The True Communion
Ever wonder why we take communion?
What’s the big deal? Why do we have this solemn, reverential moment every Sunday (or for some the first or second Sunday of every month) to remember the Lord’s broken body and blood that was shed?
We certainly don’t need to eat bread and drink wine to remember it. His sacrifice and subsequent resurrection is our message to others. The gospel is not just His death. It’s not just His burial. It is the sum total of His death, burial, and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1-4).
I’ve pondered over this for quite some time over the years, but never dug into the scriptures and asked the Lord about it, until just recently.
I would like to share it in the hopes that we all will see the greater spiritual significance of taking the bread and the wine. In this study, we will see that Jesus Himself said His words are spirit and life.
A very dear brother and friend said, “You must think spiritually.”
I am realizing as I grow in the Lord that everything given to us by revelation from the Spirit of Jesus Christ must be understood or discerned spiritually, as opposed to the carnal mind. Or as the scripture says, “The natural man”.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 KJV - (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. [Emphasis added are mine]
Discern: examine or judge
1a) to investigate, examine, enquire into, scrutinise, sift, question
1a1) specifically in a forensic sense of a judge to hold an investigation
1a2) to interrogate, examine the accused or witnesses
1b) to judge of, estimate, determine (the excellence or defects of any person or thing)
When we spiritually discern we are trying to found out the proper understanding of events? What is really being meant? What is the truth?
Natural vs. Spiritual
Gal 5:16-18 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
There is a constant battle raging within us between our flesh and our spirit. We all can readily admit that daily struggle in our lives. That battle also wages between the mind of our flesh and the mind of our spirit. Logic is good, but it must submit itself to the supremacy the ways, will and Word of God. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and so when we try to understand Him we must do so on a higher level than just our carnal mind. It must be done so spiritually.
Let’s begin in Matthew and Luke.
Matthew 4:4 KJV - But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. [Emphasis added are mine]
Luke 4:4 KJV - And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. [Emphasis added are mine]
When Jesus rebuked Satan during his hour of temptation (40 days) Jesus quoted Himself from the Old Covenant, specifically from Deuteronomy chapter 8.
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 KJV - All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers. (2) And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (3) And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.
Deuteronomy 8:6 KJV - Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.
Deuteronomy 8:18 KJV - But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
If we read all of chapter 8, we find that this chapter is one of tremendous exhortation to hearken to the word of God and DO IT. God led the Israelites 40 years in the wilderness and purposely allowed them to suffer hunger to see if they would keep His word (commandments). But he used that situation to teach something for all generations:
Man should live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
1Co 15:46 - Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
Countless of times the Lord teaches us something spiritual, but first through the natural. The Old Covenant is a perfect example of this. Many natural types were seen, but they represented something far greater and more important in the spirit.
The manna (bread) was the natural illustration used to represent the more important spiritual principle.
The whole chapter is a reminder to us to keep His word and He will be faithful to us and “do thee good at thy latter end” (v. 16). The true people of God are to be fed by His word (manna-bread). We will be sustained by His word, healed by His word, nourished by His word, kept clean by His word, strengthened by His word and so on. This is confirmed by v. 4, and all that we read of in the scriptures, when it says, “Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years”.
This reference is given to us to show us the power/ability of His word to care for all of our natural needs, but this also holds true for our spiritual needs.
The word of God is given to feed the people of God. Psalms also speaks of this.
Psalms 81:10-11 KJV - I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt : open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. (11) But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. [Emphasis added are mine]
God desired to fill His people with His words. He desired that they would open their mouth wide and be filled, but they would not hearken to His voice – His word. They would not be filled with His word. They rejected His word and subsequently rejected Him.
John 1:1, 4 KJV - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
These scriptures, along with Rev. 19:13, identify Jesus as the manifest Word of God. When Jesus came in the flesh, He expected the Jews to hearken to His voice (eating His manna), just as He expected the Israelites to do in the O.C. By doing so, they would receive the blessings and promises of God.
However, He came unto His own and His own received Him not (John 1:11). In other words they rejected Him, just as Psalms 81 said the Israelites rejected Him.
Now, continuing on through John, in chapters 6 & 7, keep this aforementioned information as our interpretive base and apply it to what we read Jesus said:
John 6:26-27 KJV - Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. (27) Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus had just fed 5 thousand people with bread and fish and they came after Him the next day for more food, but He rebuked them that they should not seek after bread ("a food" naturally speaking) but rather the “meat” that endures to everlasting life (“a food” spiritually speaking).
However, this “meat” Jesus spoke of is not natural meat. Natural meat perishes. He was speaking about spiritual “meat”. Let us keep reading and find out what He really was referencing.
John 6:29-38 KJV - Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (30) They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? (31) Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. (32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. (33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. (35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. (37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus here identifies Himself as the bread of God - the bread of life that comes down from heaven to give life. Those who “come to Him” will never hunger. Those who believe on Him will never thirst. These statements indicate to us that we “come to Him” by believing on Him and in doing so we will not hunger or thirst.
