Summary: A Lord’s Supper Devotional.
SYMBOL OF HIS BODY
INTRO: Jesus said, “This is my body, which is for you.” This is probably the oldest document in the New Testament and it is the earliest account of the Lord’s Supper in the Scriptures. Paul got the story from some of Jesus’ disciples who were with him that night when he instituted the ordinance. In the later accounts in the Gospels, Jesus is reported as having said, “This is my body.”
I. CONSIDER THE INCARNATE CHRIST.
We believe that God became a man in the person and flesh of Jesus of Nazareth. Mysteriously he was both human and divine, both man and God. This does not mean that he was some sort of demigod, half man and half God, like some character in Greek mythology. He was fully human and fully God at the same time in the same person.
Jesus chose bread as a symbol of his body. Consider its brokenness. Let’s examine the metaphor. You break the ground to plant wheat. The wheat is cut and beaten with a flail to extract the grain. Then it is crushed and ground to make flour. Flour and water or milk are mixed and then baked in an oven to make bread. Finally, the bread is broken at the table in order to be eaten. What a vivid symbol of his body given and broken for our salvation. This very thing happened to Jesus on the cross. That night when Jesus said, “This is my body,” he was giving a prophecy of what was to happen within a few hours. We look back at that with deepest gratitude.
II. THE BODY OF CHRIST TODAY.
There are two distinct ways we may think of the body of Christ today. The risen Christ has a glorified body since his resurrection. It seems mysterious to us. It was real, for he spoke with his disciples, he ate with them, and they could see his wounds and touch him. Yet, he could come and go at will. He could enter a locked room and then disappear. His new body was fitted for a different realm and existence from our own world. We could get excited when we think of his glorified body because Christ is the firstfruits of the resurrection. One day we, too, will have a new body like his.
Jesus ascended fifty days after his resurrection. His glorified body is now in Heaven, at the right hand of God’s throne (the position of highest honor). There he is exalted and makes intercession for us. At his martyrdom, deacon Stephen saw the risen Christ in a vision.
There is another sense in which the New Testament speaks of the body of Christ. The church is his corporate body (1 Cor. 10:17). Paul also wrote concerning the church in Eph. 4:4-6. The body of Christ is the church. It is made up of millions and yet we are one. The church consists of all believers of all time. The church is the body of Christ and he is its head.
III. OUR BODIES.
Just as Christ spoke of the bread as symbolic of his body, the Scripture speaks about the importance of our human bodies. “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, Holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).
One day, we, too, will receive an immortal body. Hebrew theology never conceived of a man less his body, as complete. Therefore, we believe in a bodily resurrection of the dead and a bodily return of Christ. First Corinthians 15 is the greatest chapter in the Bible on the resurrection body. The human body will become a transformed and glorified body, like that of the risen Christ. His resurrection is the basis of our immortality.
Jesus said of the broken bread, “This is my body.” Let us eat it with thanksgiving and gratitude—in remembrance of him.