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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[11. Communion - Part 1]
This is the 11. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church."
by Frank L. Preuss
We take communion while we are eating a normal meal. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples (Matthew 26:26). Jesus introduced the communion and he did it while they were eating the Passover, it was part of the meal. The same is expressed in Mark 14:22, "And as they did eat". The Bible says it twice that they took communion as they were eating.
The statements of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11 become clear when we know that communion was taken as part of a normal meal. In verses 20 to 22 Paul accuses the Corinthians: "When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lordís supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not."
What probably happened in Corinth was that Christians who were hungry came to the meeting place and after they arrived started to eat the food and drink the beverage they brought along and did not wait for the others and did not share with the ones who did not bring anything. The one goes ahead drinking all his wine and gets drunk and the latecomer, the one that has nothing, remains hungry. That is not the Lord's supper says Paul. But it is quite clear that the Lord's supper had something to do with a normal meal, a meal to satisfy hunger and thirst. This is also expressed in 1 Corinthians 11:33-34: "Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation." Then, after they have eaten at home, they should go to the meeting place and there they can relax. Then, when everybody has arrived, eating can begin. And the ones who have already eaten at home are present but take part mainly in the communion. So the early church met together to have meals and while they were eating they had communion.
It is a communal meal. It is a point of contact or a conductor to a real spiritual communion with Jesus and the others. It is the feeling of fellowship with others and with Jesus. The solidarity with all other spiritual beings is demonstrated. The communion, the union, with all other believers and with the spirit of God is given expression. It reminds us of what Jesus did for us and that he is with us all the time. This remembering transfers spiritual forces from Jesus to us due to our raising of our spirit and our connecting it to Jesus'. We feel drawn to Jesus and we therefore take part in communion - to draw his spirit into us. It is a worship service. It is our will to serve God; a God that was revealed to us by Jesus. So we initiate something. Our aspiration towards God causes God's spirit to turn to us and to connect with us, as the bread and the wine connect with our body. We draw the spirit of Christ and his power towards us by our own desire and will to make connection with him and to come closer to him. It is our own spiritual aspiration that lets us come into contact with the power and the spirit of God and lets us draw it down into us. Our spirit assimilates His. Our will causes it that God turns to us and that we are getting filled and blessed with His might. It helps us to take part in communion.
Several scriptures show us that the meal that was used while they had communion was the evening meal:
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it (Exodus 12:8).
But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 16:6).
Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve (Matthew 26:20).
And in the evening he cometh with the twelve (Mark 14:17).
And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simonís son, to betray him (John 13:2).
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight (Acts 20:7).
When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed (Acts 20:11).
From Acts 2:42-47 we can assume that they had communion every day. In verse 46 it says that they continued daily with one accord in the temple. Then it says that they were breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. And in verse 47 we hear that the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. So we can assume that the breaking of bread also was a daily practice. But in verse 46 we hear that the Christians also came together to eat and also that the breaking of bread and the eating went hand in hand.
In Acts 20:7 we are told that upon the first day of the week the disciples came together to break bread. So they had communion on Sundays. From this we can deduct that communion was a weekly occasion.
The early church had communion quite often, probably once a week.
They broke bread in their homes we hear in Acts 2:46 and in Acts 20:7-8 we are told that the breaking of bread in Troas took place in the upper chamber. So it is quite clear that the meetings take place in homes and that therefore communion is administered in homes. It is not administered in church buildings. Also the first communion, the one administered by Jesus himself, took place in a house. Jesus said, I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples (Matthew 26:18) and in Mark 14:14 we find this confirmed, Jesus says, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? They had the Lord's supper in a house. In Luke 22:10-11 it is even mentioned twice that they eat the Passover in a house: And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
And the communion of the Old Testament, the Passover, had to be eaten inside one house (Exodus 12:46): In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
We know that the church met in a house (Romans 16:3-5, 1 Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15 and Philemon 1-2) and now we have seen that the Lord's supper was taken in houses. So the scriptures showing that the Lord's supper was taken in houses just confirm that the church meetings took place in houses, because communion is part of the coming together of the Christians.
The element we eat is bread (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, John 6:51, 1 Corinthians 11:24 and 1 Corinthians 11:26). This does not have to be any special bread, consisting of any special ingredients or baked at a special place or bought from a special source. Any bread will do. The only thing special is that it is eaten together, together by believers. When we study the Bible we find that wine is not mentioned. The Bible only speaks of the cup (Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25 and 1 Corinthians 11:26) and of the fruit of the vine (Matthew 26:29 and Mark 14:25). The fruit of the vine is grapes. And as it is a liquid, because it is in a cup and people drink it, it is the liquid from of grapes and that is grape juice. But as wine is also the fruit of the vine we cannot exclude it. So the normal thing to do is to use grape juice.
