Eat the Lord’s Flesh and Blood
The Lord said, “Eat My flesh and drink My blood, and you will live.” This may be the most suggestive expression about God’s truth. God’s entire world (which we will later see) is included in this word.
God wanted to give His flesh and blood to mankind. Jesus really did come on this earth and said, “Drink My blood and eat My flesh” and gave them to mankind. Through Him, we gain the greatest benefit of simply eating God’s blood and flesh.
Most people first think of food when it comes to ‘eating’. Though it is a natural reaction, it also shows man’s limitations in the flesh. People die – no matter how special their food is. But the bigger problem is the spirit dying. There must be something the spirit can live on except for food. This is Jesus Christ. Human beings can live by eating Jesus Christ’s flesh and blood.
There is a problem we must consider. Why did God use the word ‘eat’ when referring to our faith? The word ‘eat’ is actually a spiritual term. In man’s view, eating Jesus’ blood and flesh sounds like a metaphor. In God’s view, it is a reality. The Bible sometimes used the concept of ‘eating’. Ezekiel 3:1-3 says, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you” and Matthew 4:4 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
The scene where Jesus had the Last Supper with His disciples clearly shows the meaning of the word, ‘eat’. Jesus told His disciples, “Take this and eat. This is my body. This is my blood – the blood of the covenant. Take this and drink.” Jesus’ words, “Drink My blood”, means, “I will die for you”, and His words, “Eat My flesh”, means, “I will rise again for you.” This is the same as saying, “God has loved you.” We have life in us today because Jesus died for us. We have eternal life in us because Jesus rose from the dead. The Lord experienced the difficult process known as ‘death and the resurrection’ to give us real food and drink by God’s will. God has loved us.
The Lord’s Supper commemorates this fact. When members of the church take part in the Lord’s Supper, they confirm the Lord’s death and resurrection with each other. Baptism by immersion is closely related to eating Jesus’ blood and flesh. We join with Jesus’ death when entering the water in baptism. This is related to drinking Jesus’ blood. We participate in the Lord’s resurrection when coming out of the water. After this, we prepare for the Day of the Resurrection. This is closely related to eating the Lord’s flesh.
The Way to Eat the Lord’s Flesh and Blood
So how can we really eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood? Blood is related to atonement. We never knew about Jesus, but by trusting in His merit of shedding blood and dying, we are forgiven our sins and gain life. After that, we distance ourselves from sin by repenting each day. So being forgiven of sins and repenting is the way to drink Jesus’ blood.
Eating Jesus’ flesh means obeying God’s word. This includes saving, nurturing and taking care of people’s spirits. If we look at this slightly differently – since these are all the church’s work, we can say obeying the church’s work is the way to eat Jesus’ flesh. The Lord left the words of eternal life in the Bible. The Holy Spirit makes us remember these words. The church has the responsibility of encouraging and leading the congregation to obey them.
God made great efforts so mankind can receive His blood and flesh – the impossible was fulfilled. God was concerned about this, “Can mankind really handle His blood and flesh?” While God tested this, a person called Abraham appeared.
We understand what kind of person Abraham was through a few incidents written in the Bible. God made a covenant with Abraham, saying, “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will bless you And you shall be a blessing” (Gen 12:1-3, shortened). Leaving one’s country was very dangerous at the time, but Abraham completely trusted God’s word and left his country.
When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God said He would give him a son through his wife, Sarah. This was difficult to accept by common sense because Sarah’s period already stopped. But Abraham believed God’s word. As a result, he gained a son. God’s test did not stop here. He told Abraham to offer his son Isaac (whom he gained at the age of a hundred) as a burnt offering. Isaac surely needed to live to fulfill God’s covenant to Abraham. Offering Isaac as a burnt offering was a difficult word to accept. But Abraham obeyed this word. Abraham’s faith continued to his descendants, and this prepared the way of faith to receive God’s blood and flesh.
King Saul was the opposite of Abraham. He did not obey God’s word. God told Saul to attack Amalek, and surely destroy the people as well as every animal. But Saul disobeyed God’s command and saved the good cows and sheep. He thought God would be pleased if he offered them as sacrifices. However, disobeying God’s word can never please Him. God was pleased with Abraham because he only obeyed God’s ideas and not mankind’s common sense.
The forefathers of faith made preparations to fulfill the covenant. They did this by overcoming all kinds of trials and obeying God’s word. When the time came, Jesus Christ pointed to the temple of Jerusalem and said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn 2:19). This meant, “I will die for you, but I will rise again.” The Lord fulfilled this word exactly. Now the Lord says to us, “Bury your old self. From now on, you will be the church which feeds and lives on God’s word.”
The Gospel is the Lord’s Command Which Puts a Stop to Our Despair
The Gospel is the Lord’s command which puts a stop to our despair. To the people of the world, despair is like a law no one can oppose. Many people are discouraged when going through misfortunes, both large and small. Just like the saying, “Once bitten twice shy”, they are ready to flee even before misfortune happens. But we live by the Lord’s command, which quickly calms the fierce waves blowing on the world. The Lord saves us by breaking the law of despair and He will take us to heaven. Therefore, we must be accustomed to blocking off the crossroad of misfortune and despair with God’s help.
To do this, we must have the ‘the power of God’s blessing in our hearts. This does not mean we find psychological relief by briefly covering up pain and despair in our hearts. Just as Jesus came to the world in flesh so we could see God, the power of His blessing clearly comes to us. Life of faith is to always experience this power.
The first step to reveal the power of God’s blessing is by respecting and being considerate to other members of Christ. If these efforts continue, the pain in people’s hearts will be healed, and more and more people will open their hearts to each other. If the saints have sincere fellowship, God will help them powerfully and stem the despair in them. Those who experience this understand the way to overcome their fear of despair.
The Duty of Those who Ate the Lord’s Flesh and Blood
We are the members of Jesus – which is the church – who ate Jesus’ blood and flesh. As every limb of the body moves as one, every member of the church should move as one. On the night before leaving Egypt, every Israelite family took a lamb and ate it with the bones. This was commanded by God. This must not have been easy. There must have been those who disobeyed – asking why they needed to do this. But only those who obeyed God’s word came out of Egypt. It is the same today. God is pleased with those who obey His word, even if they cannot understand it. We need the faith that follows and obey the church’s works without trouble. Jesus’ disciples were not troubled when He gave them the bread and told them to eat. In the same way, believers should closely keep in step with the church’s works.
The new command is like the greatest part of the Lord’s body. He gave this for us. Obeying this cannot be done overnight. We must strictly discipline and train ourselves to obey this word. We drank the Lord’s blood because He loved us greatly. If we received this great love, we should help the church succeed by obeying the command to love each other. If someone wants to overcome an illness, or wants their family to prosper, they must first help the church prosper. This is because if the Lord has victory within us, He will take care of our lives.
We are the Lord’s body. We must therefore allow Him to use us as He wills. Let’s offer ourselves to the church. Firstly, let’s make the whole service be the time when God comes and works in us. The sermon must be the time when God speaks. This is not possible by the pastor’s efforts alone. This can be achieved when the whole church becomes one and yearns for God’s blood and flesh. Let’s build up the Lord’s perfect body together by drinking His blood and eating His flesh.