Remember the John 1 scriptures, Jesus was identified previously as the Word of God. In the New Covenant the same principle found in Deuteronomy 8 is still expected – to hearken (to eat - believe, receive, trust) the word(s) of God (the bread of heaven).
What was the “meat” though? Let’s go back just a little bit to find out what He was referring to when He spoke of “meat”.
John 4:31 -34, 39-42 KJV - In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. (32) But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. (33) Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? (34) Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
(39) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. (40) So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. (41) And many more believed because of his own word; (42) And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. [Emphasis added are mine]
Labouring for the meat which endures to everlasting life leads us to do the will of God!
Chapter 4 exemplifies exactly what He spoke of in chapter 6. The “meat” is to do the will of God. You do the will of God by hearkening to His word. This is no different then what we read in the Old Covenant account of eating (hearkening, believing, receiving, trusting) the manna (the word of God).
The result of hearkening to His voice caused people to believe on Him, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
John 5:30 KJV - I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
This verse here confirms again, that we are here to hear and obey the word of God, thereby doing His will and not our own.
Jesus said the Son of man would give this meat to his disciples.
What would happen to them? (see Eph. 1:13, 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:21,22) – they would be sealed with the seal of God, just as Jesus was sealed (John 6:27).
Now, going back to chapter 6:
John 6:47-58 KJV - Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (48) I am that bread of life. (49) Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. [Emphasis added are mine]
When Jesus speaks of this bread that he will give, which is His flesh for the life of the world, He is referring to the sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world (Gal. 1:4; I John 2;2). But notice Jesus uses terms He has previously used in the Old Covenant to get his message across. He’s using bread to symbolize His flesh, but from Deuteronomy we have seen what this bread truly represented.
(52) The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
The Jews were confounded at this because they could not see that He was speaking spiritually using natural terms to natural men. They interpreted His words naturally and therefore were confused and could not understand what He was truly saying. This should tell us that the words Jesus spoke in this context are not to be interpreted naturally, but otherwise - spiritually.
(53) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus, knowing their confusion, continued to push this issue by telling them that they must eat of His flesh and drink His blood or else they will not have life in them. To the natural man, this sounds so bizarre and cannibalistic when you interpret it naturally and this is exactly how the Jews thought.
His words are true, but we must discern them spiritually. This is a perfect example of natural man (Jews) being unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God (His words) because they are complete and utter foolishness to him. The words of God MUST be spiritually discerned.
(55) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (58) This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. [Emphasis added are mine]
Since we realize that these words are not to be interpreted naturally, then we must seek spiritual understanding. It isn’t that they should not be taken literally. They should be taken literally, but with the spiritual understanding or interpretation.
Jesus here emphasizes the literalness of His “flesh” being “meat indeed” and the literalness of His “blood” being “drink indeed”. We have addressed above that the “meat” referred to doing the will of the Father. The “blood” is akin to His Spirit, but I will expound on this later.
Let’s look closely at this phrase “dwelleth in me, and I in him.”
Jesus said whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood would dwell in Him and He would dwell in them. The next time Jesus uses this phrase is in John chapter 10 where He says, “But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” Jesus told the Jews that if they believed the works that He did, they would know and believe that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father.
If we eat of His flesh (hear and obey His words) others will know that the Father is in us and we are in the Father. Jesus spoke of this again when He spoke of the vine and the branches in John chapter 15.
If we abide in Him and He abides in us, we will bring forth much fruit. This just another analogy, like the eating of His flesh is an analogy, of hearing and obeying His word. We abide in Him and He in us when we hear and obey His words. Without Him (His Spirit) we can do nothing.
Jesus used this same type of reference when He spoke as the Almighty Alpha and Omega in Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” We feed off of His words, and He lives His life through us as we obey Him, as we yield ourselves to His Spirit. You can’t be disobedient to His word and be walking according to His Spirit. It’s impossible!
John, the apostle, speaks of walking in the light as He is in the light. In Psalms, the word is represented as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We need to walk in the light of the word. That is simply done by hearing and obeying the word of God.
Psalms 119:105-107 KJV - NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (106) I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. (107) I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
The eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood was a hard saying to accept, but Jesus continues, relentlessly…
John 6:61-64 KJV - When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (62) What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? (63) It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (64) But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. [Emphasis added are mine]
Here Jesus solidifies this spiritual interpretation of His words by saying it is the Spirit that gives life. He even goes so far as to say, the flesh profits nothing. Seemingly contradictory to what He just said previously that you must eat His flesh.
All along He was speaking spiritually to them, but because they interpreted what He said naturally they could not understand. Jesus said,
“The WORDS that I SPEAK unto you, THEY are SPIRIT, and THEY are LIFE.”
And then to finish off the thought He says, “There are some you that believe not.” In other words, some of you are not eating.