We have quite a number of statement of Jesus where he says, "This is my body" (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24) and "This is my blood" (Matthew 26:28 and Mark 14:24).
The Jews asked in John 6:52 the question: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? And today the problem is the same. People don't understand it. The normal explanation is to say that it is symbolic. But Jesus did not say, take and eat, this a symbol of my body. Jesus said, this is my body.
The actual problem is that the body of Christ is not understood - the church of God. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:29 that anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks damnation to himself. He does not recognize the meaning of the Lord's body. He does not discern the body. He is not thinking about the body of Christ and what it means. Without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that it is Christ's body. He does not properly evaluate the body.
Let us try to understand why we eat Jesus' flesh. Our body consists of food and drink we have taken in the past. Our flesh, bones, blood and muscles have been created from foodstuff we have once put into our bodies. The food and drink goes into our bodies and becomes skin, hair, organs etc., so the food we eat becomes our body. When we eat bread and drink wine it becomes our physical self. The grape juice and the bread we had is our body, firstly because it is in our body and secondly because through metamorphosis it is then changed into blood and all the other parts of our body. So it is quite clear that bread and wine we eat and drink is our body. But why is it Jesus' body?
The main reasons why denominations, and therefore divisions, exist is because Christians do not understand the body of Christ. If they would understand this body they would not divide it. The body of Christ is the believers. And we believers should be united, not divided. And when we understand this then we recognize the body of the Lord, and then we don't eat and drink damnation to ourselves. So every person who is part of a denomination does not recognize the body of the Lord and for this cause many are weak and sickly among them (1 Corinthians 11:30).
We Christians are the body of the Lord and this body has a spiritual meaning. But we must not forget that God is a God of the total world, the spiritual and the physical world.
God is spirit and he is the God of the spiritual world, but God created out of the spiritual world the physical world and he sustains this natural world of ours and holds it together. So God is also completely in control of the natural world and that includes our bodies.
Also our bodies are the body of Christ. And this is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 6:15: Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? The word "bodies" is important in this scripture. We might have always thought that to belong to the body of Christ is a spiritual thing, has only a spiritual meaning. But from 1 Corinthians 6:15 we know that it includes the whole person - spirit and body. Also our bodies are members of Christ.
So the whole person, including the body, is a member of Christ. Very nicely described is this also in Ephesians 5:31-32: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Christ and the church are one flesh. So I have to understand that also my body is a member of Christ. I am, my spirit and my body, a member of Christ, a part of Christ. That again means that if something is a part of my body it is also a part of Christ. Food and drink that I put into my body are members of my body and are members of Christ.
Everything that I eat becomes me and is me. Everything that I eat becomes Christ and is Christ. So what I eat is my flesh, is my body, is Jesus' flesh, is Jesus' body. So I am actually eating my flesh - what I eat becomes my flesh. So when we understand that our bodies are members of Christ himself we also understand that the bread we eat is the flesh of Christ.
Let us explain what is the blood of Christ and what is not the blood of Christ. When we hand the container with the wine around at communion, then all the wine that we drink is the blood of Christ and the wine that is left over is just wine. The wine that is left in the cup, that is not drunk by anybody, remains just ordinary wine. Only the wine that was drunk is the blood of Christ. The same with the bread. The pieces of bread that nobody took and that are left on the plate after everybody partook in communion are just ordinary bread. But the pieces that landed up in our stomachs are the body of Christ. So the communion elements only become the body and the blood of Christ when they are eaten and drunk by the members of the body of Christ.
So when the Jews and the disciples could not understand it when Jesus said "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" (John 6:51) then we can accept it because the mystery of the church was still a mystery. But we now have the whole New Testament and should therefore understand the mystery of the church.
Jesus taught us how to live the holy life that we might conquer death; he taught us what the end of mortal life will be, when man has reached the consciousness that he and God are one.
This point of contact - or this conduit - of communion is effective only when it is used by our own will and our own doing of our spirit and when our spirit receives and acquires these spiritual powers. The bread and the wine are the conduit through which the current - the communion - runs and this current is the spiritual communication with Christ. This communication should be a permanent one and the communion reminds us of it.
