Thursday, August 13, 2015

John 6:51-58 Feeding on Jesus’ Flesh and Blood

KEY TEXT: John 6:54-56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

KEY THOT: The sacramental churches (Catholic, Lutheran and Anglican) tend to interpret this “feeding” on Jesus’ body and “drinking” of His blood as a reference to the Lord’s Supper. But the non-sacramental/reformed churches (Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, etc) would have difficulty accepting this as a direct reference to the Lord’s Supper, since its institution took place a year later. Be that as it may, this could very well be a reference to both his once-for-all atoning sacrifice at the Cross and also His continuing benefits from that atoning sacrifice mediated through the elements of the Lord’s Supper: life, healing and fellowship with Christ: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” This feeding and drinking is obviously a reference to a continuing abiding relationship, rather than a once-and-for-all offer at the Cross. But faith is prerequisite to receiving the benefits, otherwise it becomes superstitution: "Whoever believes has eternal life" (John 6:47).

When we partake the Lord’s Supper, we must do so in faith—faith not just in the work of the Cross but also faith in the continual blessings of the Cross received during Communion. In other words, we should come to Communion as an act of faith to seek Christ for His blessings (fellowship, healing and life). Just as feeding of the Word conveys the blessings of God to the reader, and drinking of the Spirit through prayer conveys the gifts of God to the worshipper, so partaking of the body and blood of Christ during Communion conveys Christ’s benefits to the communicant who does so by faith. But where faith is absent, none of the means of grace (Word, Prayer, and Communion) would mean anything to the person: they are just empty rituals. It is faith alone that releases God’s blessings through these means of grace.

When I come to the Lord’s table on Sunday, I must come with expectation to fellowship with Christ, to receive the benefits of the Cross (healing of spirit, soul and body) and to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” in an act of surrender. We should not come to the Lord’s table carelessly and without faith and fear of the Holy.

Father, I thank You that You have given us many means of grace, the chief among which is Baptism and Communion. I thank You that each time I partake of the Communion, I am partaking of Your life and Your benefits. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your comments.