At The Table The Bread And Wine Become The Risen Word
John1,14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
John4,24: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth."
John6,32-33: "Jesus then said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread [1Corinthians10,3-4 spiritual food and drink]. 33 For the bread of God is that which cmes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
John6,53-54: "Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood [spiritual food and drink] has eternal lfie, and i will raise him up on the last day."
1Corinthians2,12-15: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God [such as the risen flesh and blood of Jesus, blood from risen lamb, Revelation5,6, as envisioned also by His ever flowing "blood" and Spirit of John19,34], which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thought with spiritual words. 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God [like the blessed bread and wine of the supper], for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things [including the real food and drink of the supper, John 6,55], yet he himself is appraised by no one."
1Corinthians15,39-40: "All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is the flesh of men... 40 There are heavenly bodies and erathly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another."
As the 'word became flesh and dwelt among us' (John1,14) through the miraculous potency of the Holy Ghost, and the cooperation of Mary, we see how Someone Spiritual, God who is Spirit (John4,24), from heaven, becomes Someone physical on earth (who remains Spiritual as well).
Both man and God.
Jesus' incarnation is part and parcel of our everlasting and precious gospel faith and has been from the day of Pentecost: "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for certain that God [by his resurrection] has made Him both Lord [Yahweh=God] and Christ [Messiah]- this [man] Jesus whom you crucified." Acts2,36
The table of the Lord, like the incarnation it builds upon, is rich in biblical truth.
At it the bread and wine become the risen Word.
The supper is also part and parcel of our everlasting gospel faith. It is also his command to the entire church body, and to each of us personally. It personally and as a body ratifies our acceptance of His new covenant.
It also demonstrates our like precious faith, our one faith.
At the table, there is a type of reverse of the incarnation.
In the incarnation, the Spiritual (God is Spirit John4,24) became primarily physical.
At the table physical things, bread and the wine, become primarily Spiritual, by way of the blessing of the body of Christ (1Corinthians10,16) and the acceptance-blessing of this Spiritual sacrifice (1Peter2,5) by God in heaven, the same who told the Apostles to tarry in Jerusalem for the Holy Ghost blessing. Luke24,49
The blessing, 'the clothing with power from on high', that happens at the baptism in the Holy Ghost (born again of both water and Spirit baptism John3,5), is just like what happens at the table. At this baptism our physical body, gets consecrated and becomes primarily a Spiritual thing, a temple of the Holy Ghost, while remaining also physical.
Just as the physical things of the Hebrew Temple cult, such as the tent, the ark, the lavers and untensils all were consecrated and thereby became especially Holy (Exodus3025ff), so our blessing of the bread and wine renders them consecrated, especially Holy, by the blessing of God Himself in response to our acceptable Spiritual sacrifice (1Peter2,5).
This blessing renders the bread and wine His risen body, the only body He has now, and His risen blood, the only "blood" that exists now (risen blood from the risen lamb in heaven, Revelation5,6 and the ever flowing visionary "blood" and Spirit of John19,34).
Throughout John 6, Jesus' 'bread of life' discourse, and particularly at 6,32-33, Jesus is prophesying about the Spiritual nature of the Supper.
At John6,32 Jesus defines himself and what the supper gives as "true bread out of heaven."
He likewise defines himself at verse 51: "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
So in other words, He and his "flesh" came from heaven.
And as he later makes clear at verses 62 and 63 both he and His "flesh" that came down from heaven were going back there.
By His blessing, the risen Jesus comes "down" into the bread and wine. Just as God was in the tent, the temple, and the utensils of the Hebrew cult.
So why is it so hard to believe that a God who agreed to come to earth physically, and showed himself physically as God to Israel ("before Abraham was I am") , also demanded us to to eat and recognize Him Spiritually at the table, in the breaking of the bread? (cf Luke24,35)
Jesus had a man's physical body on earth. So, nobody ever ate his physical body on earth. He has no more physical body or blood. It was changed in an instand upon his resurrection. So all talk of "bread' and "flesh" here in John 6 is prophetic Spiritual or heavenly talk about his oprigin and the importance of the supper and the resurrected nature of his flesh and blood.
This is perfectly in keeping with 1Corinthians15,39-40 where Paul, speaking about resurrected bodies, says "Not all flesh is the same... 40 there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies."
When Jesus speaks of eating his "flesh" in John 6 he is talking about his heavenly body.
This heavenly-Spiritual focus is even more manifest in light of the fact that Jesus is testing His Jewish hearers here in John 6 who know as well as He does that per Genesis 9,4, Leviticus19,26 and Deuteronomy12,23 they ar forbidden to eat His physical flesh with His physical blood in it: "Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood , you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My Flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." John6,53-54
He's testing them to see that he comes from God, as their messiah, and as the prophet promised by Moses, Acts 3,22 by way of Deuteronomy 18,15. But most of his hearers can neither see who he is or understand the Spiritual nature of His prophecy about the richness and salvation nature of the supper.
So He makes one last attempt to clarify the Spiritual-heavenly nature of His origin and the supper: "Does this [physical talk] cause you to stumble? 62 What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; but the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."
There's nothing more Spiritual than Jesus' resurrection and ascension back to heaven. This post resurrectional, post ascension focus informs His teaching here.
Spiritual People Can Discern Spiritual Things Freely Given To Us By God
The Lord's table is a freely given Spiritual gift to us by God.
It is also His command.
As we know from the actual blessings of the Hebrew cult and temple, from the blessing of baptism in the Spirit, and the blessing-dedication of children, as we know from praying for, with, and over each other, blessings are very important and are an essential and ordinary act of our shared Christian faith and priesthood (1Peter2,5 and 9).
The blessing of the body of Christ per 1Corinthians10,16 of the bread and wine, extending our hands over the bread and wine, is a very important act of faith.
We're talking about spiritual food and drink (1Corinthians10,3-4), real food and drink (John6,55), Spiritual things, actual realities, that both our savior Jesus and the Apostle Paul expected that we could understand as faithful and Spiritual people.
May the Lord give us all eyes to see the rich biblical treasure that is found in a renewed and biblically based Lord's supper, just as the word and Spirit would have it, in Jesus Name I pray.
For a short video regarding the basic biblical principles of the supper:
If your church or group would like coaching as to a renewed biblically based Lord's Supper, please contact us.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...