Matthew 26:26-28 Jesus took bread…and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup… saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
I have this need to insert myself into a story to try to understand what the characters in the story experienced. I imagine that the disciples were utterly confused with what Jesus was trying to tell them as they celebrated Passover. Jesus had told them of his approaching death, but now, He was telling them that they needed to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Even figuratively, this had to be grotesque and confusing.
In essence, Jesus was saying that for them to receive forgiveness and life, the disciples needed to consume, or cannibalize, him. It was not enough that He die. It was necessary for them to ingest and rely on him for sustenance. This had to seem bizarre and repulsive to the disciples.
Even writing about it now, putting it in graphic terms, seems to be offensive but these are Jesus’ words, not mine. Though we regularly celebrate communion, we do not often think in the explicit terms of actually eating Jesus. As a sacrament or ritual, we may have normalized communion it to the point where it has lost some of its meaning. I think that Jesus meant for the idea to be radical. I think He wanted to shock the disciples with this truth.
The reality that they needed to understand and the reality that I need to understand, is this: Just as we all need to regularly consume food to maintain our physical life, we need to continually consume Jesus to maintain our spiritual life.
Just as I do not eat only once in life, I do not accept Jesus into my heart, and then walk away. Though the supply of Christ is endless, it is something I need to continually fill myself with for my spiritual survival. If I want his eternal life in me, this is not optional. I must consume Jesus continually.
I know all too well what happens to my spirit life when I starve it. When I fail to fill myself with Christ daily, my spiritual life withers, becoming emaciated and weak. I then fill myself with that which my flesh nature desires. My faith, in this fragile state, cannot hold off my pursuit of me, and I sow the seeds of my own destruction.
I have, many times, looked at my own life, wondering where God was. I could not feel his life in me as I had failed to fill myself with him. I starved my spirit life and then had the audacity to wonder why it was anemic and powerless. If I want a vibrant, tangible spirit life, I must choose to consume Christ daily.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.