Take, Eat, This Is My Body
By Fred H. Pruitt
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. (Matthew 26:26)
53 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.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
Today I got up and went to work. I came home and went to the grocery store. After that we made us some supper, baked breaded chicken and roasted potatoes & vegetables (the frozen kind). Then we watched TV until my wife fell asleep. Nobody called on the phone, and now I'm here in front of this very challenging (to the writer) computer screen.
Normal day. (Except for the "nobody called" part.) Anyone else can substitute their own normal day. Same difference.
So what does the dead and resurrected body and blood of a man who lived 2000 years ago have to do with the life I just described above? And how could we eat his flesh and drink his blood?
wrote the above passage a couple of weeks ago. I've spent the time since then
mulling over these questions. I had to walk around in the question for a while.
There is what we might call an "academic" answer -- as lined out primarily by the apostle Paul in his epistles.
And that academic answer I know, and have taught others. But the question that struck me so profoundly is how can the "academic" facts, as laid out in Scripture, as revealed to us by the Spirit and through many Spirit-filled teachers, how do those "facts" touch me where I live every moment of my day? And to what purpose?
For "knowledge" of Christ cannot be simply memorized principles, no matter how true they are, because then they are no more than a philosophy, by which we try to live our lives. "Knowledge" of Christ is a Living Reality, permeating every molecule of our universe, for it is Christ Himself, and no mere "idea" of Him.
In our union reality, we have come to see how through the Cross of Christ, i.e., by His Blood and Body, by His Death, Burial and Resurrection, our salvation is effected. We see that from the Garden, from our forefather Adam, we have been invaded in our inner center by self-centeredness, self-for-self, self-needing, which has its origins not in ourselves nor from some "fall" into a mere soulish existence, but in the father of lies who has built a hut in our inner selves. From that hut he broadcasts night and day, offering us this false mask of his making for our identity, standing up for our rights, but seeking only to ultimately produce wrath and enmity in us, for that is all he is, and would have us be the same as he.
In the beginning Adam was Lord of this world. He had dominion over the earth. He spoke and the animals had names. The world was, in some sense, upheld by him. For as long as Adam and Eve had a pure vision of God, with no consciousness of anything but Him, they walked in Paradise, knowing no nakedness or shame. They lived in what Isaiah later described: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Is 11:9) There was nothing to harm them, no enemy, no sense of wrong of any kind. The earth was friend, and gave forth her fruit pleasant abundance.
When the trickster, Satan, gained a foothold in the Man, he brought down the whole cosmos with him. The earth was "cursed" for his sake. Adam's vision of God, unconscious though it was, which had upheld the world in paradise, was ripped from him in the darkening of his understanding, and the heavens and the earth became the place he envisioned in his fear. And all the generations since have labored on that building of fear whose foundations were laid that day.
The way to make this personal is to realize that we are all Adam. Our life does not hinge on belief, one way or another, about that long ago Adam. It hinges on realizing we ourselves are Adam. I am Adam. His story is my story. Our story. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way."
And likewise, everyone's story is my story and visa versa. One of the most insidious effects of this cracked consciousness is to not see that we each are the Same Person in all, that we are in some sense each other, that what affects one affects all. Instead we see a chaotic disjointed mess of "individuals," all asserting their rights and needs to which "I" am somehow indebted, which is also an affront to "my" rights and needs. Paul said that if we offend in one point of the law, we are guilty of all. That's a pretty pervasive statement. But it puts everybody on an even keel. No hierarchies of "goodness." If offending in one point makes you guilty of all, then that makes somebody who lies to his mom about how much change he brought home from the store (which I did), equal to Adolf Hitler, in terms of being a lawbreaker. I'm the same as Hitler. So is everybody else. What makes it the same for everybody is that the real lawbreaker is the Evil One. We all do our bout with him, all fall under his sway for a time, walking off with him with his friendly arm on our shoulder, believing his boasts and his bravado, only to find ourselves betrayed and where we never thought we would be, doing what we never thought we would do.
John the Baptist prophesied: And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. (Matt 3:10,11).
John said the "ax is laid unto the root of the trees." He is saying that the Lord Jesus Christ who was still then to come, would come to cast out the prince of this world, out from the hearts of men. To take back that which was His own, to fill them with His own Spirit, and the All-Consuming Fire of His Passion. God establishing Man as His dwelling place, His Temple.
But in order to do that the usurper had to be cast out. Stolen territory had to be retaken. A land had to be remade. Minds had to be renewed.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
"A body hast thou prepared me."
