the assembly. Otherwise, instead of blessings people will receive judgment.

To be continued tomorrow, if God wills. Stay blessed. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 25:31-46 and Daniel 5:1-31

How Jesus’ Wife Makes Herself Ready

Daily Devotional: Day 164

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-8, KJV).

At the beginning of Revelation 19, John saw a vision of the end. In the vision, the host of heaven rejoiced over the fact that God had judged Babylon, the whore who corrupted the earth with her fornication and shed the blood of God’s servants. Then follows a call to rejoice and give honor to God. Why? Because the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made herself ready. The Lamb here is referring to Jesus, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (cf. John 1:29). This tells us that Jesus has chosen a bride for Himself and heaven is getting ready for the great celebration of the marriage of the Lamb. Jesus’ bride is the Church which He purchased with His precious blood.

Notice that according to what John saw, Jesus’ wife had made herself ready. The wife of Jesus is not a single individual. ‘She’ refers to the worldwide group of believers who make up the Body of Christ. These people are together known as the saints. How will Jesus’ wife make herself ready for the marriage? The Bible tells us: Jesus’s wife will be clothed in fine linen, clean and white. Then, the Bible explains what the fine linen means. The fine linen is the righteousness of saints. This is an important detail.

The righteousness of saints referring to the righteous deeds of all who are born again, including those who have died in the Lord. Collectively, our righteous acts will be like a fine line, clean and spotless, with which we shall be clothed (see Revelation 3:1-6). Living a righteous and pure life is how we (Jesus’ wife) make ourselves ready for the marriage of the Lamb. Let no one think that he is righteous even if he sins and produces unrighteous fruit. The Lord sanctified us and made us righteous through the new creation (cf. Ephesians 4:22-24). Producing fruit of righteousness shows that we are indeed from a righteous tree. Only righteous people shall be in heaven at the marriage of the Lamb. As you live a righteous life in Christ, that is the fine linen you’ll be wearing in heaven. In heaven, there will be no magical white robe to cover our unrighteousness. 

Jesus is pure and spotless. He is the Lamb without blemish (cf. 1 Peter 1:18-19). He, therefore, will marry only a spotless bride, clean and pure. This explains why Ephesians 5:25-27, says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also 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 churchnot having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (emphasis added). Jesus went through all this trouble to make us pure because we are the Bride He loves. Consequently, He wants us to walk in purity and holiness. 

Jesus is coming back for a spotless Church. Anyone living in sin will not be at the marriage of the Lamb. Let no one deceive you that it is impossible to be holy and spotless. If it weren’t possible to be holy, Jesus wouldn’t entertain that expectation upon His return. We have all the divine grace we need to keep ourselves pure. Walking in purity and holiness is our only valid option. The good news is, we can do all things through Christ Jesus our Lord. Let’s together make ourselves ready for Him who loved us and has set us apart as His Bride.

May the Lord bless you and preserve you from all harm. Amen.

For further study: 1 John 3:1-9