Your Blood is Inside Your Body
Each Lord’s day the memorial meal known as the “Lord’s supper” (from 1 Corinthians 11.20) is eaten in assemblies of Christians in accordance with Jesus’ own command, and in keeping with the example of the early Christians of the New Testament. During this time, the elements of the meal are described as the scriptures describe them: the unleavened bread represents the body of Jesus, and the fruit of the vine represents the shed blood of Jesus. (cf. Luke 22.19-20)
In 1 Corinthians 11.26, Paul describes what is accomplished when Christians engage in this memorial meal: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.” It would certainly follow that to proclaim the death of Jesus in this way, one must eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Have you ever thought about why BOTH elements of the memorial have to be present for Jesus’ death to be proclaimed? Or perhaps a similar question has occurred to you: why did Jesus choose to set up His memorial in two parts instead of one? What is it about eating the unleavened bread AND the grape juice that proclaims His death?
Consider for a moment the normal relationship between a body and its blood. Unless there has been an injury, surgery, or a donation, 100% of our blood is contained INSIDE our bodies. When our blood leaks or flows from our bodies, it is always a cause for great concern and if not stopped, will result in our deaths. When the body and blood are together and working in unison, life is made possible. On the other hand, when the body and blood are separated, death is the inevitable outcome.
The memorial that Jesus instituted the night He was betrayed consists of His body and His blood, but not joined together as they should be! A body separated from the blood that gives it life dies! The blood of Jesus would be “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26.28b), and the only possible outcome of this sacrifice was death!
This memorial should cause us to remember that the body and blood of Jesus were separated at the hands of cruel and merciless men. The blood of Jesus left his body through His scalp, His hands, His feet, and His mutilated back. And as the ultimate proof of His death, Jesus was pierced with a spear, allowing even more of His blood to escape through the wound in his side. Like the animal sacrifices of the Old Law, the blood of Jesus was poured out as He sacrificed His body on our behalf, so that we might be made clean again.
The next time you gather with other saints to worship our God and remember the death of His Son, take a moment during the Lord’s supper to reflect on the two symbols that Jesus instructs us to remember Him with. Note that His body and His blood aren’t together, as yours is. See how He allowed His body and His blood to be separated for your sake, and in your place. Understand that before you is the representation of the death of the Son of God, and conduct yourself accordingly.
“Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11.28-29)