The Lord’s Blood and Flesh
“The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.’ These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.”
John 6:52-59 NKJV
God said He will be Immanuel – He will be with us – but to what degree is He going to be with us? He said, “I will be in you and you in Me. We will become one.” This oneness was something only ever seen in heaven; that is, it was something found only in God. God and His Son became one. “He in Me and I in Him.” But we were invited into that relationship. He wants us to be one with Him.
When God said, “I will be with you,” this is what He had in mind. It is not the kind of oneness that people think, where they are just physically living together in one building. It is about sharing all of His glory, His heart, His will and power. This oneness incorporates everything.
In order to fulfil that, Jesus not only spoke of becoming one; He did not simply give us the word to live. It is not as if He had a remnant of the word that He was able to share it with us. The Lord did not call that love. When He gave us the gospel, when He gave us the word, it was not that He had plenty of it that He gave it to us saying, “Hey, you can have some too.” In order for us to have that word, He gave His own flesh and blood. He tore His flesh and shed His blood.
He did not just give us words only, nor did He give us because He had some to share. No, in order to accomplish this, He had to shed His blood and sacrifice His life. Otherwise, it could not be done.
People might do good and help others because they can comfortably live and are able to afford it. But this is different to that. This is something that cannot be done unless He tears Himself apart completely and sacrifices Himself. That is what the Lord did.
God commanded His Son to do that, and the Son obeyed God’s will and thus displayed the love of God in fullness. Hence, we have all received the love of God by drinking the blood of Jesus and eating His flesh. Therefore, we need not be worried. The fact that we received the word, that we received the gospel was not possible apart from His blood and flesh. Without the shedding of the Lord’s blood, it was not possible.
Jesus made disciples, which means they are the ones who drank His blood. This is based on the precondition of the Lord’s sacrifice. Making disciples is not done with words. He tore and gave His own flesh, which is why they became His disciples.
Thus, for us to eat the flesh of Jesus and drink His flesh is not a metaphor or symbolic. When you ask some people if they ate the flesh of Jesus for sure and you ask them repeatedly, some answer that they have not. They get confused. Have you really eaten the flesh of Jesus? We have. We did. It is not that we are just going to say that we did. We actually did. Did you really drink His blood? Did you drink His blood? We did. Whoever says he hasn’t is confused and unsure. We did drink the blood. We are not just saying that for the sake of it. We have the blood of Jesus inside us. We have the flesh of Jesus, too.
To achieve that, Jesus tore His flesh and shed His blood. In doing so, He gave us the gospel. The gospel. It was not given to us by the power of God but by His sacrifice. That is why we can become His disciples. We became His true disciples.
So when we make disciples also, we cannot rear disciples merely with words. The gospel is always accompanied by sacrifice.
When our overseer teaches us, it is not only with words he teaches. A great deal of sacrifice is behind it. He suffered. Because of these things, we were able to become disciples and hear this word. We came to love him also. We did not only learn from him and regard him as our teacher only. We regard him as a true father. He bore the pain of tearing his flesh and blood in order to give this to us.
Our God’s plan to be with us in this way is not just at a level that people commonly expect. Rather, He gave His own flesh and blood to drink and thus gave us the life that is in God and allowed His mighty works to be inside us.
We will be going to heaven in due time, and there, just as the Father and Son are one, we will also become one. He wants us to receive His love there, in the same way that the Son received the Father’s love. If we have that hope, we will have rest when we get there. That place was described as a place of rest. This means there is no rest on this earth. Everything here makes us weary.
For the flesh, doing the Lord’s work is most troublesome and tiring. It is exhausting. It is mentally and physically exhausting. Why do we live like this? We could just take things as they come and take it easy. If I were to live as a natural man, I would not want to do any work that has to deal with people. I like working with machines. If I were a maker of some sort, I would not need to meet anybody but just work hard on my own. Whether it is engraving, sawing or sanding, I would not need to meet anyone. I would have a comfortable life. But we need to meet with people, resolve issues, and even undergo suffering. It is exhausting. When we get to heaven, all those things will be no more, and we will have true rest. Eternal rest.
This is rest found in God. This is rest that only God enjoys, and He is satisfied with. And He is letting us have that with Him. That is why He has us share us in His suffering on earth, too. He has made us owners (masters). The owner has a hard time. Why? Guests do not have a hard time. They are served since they are guests. They are there only for a short time. But the owner bears the hard times. That is why mission work and ministry are very different.
I was also part of the Chinese mission team, and people find it fun because you get to move around to different places. And the problem is that that is all they want to do. So what some people say is that they are the missionary type and that they will travel as a missionary. Because wherever they go, they are welcomed and liked. Since they preach to people and heal the sick, the people love them. They are treated like kings. After a week, they move to another place. The next time they come back, they are given a king treatment again. If they were to stay in one place for just six months, as they spend time with the people there, the people would start to see what they are like and aspects of them they did not know before. Conflicts will start to arise. People will notice that even missionaries are just humans. Conflicts will arise, and they will be dissatisfied about some things. A minister, on the other hand, bears all of those things because he stays in one place for decades. That is why ministry is difficult. Because he has to remain with the souls all the time. So, a missionary can be a teacher. A teacher who visits and stays for a short time. But a missionary who is there for a brief time cannot act like a parent. He is inadequate. A minister is one who must embrace souls continuously. A temporary visitor should not ignore or overlook the minister nor speak ill of the minister. Even though the minister is not able to provide those interesting and fun moments, he is there to feed them daily, help them solve the problems they face, and bear their sufferings. The minister bears it all with them.
Our Lord entrusted us with these works because He wants us to share in the rest He has up in heaven. He desires for us to partake and share in that beautiful resurrection and that rest.
That is why we share in the Lord’s suffering on earth. When we think of the flesh, it can be troublesome, weary and frustrating, but He wants us to endure it with Him because He bore it on the earth.
Thus, when we look forward to the hope of heaven, we are more than able to bear it with joy. But men who are without hope will simply find it troublesome. So what does it say in the Book of Malachi? People would say, “What a weariness!” That is what people would say. And they say that because they haven’t got hope. If we have hope, we will be thankful for it all. Let us pray that we will have the hope of heaven within us. Pray that we can be filled with the hope of partaking in the Lord’s rest.
Father God, we thank you for the promise of heavenly rest for us. Please fill our souls with strength so that, through the hope of heaven, we may truly endure all that we bear in the flesh on this earth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Sermon by Pastor Ki-Taek Lee
The Director of Sungrak Mission Center
Sermon on November 28, 2012
Translated by Sungrak Mission Center English Team