Do you partake of Jesus through faith?

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“The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 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. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.” John 6:52-59

How can one eat Jesus’ flesh and drink His blood? The Jews did not grasp Jesus’ meaning, nor do many in our day.

Jesus is not indicating that Christianity is some kind of cult in which the faithful literally eat human flesh and drink human blood. Even in the Lord’s Supper, participants do not chew Jesus’ flesh and drink and digest His blood. Rather, as they partake of the bread and wine, they partake of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for the sins of all the world — His body given into death for our sins and His blood shed for the remission of our sins.

But Jesus’ words in John 6:52-59 are not a specific reference to the Supper Jesus later commanded His followers to observe in remembrance of Him and His innocent sufferings and death on their behalf. The Lord’s Supper had not yet been instituted when Jesus spoke these words. And, if He were referring specifically to partaking of the Lord’s Supper, then those not able to partake of Christ’s Supper, regardless of the reason, could not be saved and have life in them.

Rather, Jesus here refers to partaking of His body and blood by faith. The children of Israel ate of the manna from heaven and yet died. Those who partake of Jesus’ body and blood — of His sacrifice for the sins of the world — by faith in Him have eternal life and Jesus will raise them up on the Last Day!

Jesus says in no uncertain words, “For my flesh truly is food, and my blood truly is drink” (John 6:55 translated literally from the Greek).

The one who partakes of Jesus, the Bread of Life, by faith — trusting in Christ Jesus who gave His body into death for our sins and shed His blood upon the cross to make atonement for all our iniquities — has forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. As Jesus said, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”

People look to Jesus for earthly bread. They come to Him in hopes that He will provide them with all their earthly wants and desires. But few recognize that Jesus came into this world to provide us with heavenly food — with food which nourishes our souls unto life eternal.

Jesus came into this world to fulfill the righteous demands of God’s law for us. And He came to be our sacrifice for sin — to offer up Himself on the cross as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He gave His body into death upon the cross in full payment for your sins and my sins. He shed His blood upon the cross as our sacrifice for sin and made full atonement for us and all the world before the very throne of God.

The question is this: Do you partake of Him? Do you trust in His holy life and His innocent sufferings and death for the forgiveness of all your sins? If you do not partake of Jesus, you can have no life in you; you are eternally lost and condemned. If you do, through faith, partake of His flesh and blood, you have the forgiveness Jesus won for you when He gave His body into death and shed His holy and precious blood to make atonement for your sins and redeem you.

When we, in this way, eat His flesh and drink His blood, Jesus dwells in us — not in the sense that He enters our mouth and passes through our digestive system, but in the sense that He comes into us and gives us life in fellowship with the Father.

It’s really as simple as this: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12).

If we partake of Jesus’ holy life and His bitter sufferings and death for all sin by placing our trust and confidence in Him, we have life. Jesus Himself comes to us, dwells in us by His Spirit, and gives us spiritual and eternal life in fellowship with the Father. If we do not partake of Jesus and His sacrifice — if we go it alone and on our own, so to speak — we remain dead in our sins and under the wrath and condemnation of God.

In John, chapter three, Jesus says it this way: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (v. 15-18).

Those who believe and trust in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God made flesh, are saved and have life because Christ gave His body and shed His blood for the remission of all sins. They partake of His body and blood and of the benefits Jesus won for them through faith.

On the other hand, those who do not trust in Christ’s body and blood given and shed for all mankind are condemned. Why? Because they reject the only way of salvation God has provided for them — in His Son!

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, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

Jesus gave His life for you. His body was nailed to the cross to suffer for your sins and mine. He shed His blood for you when He made atonement for the sins of the whole world. His flesh is food indeed and His blood is drink indeed to nourish our souls and to give to all who partake of Him through faith everlasting life!

God grant you to partake of Jesus, the Bread of Life, and to drink of His blood shed for the remission of your sins through faith in Him! Then, you will have life!

O merciful Father, grant us faith in Messiah Jesus, the Son. Grant that we eat His flesh and drink His blood through faith, trusting in His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. Amen.

“Jesus, the Bread from Heaven”

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” John 6:60-71

Jesus had told His hearers (John 6:53-58): “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. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.”

Jesus’ words were hard for His hearers to understand and accept. How could Jesus give them His body and blood to eat and drink? What did Jesus mean by these words? How could partaking of Jesus give eternal life? How could Jesus say those who didn’t partake of Him had no life?