So let us read some of Jesus' statements regarding his flesh and his blood and let us see that Jesus makes clear cut statements and refers nowhere to symbolism.
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. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him (John 6:53-56).
Take, eat; this is my body. Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:26-28).
Take, eat: this is my body. This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many (Mark 14:22-24).
This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you (Luke 22:19-20).
Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me (1 Corinthians 11:24-25).
So Jesus very clearly says that it is his body and that it is his blood; he does not say that it is a symbol of his body or a symbol of his blood.
Now people have started to worry: If it is his body and his blood what about the leftovers, what about if something falls to the ground? If I drink the wine and I spill some of it, it falls on the floor or on my clothes don't I do something terrible to Jesus' blood? If I throw the rest of the bread and of the wine away is that not irreverent? If I rinse the cup don't I rinse Jesus' blood into the sink?
Here again we have to recognize the body of the Lord. Our bodies are the Lord's body and only that what goes into our bodies becomes and is our body and becomes and is the Lord's body. Only when the bread and the wine pass our lips and go into our stomachs and become our flesh and blood, only then they become the Lord's body and the Lord's blood. So when we see bread and wine in front of us, before we take it, it is just bread and wine, nothing else, and when we see the leftovers afterward, it is also just bread and wine. Only that what went into us is the real thing, the blood and flesh of Jesus Christ. And the fact that we ate and drank together, that we ate from the same bread and drank from the same wine is the reality of unity.
May be we should not worry when somebody takes part in communion who is not a child of God, because he simply just ate bread and drank wine, nothing else; for him it was not Jesus' flesh and blood, because he, his body, is not Jesus' flesh and blood.
More serious becomes the issue when somebody takes part who is a Christian but belongs to a denomination. He, his body, is part of Jesus' body, so the bread and wine he eats and drinks are Jesus' flesh and blood. But he eats and drinks without being qualified, without recognizing the body of the Lord and he eats and drinks damnation to himself. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (or, judgment) to himself, not discerning the Lordís body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" (1 Corinthians 11:29-30).
It says that for this cause many are sick among you. So there were many cases of sickness and many cases of deaths in the church of Corinth, and that because of their divisions. To be a member of a denomination is therefore a cause of sickness. So if you are sick and have tried everything to get rid of your illness, may be you try one more method: get out of your sect. But you should not really try, you should do this step in your life very consciously, very much aware of what you are doing and doing it in faith. And do it now, because you want to get rid of your dis-ease now.
We have to remember that the first letter to the Corinthians started with the assessment of that church in Corinth as being divided. We will only understand this book of the Bible when we see that Paul deals in this letter with the problems Christians will face when they are divided, when they take part in groups and cliques, when there is a spirit of discord, of divisiveness. That is what it is all about in this book and only when we see this as basic theme of this letter, will we understand this letter. In the first four chapters it is shown that the Corinthians are unspiritual, carnal, worldly, and in the chapter 5 and 6 the results of this are shown: sexual immorality and lawsuits among believers. It is in this chapter 6 that we find Paul's question (1 Corinthians 6:15): Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?
And in chapter 11 he still talks about divisions among the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11:18), "For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it," and then he goes into details what problems divisions cause at the Lord's supper and that that disunity means eating the bread and drinking the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner and that those will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:27): "Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." We have to examine ourselves, we have to judge ourselves before we take part in the Lord's supper (1 Corinthians 11:28 and 31): "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." We have to get out of a position of being divisive, of disunity. "Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another" (1 Corinthians 11:33) - be in unity, don't be out of step, don't do your own thing, so that it may not result in damnation (1 Corinthians 11:34): "And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation."
So it is very important to recognize the body of the Lord, to have no divisions and to know that our bodies are the Lord's body. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?
It is not only our spirit that is part of Christ, it is also our body. What we eat and drink is flesh and blood of the Lord. In Mark 14:22 Jesus said, "Take, eat: this is my body." He did not say, "This is my body; take it." The sequence is important. First they took it, then they ate, then, after eating it, it was his body. It was not his body before; only after they ate it, it became Jesus' body. Even clearer are the next two verses (Mark 14:23-24):
And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
Only after they all drank of it, only after that, did Jesus say that it was his blood. Only after it had gone down into their mouth and become part of their bodies, it was his blood. The same sequence is found in Matthew 26:26 and in Matthew 26:27-28. First came the taking, then came the statement that it is Jesus'.
