Partake Of The Bread
Thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff i your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s passover.
The shed blood was for God. It was sprinkled on the outside of the house where it would not even be seen by the firstborn son within, he who by its virtue was being delivered. No, the blood was for God to see, and he promised that when he saw it he would pass over the house. God’s need was met in the blood, but our need is provided for in the festival meal. Within the house we need to feed on the flesh of that Lamb whose blood protects us. It is by so feeding that we are strengthened for the pilgrim journey ahead. The passover meal was not for those who would settle down in Egypt, even protected there by sacrificial blood. It was for them whose manifest purpose was to move out and on with God. And so it is with us. Our needs we find met in Christ as we partake of him. But remember, we do so always in readiness for onward movements in the will of God.
The elements of communion speak of both bread and blood. Often we think of the both of them are for us but as Nee points out, it is the blood that God sees that covers our sins. In the Old Testament sacrifice, the blood was for God alone. As a matter of fact it was forbidden to drink the blood. Not only was the blood smeared on the doorposts and lintel for God to see and thereby pass over that house rather than its inhabitants being judged and the firstborn son dying; it was collected from the sacrificial lamb or bull, carried into the tabernacle and poured out over the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. No one viewed that except the high priest and God. That offering of blood was to cover the sins of the people in the same way the blood was placed on the doorway of their Egyptian homes. It was for God alone and not for the people.
In the crucifixion of Christ, we are told that it was the Father who required the sacrifice of His own Son. Therefore we conclude that the blood offering was for the satisfaction of the Father more than it was for us.
Let me attempt to help us understand this. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve received the skins from the animals slain. They had no part in the shedding of the blood-God did that. What they received was the benefit that stemmed from the substituted sacrificial animals who gave up their lives in exchange for the life of Adam and Eve. The justice of God required the penalty of sin which was death and the only way that sentence could be commuted was by substitution. In the same manner, the substitutionary sacrificial lamb provided its blood to satisfy this requirement on the night of the Passover, sparing the lives of the Israelites.
Moving now to Calvary, we find that Christ, the Lamb of God became the substitute sacrifice and the giving up of His life through the shedding of His blood satisfied the justice and the penalty of sin. No other means would suffice for as Paul writes, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” We live because Christ died and the giving of His blood which was for the Father paid the price of sin for humanity.
The second element of communion is the bread- broken bread. In the natural it is impossible to eat bread unless it is first broken. Only then can it become nutritious to the body for it must become part and partial with that body. Through its brokenness it supplies life. The bread represents first of all Christ Himself who said. “I am the bread come down from heaven.
“So they said to Him, “What sign (attesting miracle) will You do that we may see it and believe You? What [supernatural] work will You do [as proof]? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written [in Scripture], ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “I assure you most solemnly say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the Bread of God is He who comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus replied to them, “I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually].”
John 6: 30-35
The bread, then is for us for “whoever has the Son has life.”
How do we apply this truth? First, we acknowledge the incredible love of God and Christ Jesus in providing such a sacrifice- the giving of the life of Christ for ours. We understand that our redemption, salvation, and eternal life has been paid with the blood of Jesus and that God has counted it sufficient alone. There is no need to foolishly attempt to attain salvation through any other means for none are sufficient. That said, we now recognize that we have been grafted into the very body of Christ and we are now one with Him. We are no longer separate from His as though His life and ours are merely walking together, but just at the bread we eat becomes part of us, inseparable for it is now combined with our cells, so too, now we are intertwined with Christ.
Blood for God, Bread for us.
In some of His final words before the crucifixion, Jesus taught of this singleness of body with Him:
“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you]. Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples. You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed placed purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.”
John 15: 1-8, 16
Just like the Israelites, when we “eat the bread” we aren’t doing so that we might just be full and satisfied. It is given to us to strengthen us for the mission of Christ and the journey. Those who have no place to go and nothing to do require little bread. But those who are preparing for labor or journey need increasing amount of nourishment. Perhaps the reason we aren’t hungry for more of Christ is that we have become sedentary Christians who need no increased strength or nourishment.
The Israelites were instructed to eat standing up, shoes on their feel and cloaks on their shoulders for this meal was preparation for the journey from slavery to liberty. God knew they would need nourishment to make the journey- both physical and spiritual. The protection of the blood provided spiritual liberty and the nourishment of bread prepared for the journey to life. This meal wasn’t eaten while reclining, or in a state of rest but in a state of readiness to obey the instructions and directions of God. As we eat symbolically the bread, let us also spiritually partake of the “bread of heaven” so that we, too, may be in a state of readiness to travel with God as He carries out His work.
Dr. John Thompson