All these things were above and beyond the understanding of Jesus’ hearers. It’s not that they are so difficult to understand. Rather, they are spiritually discerned and sinful human beings cannot understand apart from the gracious enlightening of the Holy Spirit. It was as the Bible teaches, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

Thus, the people asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (John 6:52). They did not understand who Jesus was or that He was about to go to the cross to suffer and die for the sins of the world. They did not know and believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and would offer Himself up for sin and then rise again from death in victory. They did not understand that Jesus was inviting them to partake of His body given into death for them and His blood shed for the remission of their sins through faith in His sufferings, death and resurrection on their behalf.

Without partaking by faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, they could have no life in them. They remained dead in their sins and lost to God and to His everlasting kingdom! But all this seemed foolishness to them; they didn’t understand and believe. They didn’t partake of Jesus’ body and blood given and shed for them, but went away in unbelief and were dead in their sins.

When the Word of God is preached today, the result is many times the same.

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13-14).

When we preach and proclaim that all are sinners and that only in Messiah Jesus is there salvation, people are offended and turn away. They do not see and recognize their own utter sinfulness in God’s eyes. Nor do they understand that the only way for sinners to be saved is to partake by faith of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world by His innocent sufferings and death on the cross. And so, rather than acknowledge their own sinfulness and shortcomings, people turn away from their only Savior and refuse to partake of Jesus and His sacrifice for the sins of the world.

What was true when Jesus spoke to the Jews in His day remains true yet today: “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

Even a good number of Jesus’ own disciples were offended at Jesus’ words. They were not ready to acknowledge their own sins and failures before God. Nor did they believe that Jesus was God the Son in human flesh come into this world to go to the cross and redeem mankind. The preaching of the cross and partaking of Jesus, their sacrificial Lamb, by faith was a stumbling block to the Jews — it wasn’t the kind of Messiah for whom they looked.

And with the apostle Paul, true followers of Jesus still proclaim “Christ crucified” today, though this preaching remains to the Jews, a stumbling block, and to the rest of the world, foolishness (cf. 1 Cor. 1:23). They do not take hold of the truth because they can’t apart from God’s Spirit. And if people can’t understand and believe the works Jesus did here in this world, how could they begin to understand His glorious workings in heaven, at the right hand of God the Father?

Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

Jesus’ words — His teaching and doctrine — were spirit-breathed. They were God’s own words and His divine wisdom. They were and still are spiritually discerned. With our own flesh and human understanding, we cannot begin to grasp the divine truth proclaimed by the Lord Jesus. We cannot come to Jesus and trust in Him for salvation unless God the Father graciously grants this to us. In our spiritual darkness, we ask, “How can Jesus give us His body and blood? How can we partake of Him? How can eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood by faith give us eternal life?”

Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life.” It is the Spirit of God who, through the Word of God, reveals our utter sinfulness and how far short we have come of God’s perfect righteousness. And, it is the Spirit of God who, through the Word of God, assures us that Christ Jesus fulfilled the righteous demands of God’s law for us and then went to the cross and suffered and died for our sins and the sins of the whole world and rose again on the third day.

The Spirit of God reveals to us Jesus, our Messiah and Savior, and moves us to partake of His sacrifice through faith — trusting that, because He gave His body into death for us and shed His blood for the remission of our sins, our sins are indeed paid for in full; atonement is made. The Spirit of God assures us that in Christ Jesus, through faith in His name, we have forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting. It is the Spirit of God, working through the Word, who points us to Jesus and says, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Many of Jesus’ disciples, because they didn’t grasp His words and the truth of God, turned back and quit following Jesus. Today, many, because they don’t grasp Jesus’ Word and the true doctrine of God, turn back and quit following Jesus. Even entire “churches” and denominations turn aside from the truth of God’s Word and quit proclaiming it because they do not understand and believe. Since the truth of God’s Word is offensive to them, they’d rather not hear it proclaimed.

What about you? Will you also turn back from following Jesus? His Word and His teaching are not always easy for us to accept and embrace. His Word reveals just how sinful we are, and it tells us that our ways are not God’s ways.

Simon Peter answered Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus still has the words of eternal life! His Word reaches out to us with the good news of God’s gift from heaven, the only-begotten Son who went to the cross to bear the just punishment for the sins of the world. Jesus calls us to partake of Him by faith — of His body given into death for us and of His blood shed for the remission of all our sins. He promises us that when we partake of Him by faith, we will not be condemned along with the wicked world in which we live but have everlasting life in His heavenly kingdom.

It is as the Scriptures declare: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

God grant to you His Holy Spirit and enlighten your eyes to the truth of His Word that you might not turn away from following Christ Jesus, but humbly acknowledge your sinfulness and partake of Him and His sacrifice for sin by faith that you might also partake of the forgiveness and life eternal Christ Jesus won for you.

O merciful Father, grant us faith in Messiah Jesus, the Son. Grant that we eat His flesh and drink His blood through faith, trusting in His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. In Jesus’ holy and precious name. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]

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