These details help us to better understand the Lord's supper and we have to meditate on them in order to better understand the Lord's body, to recognize the body of the Lord. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lordís body (1 Corinthians 11:29).
A person who is guilty of dividing the body, a divisive person, a person being part of a denomination, does not discern the Lordís body and brings damnation to himself.
The recognizing of the body of the Lord brings us to the basic issue. Where do we come from, who are we, where are we going? We are all children of God. We are all God's children, whether we know it or not. God is perfect and so are we. When we are conscious of our perfection we will live a full life and when we are not conscious of this then we let ourselves being let into all kinds of problems. It is this consciousness of our own origin, of our present position and of our future position. When we realize that we, based on our aptitude and our inner being, are complete, then we make use of this and live a life accordingly. When we do not realize this, then all kind of problems will burden us. Our inner outlook and our inner consciousness will form our outer life. The outer living conditions and the conditions of our body will be a reflection of our inner thinking and attitude. The spiritual world forms and determines the physical world. We constantly create our living conditions according to our inner composure. We have been spirit and we are spirit now and we will remain spirit. Only during the now we have obtained a body. And this physical body tempts us to forget that we are still spirit and will remain so for ever. When one day we will put aside our body it will just mean that we turn into something much better. When we have problems in this life then this just means that it is necessary that we recall our actual position and realize that we can change it anytime. We are the creators of our living conditions. God created us in his image; in the image of God he created us. God is a god of creation. And so are we. We are gods of creation. This is our true purpose. We are here to learn. It is our assignment to learn. But this job of learning is a special one. We are not here to learn for the sake of learning. We are supposed to learn something specific. We are here to learn to create. The making of our living conditions will be our creations. And to do this more effectively and more impressively, it will be possible for us to create the negative as well as the positive. And when we have created something negative then we can recall our origin coming from God, our present spiritual existence, and our future spiritual reality, and we can create a change. Our outlook and our thinking will determine what we will get. When we are tormented by sickness then we will have to recall our spirituality, recall who we are actually. We are spirit. God is spirit. We are one with God. There is unity. There is oneness. There is only one. We find ourselves in the situation of separation in order to observe this oneness, to observe it from outside. But in reality we are still part of the whole and we are not really separated. All separation is illusion. The fall in the Garden of Eden just happened in the thinking, there was no separation in reality. God never separated himself from us. We separated ourselves from him, or we believe we have done so. Or we believe that there is no such thing as God or spirituality. To adhere to such illusions are possibilities that are open to us. But they are not necessary. Illusions as well as diseases and every form of suffering are things we can choose. We can create such things. And when we have created such things, we can look at them and think it over, think if we like what we have created. And when we don't like what we have created we can change it. We can create something that we like more. But all our creations and all our works will start in the spiritual realm. Only when we are conscious of who we are, that we actually have unending life, unending wisdom, unending abundance, will we change a negative situation into a positive one. So it is necessary to become still - time and again - and to go inside and look inside to see who we really are. We are children of God and therefore perfect as he is and when we realize this then the decisive step away from sickness is done. The deciding factor is the cognition of who we are - to be aware of being part of God. This will be followed by the correct thinking and the correct speaking afterwards. And this again will be followed by the physical circumstances. We will have created something. And this was done the same way as we created something negative. We created the negative by following, out of our being conscious of lack and in the absence of cognition of who we are, a way of thinking, that again determined our speaking, and so created something we did not like. I have to change my thinking. If I aim for a perfect, profound and healthy life then I have to become a new creation, I have to wake up and become conscious and I have to recognize that we are all one, that God and I and all other human beings, including the good ones and the bad ones, are one and that there is no separation. The decisive fact is this understanding that all people, without exception, are belonging to this oneness with God, to this one and only reality. This understanding of oneness is reached, when I recognize the body of Christ. Then I know that God and his Son, Christ and all his brothers, are one. And all men are Christ's brothers and God's sons - also those who are not conscious of this or who don't want to be conscious of it. It is important to see this connection between sickness and self-knowledge. Only when we see this connection can we really overcome sickness. We have to learn to see man as he really is and not so as he seems to be. Man is creator as God is. Man is creating himself, he creates his body and he determines in what condition his body is. He makes his life and he makes his destiny. And he does this best when he is conscious of his belonging to all that is and that exists - to all in the physical and in the spiritual realm. When this light is in me and determines my inner reality then it will have an effect on my creations in the outer world. Also my outer world will be full of light and abundance. However dreadful a situation may seem to appear I will then be able to bring about a change that will meet my inner situation. Healing and help will be the result. Healing will always first start inside. All outer needs, like food, drink, clothing and health, will be added unto me when I first seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness. This inner change and transformation will cause it. And when I seek his kingdom and his righteousness then I will break away from all negativity, like envy, jealousy, bitterness, quarrelling. I become one with the divine being. Negativity will disappear. All dis-ease will disappear. Communion of all the parts will be the expression of this oneness, the assembling of the parts and the expressing of their oneness through a common meal. Nobody will be excluded. Participation without proper understanding of oneness will cause disadvantages like sickness. Non-participation will come from the free will. To decide not to participate will however not abolish the fact, that oneness cannot be broken.
