The Symbolism of Communion
John 7:37-39 [NIV]
37On the last and greatest day of the Feast (of Tabernacle), Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
This glorification is Jesus’ death. As the Lamb of God, who was slain in the founding of world, He came into time and space, and became a man of flesh and blood. John the Baptist testified that He was the Lamb of God come to take away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
John 6:44-58 [NIV]
44″No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”
This, in essence, is the content of His testimony in the Last Supper. God ordained Passover for the Israelites when He delivered them out the Egypt, and it has been observed ever since. Finally it was fulfilled in the person of Christ Jesus, and with it, the transition from the Old Testament to the New.
The essence of our spiritual communion is that we partake of the bread and wine, which symbolizes His body and His blood, or the wholeness of His life as Lamb of God.
The substance is His life, His teaching and wisdom. In this light, the written word of God, the Bible, and the teachings of the Holy Spirit are indispensable to impart His wisdom. And this impartation or service requires a process, just like a babe will take all seasons of life to be nourished into a mature man.
This is _Part 5_ in the series The Gift and Work of the Holy Spirit: Resurrection Power and Eternal Life. To continue with this series, click on Pt 6. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series, Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3 and Pt 4.
Photo credit: caitlin.larussa