Just like the Israelites of the Old Covenant who would not open their mouths wide to be filled, nor hearken to His voice and chose to have nothing to do with Him, so were the Jews who listened to the words of Jesus. From that moment, the scriptures say, “Many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” They did not believe. They would not eat of His words.
We must ask, observing these events and occurrences, how then do we eat this spiritual bread?
John 7:16-18 KJV - Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. (17) If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (18) He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. [Emphasis added are mine]
By doing His will and seeking His glory.
Luke 8:11 KJV - Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Luke 8:21 KJV - And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
1 John 2:5 KJV - But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:
For all of this above, I believe that when Jesus spoke of eating His “bread” or His “flesh” in these passages, He was spiritually speaking of hearing, believing, receiving and doing His word.
Since this is so, what does the blood or wine represent?
We will start in Leviticus.
Leviticus 17:11,14 KJV - For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
Naturally speaking, the life of flesh is in our blood. When the blood of someone or some animal was shed it referred to the taking of its life, because naturally speaking the life of all flesh is in the blood.
James speaks of this, but uses this analogy:
Jam 2:26 KJV - For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Spiritually, the life of the body is our spirit.
Since the blood is representative of life for the flesh, let us look and see what is said of the “the Spirit”.
John, the apostle, wrote of the man Jesus Christ that, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
What was life or what was the life that was in Him?
Do you think it was referring to His blood?
Remember it is the “spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profits nothing.” The spirit of a man is his life and the same was true for the man Jesus Christ. We all know that the spirit that gave Him life was the very Spirit of God - hence “God was in Christ” for “God is a spirit.”
Romans 8:10 KJV - And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [Emphasis added are mine]
2 Corinthians 3:6 KJV - Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. [Emphasis added are mine]
Galatians 6:8 KJV - For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. [Emphasis added are mine]
The Spirit is life, gives life, and sowing to the Spirit reaps eternal life.
Let’s look at what Jesus said when He told the listeners to come unto Him and drink.
John 7:37-39 KJV - In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Remember when Jesus spoke to the Samaritan women in John chapter 4?
He spoke of living water (John 4:10). Jesus used the same terms in chapter 4 of the John, as He did in chapter 7 of John, and expounded further by stating that the water that He would give would become a well springing up to everlasting life within a person.
These terms (water, fountain, life) were NOT introduced in the scriptures at this point for the first time.
Psalms 36:7-9 KJV - How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (8) They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. (9) For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jeremiah 2:13 KJV - For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jeremiah 17:13 KJV - O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. [Emphasis added are mine]
Jesus quoted Himself again from the Old Covenant (just like He quoted Himself in reference to the manna-bread-flesh) and was bringing these terms into the light. The living waters He spoke of referred to the “gift of God” (John 4:10), the blessing of Abraham (Gal. 3:14), the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4, 2:33) a.k.a. the Spirit of God – the Holy Ghost.
Since Jesus said, “come unto me and drink” in John 7 and we have seen in the previous chapter that Jesus kept referring to drinking His blood (John 6:53-54), then I don’t think it a stretch at all to believe that when Jesus referred to drinking His blood, He was spiritually referring to His Spirit, not naturally referring to His flesh’s blood.
It is also said of Jesus that He was “The true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Jesus was the true light because in Him there was no darkness, no sin. Perfect and pure without spot blemish or wrinkle, He was the true light. Not only is He the light of the world (John 1:8,9; 8:12 ; 12:35 ,36,46; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 5:14 ; Rev. 21:23), but He says we are the light of the world.
Our spirit is the candle or light.
Proverbs 20:27 KJV - The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. [Emphasis added are mine]
Matthew 5:14-16 KJV - Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. [Emphasis added are mine]
The light also refers to our good works, that we may glorify the Father. We can’t show good works without hearing and obeying His word. As Jesus said, “doing His will”.
Matthew 6:22-23 KJV - The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Our “eye” is our spirit. And this verse says, that our spirit must be “single” or singly devoted to light (good works) rather than darkness. The good works are those that follow in the footsteps of the true Light, Jesus Christ - our God who is Light (1 John 1:5).
John 12:35-36 KJV - Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. (36) While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. [Emphasis added are mine]
Remember light also refers to His word. He speaks of walking in the light as He is in the light. The word is regarded as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. We need to walk in the light of the word. That is simply done by hearing and obeying the word of God.
Psalms 119:105-107 KJV - NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (106) I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. (107) I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
What does Jesus say about the new wine in Matthew?
Matthew 9:17 KJV - Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
To receive the new wine (the Holy Spirit), we must become new bottles (repentant ready/holy vessels) in order to receive the Spirit of God.
We are told by Paul that we have been made to “drink” into one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV - (13) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
When did that happen? When we were baptized into one body through the born again experience of Acts 2:38.
When Jesus spoke of drinking His “blood”, He was spiritually referring to receiving His Spirit.
© copyright 2003 Jesus M. Ruiz