Eating Flesh and Drinking Blood
“So Jesus said to them, ‘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 you. Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.” -John 6:53-55
These are difficult words for material thinkers like you and me. We are not used to thinking in “spiritual realities” when such is the intent. Being primarily physically-minded, it is not our tendency to see clearly the spiritual meaning of these words which Jesus speaks concerning His own body and lifeblood coursing through His veins. This is strange discourse which easily repulses us when thinking materially.
Tomorrow is execution day. Good Friday is the day two millennia ago when Jesus was crucified right outside a gate of Jerusalem. His torn body was raw, bloodied by scourging with multi-strand whips with metal pieces on the tips and by sharp penetrating thorns gouging His head, where blood flows so freely. There were jagged holes where huge spikes were driven through His feet and wrists and a wound from the plunging of a sharp spear beneath His rib cage, deep into His chest cavity, ensuring that the excruciating crucifixion had truly ended His life, even though before this He gave it up Himself to His Father.
According to what Jesus was speaking, His flesh and blood was to be eaten and drunk by any who sought to save their own life; Jesus truly said those who eat His flesh and drink His blood actually abide in Him and He in them.
But then, you and I were not physically present at the cross. Neither were billions of others who hunger and thirst for life beyond the grave. None of them were there to see or touch His broken, bloodied body. You did not accompany Joseph or Nicodemus to a tomb nearby where they laid Him. You did not walk with Mary and the other women early on the first day of the week to anoint and surround His dead body with sweet smelling herbs and spices. You did not witness the empty tomb with a huge round boulder rolled aside. You were not there.
Can you take His words as meant for you if you were not there physically? You must grasp them in another sense, as they did by Jesus’ counsel, if you believe they apply to you today. To have an application to everyone who takes these words as directed to them, they must see them spiritually. So, what then does eating His flesh and drinking His blood mean spiritually?
It is an active, vigorous faith which sees Jesus as just what He is called in His Word: your “Passover Lamb,” crucified for you. It is faith which sees yourself and your sin nailed to His cross with Him; faith understands you die, too, not guiltless as He, but guilty, and it also grasps that Jesus’ death in your place is efficacious. In other words: It works!
Consequently and continuously, you die to your sin and you die to yourself in His death. This is why the Scriptures say when you choose to willfully sin again after your sins have been once forgiven, in a real sense, you are crucifying your Savior again to pay for most recent sins. Harsh words, but we do continue to sin. God clearly wants you to know you need to think so much more seriously about it before you do.
Your faith clings to the truth of Jesus’ death as the only means of your redemption. This truth must be digested in your heart and mind repeatedly that it might become and remain one with who you are. It will impact how you think moment by moment.
Your faith sees the empty tomb, the beauty and power of His resurrection, which is the corollary proof of your own future resurrection. Faith sees Jesus alive within you, and it sees you living in Him. It enables you to actually walk with, converse with, and see yourself as His disciple, together with the familiar ones. It sounds crazy, but so it is.
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul writes, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith…or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?”
Just as the Gospel does, your faith puts you at the cross on Good Friday. This is faith transporting your spirit across ages to that cross of Christ. As you worship tomorrow, recount carefully the actual events of His time in the upper room, His praying in Gethsemane, His trial, and His crucifixion. Worship with the knowledge that you are with Him there. This is precisely how your remembrance of this day should come alive. Hear the words Jesus speaks on the cross and draw them close to your thoughts.
Do not discount the power of faith. Make tomorrow’s Good Friday a day of rich contemplation for you and your Lord together at the cross. Let your faith take you to such heights. Faith can do this. Let it!
“Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face-to-face. Here faith can touch and handle things unseen. Here would I grasp with firmer hand Thy grace and all my weariness upon Thee lean.
Here would I feed upon the Bread of God. Here drink with Thee the royal wine of heaven. Here would I lay aside each earthly load. Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.”
(First and second verses of Horatius Bonar’s hymn, “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face,” 1855)
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