Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.” – John 6:53-54
Holy Communion is way, way more than symbol! Nevertheless, sometimes Jesus spoke in symbolic language.
Bread and wine are symbols — and surely way, way more than mere symbols — for Jesus’ body and blood. But today let’s deal with them at a symbolic level.
In a symbolic way, the ancient world understood the body — the flesh — to be symbolic of life. While you are alive, you are living in the flesh; whereas, one day, you’ll be beyond the flesh in the spiritual realms (with a new resurrected body, to be sure. But you get the point, right?) Flesh equals life.
Blood, on the other hand, represented death. When blood is spilled, what happens? Death.
Now put this together … in a symbolic way (and communion is way, way more than symbol, but in a symbolic way) what Jesus is inviting his people to do is to take part in his life and in his death. Indeed, we need to die to our life to take on his life. It needs to quit being about our wants and our desires and our purposes and our priorities; and it needs to start being about His goals and His purposes. It’s His Way and His Truth.
Do you remember the old bumper sticker that said, “God is my co-pilot.” Well, shortly after that saying arose, a new bumper sticker appeared: “If God is your co-pilot, change seats.” Dying to ourselves is changing seats. It’s allowing God to be in charge of our lives. It’s allowing him to set the agenda.
How many of us start the morning with our plan for the day? And fail to stop and ask God for his plan for our day, our week, our year, our life? I confess that I’m too often on auto-pilot. Through bread and wine and many and various calls throughout the pages of Scripture, God invites us to die to our life and take on his life (to partake in his life).
In Christ’s Love,
a guy who is flesh and blood
… only what I really need is
His flesh (His life) and
His blood (a symbol of
dying to what’s killing me
and rising to real life)