The shadow of communion is the Passover of the Old Testament as described in Exodus. It was an act of deliverance. Two aspects of deliverance are prominent: deliverance from sickness and deliverance from poverty. Psalm 105:37 describes them:
He brought them forth also with silver and gold:
and there was not one feeble person among their tribes.
The children of Israel took part in the Passover and as the result of this partaking their lives changed: instead of being sick and ill and of having dis-eases, there was not one feeble person among them; and instead of being poor and destitute slaves they were laden with silver and gold. Exodus 12:35-36 gives us the details of this sudden wealth:
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
If we take part in communion and we discern the Lordís body we will have health and wealth as a result.
Scriptures like Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24 show us that by Jesus' wounds we have been healed, that Jesus took up our infirmities and carried our dis-eases.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Jesus brought through his death on the cross our salvation. But this salvation included everything, the spiritual aspect as well as the physical aspect. It brought us eternal life but it also brought us salvation in the physical realm. It bought us healing and it brought us also prosperity. That material blessings and riches were the result of Jesus' work on the cross comes to us from 2 Corinthians 8:9: For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
So we can become healthy and rich when we take part in the Lord's supper.
The Old Testament example of healing is found in 2 Chronicles 30:15-20:
Then they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD. And they stood in their place after their manner, according to the law of Moses the man of God: the priests sprinkled the blood, which they received of the hand of the Levites. For there were many in the congregation that were not sanctified: therefore the Levites had the charge of the killing of the passovers for every one that was not clean, to sanctify them unto the LORD. For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim, and Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the passover otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, The good LORD pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary. And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people.
Hezekiah invited Israel to the Passover and he prayed for the people and the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. Healing and prosperity are ours when we eat the bread and drink the cup of the Lord in a worthy manner.
Another interesting aspect of participating in the breaking of bread is that we can enjoy the favour of all the people (Acts 2:46-47):
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
We find one example in Exodus 12:31-36. The Passover resulted in a change in the attitude of Pharaoh. He let the children of Israel go. He told them to worship the Lord, he told them to take their flocks and herds and he even asked them to bless him. The Egyptians urged the Israelites to leave and gave them articles of silver and gold. The Passover changed the attitudes of the enemies of God's children: The Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people.
And he (Pharaoh) called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
So taking part in communion will change the attitude of our enemies. And it will change us from slaves into victorious Christians. They marched out boldly in full view of all the Egyptians (Numbers 33:3):
And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
Another example is found in Ezra 6:19-22:
And the children of the captivity kept the passover upon the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and the Levites were purified together, all of them were pure, and killed the passover for all the children of the captivity, and for their brethren the priests, and for themselves. And the children of Israel, which were come again out of captivity, and all such as had separated themselves unto them from the filthiness of the heathen of the land, to seek the LORD God of Israel, did eat, and kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with joy: for the LORD had made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.
For seven days they celebrated with joy the feast of unleavened bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.
So we will be filled with joy as well and the recognizing of the body of the Lord will result that even outsiders will help us to build God's church. So when we partake we should discern what Jesus achieved for us on the cross: salvation, healing, prosperity, boldness and favour.
The most detailed report of what Jesus said on the evening of the Passover is found in the Gospel of John. John writes five chapters, chapters 13 to 17, to record the things Jesus says and prays. When we study these five chapters our understanding will grow. The mystery of the church will become reality as we see the connection between the Father, the Son and us.
The key verse is John 17:21: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.
What is the result of all this for us? We must become conscious that all life is one, the physical as well as the spiritual life. All creatures, God and all men, are one. We have to keep this realization and preserve it. It must become alive in our daily life and we have to practice it. Real communion is to have this in hour heart: Oneness.
This is the end of "Communion - Part 1."
Go to the German version of this chapter: Abendmahl - Teil 1
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