Jesus Christ was, according to Paul, the fulness of the Godhead walking around bodily on the earth. That cannot make sense to fleshly ears. Fleshly ears and eyes think that God has to be somewhere. So if He's in heaven, He isn't here, and if He's here, He can't be in heaven. But this isn't a case of either/or. It's both/and. The FULNESS of the GODHEAD, walking around in a regular human body.
But it was a fully God-directed, empowered, human body. Jesus had known from His baptism what road He was to walk, what would happen, and what it was for. He, like Abraham before Him, could for a time only see a kingdom afar off, and always ahead an altar of sacrifice for the Lamb of God.
Jesus was God experiencing and living fully as a human being in the world of fallen Adam. From the standpoint of origins, Adam was shaped in loving gentleness out of the elements of the earth, with Life breathed into his nostrils by the Lord God Himself, born into Paradise. Jesus, on the other hand, was born out of a woman in the travail and pain of bloody childbirth, in a stable, in a land far from Paradise, and shortly after his birth was whisked away by his father into far-off Egypt to escape the slaughter of Herod. Adam was born in the surroundings of the most gentle comforting nursery imaginable, and Jesus into a land of fear with good reason for the fear.
Into His heart and mind and body throughout His whole life surely He absorbed all he heard and experienced and felt, that was common to man. But most assuredly after His commission by the Spirit, He felt in Himself, in His mind and body, all that the roiling masses, the "sheep without a shepherd," experienced in the depths of their minds and hearts. He was a "man of sorrows, acquainted with grief." Not just the grief of losing a loved one, or the sorrow of losing a lover. But the deep abiding sorrow that pervaded all life, every day and every hour. The sorrow that even when you were glad, sorrow still lurked there in the background because you knew "hard times are just around the corner." The sorrow that even though you're young now, you look at the old and realize one day you'll be one of them, and all this will be but a memory. The sorrow that ultimately you can't do anything about what your children do with their lives; it's up to them. The awesome futility of toiling mercilessly to sustain daily life at something that ends up killing you. The despair of having no hope.
Jesus' job was to take all that into Himself and to make it into the glory of God. That was God's plan. In order to do that, He needed somebody to walk around on the earth and live in it, become one with it, die its death, and then raise it up into Himself as He really IS. So Jesus came walking around on the earth in a body born of this earth in order to do just that.
When Jesus was nailed to the Cross on Golgotha, and raised for all to see, Paul says He "was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God." ( 2 Cor 5:21). In other words, in the Cross His complete "oneness" with the human race was accomplished, in that He became completely what humanity had become -- sin.
This is another of those actions of God that we tend to see in separated, purely judicial terms. In that thinking, Jesus dies, and God says, "Ok, I'll accept His death in place of everybody else's." But again, this is more than a judicial pronouncement from a heavenly Throne. Jesus death and subsequent resurrection are the actual MEANS of the reconciliation of all things. Not by abritrary declaration, but by virtue of what was actually accomplished.
When Jesus took "sin" into Himself, "became sin," it can't mean any other thing but that the spirit of the power of the air, the spirit of wrath, the father of lies, the prince of this world, came crashing down into him with all the hatred and fury of unrestrained Hell. Jesus had taken upon Himself, by the Spirit, the role of sin-bearer, the scapegoat who bears the sins of the people outside the camp into the wilderness. He knew in His Spirit that He was one Person with all of humanity. He was the Root and Offspring of David, meaning He was both God and Man, Source and Manifestation. Therefore, being the Same One Person with us all, the Light that lights every man that comes into the world, only HE could by His own will, take all the ravages of Hell into Himself, for in Him was ALL of humanity, not just figuratively, but as literally as could be. Only He could let Hell have its full fury, vent the fire of its rage, against the Man God had made in His image. Only He was safe enough, in all the universe, to take the fulness of sin into Himself, to be MADE SIN, and subsequently to go in the thrall of death into the deepest depths of sin and hell, hatred, wrath, enmity, strife, pride, envy, coveteousness -- weeping and gnashing of teeth, wails of pain, cries of insane devilry and mimicing laughter with no end.
When He was made what we had become, and had descended into the deepest depths of darkness in "the lower parts of the earth," Paul says "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." (Eph 4:8) All things. Even death and hell.
Jesus took all mankind with Him into that death. Because, as I said, we were there, not just figuratively, but actually, in the Spirit, which is the true reality. And in that death "he led captivity captive" and was afterward "raised by the power of the Father."
When He rose from the tomb the third day, He had won. The enemy of our souls had been vanquished; his kingdom was condemned to death. He was stripped of all his power, and shown to be the impotent liar he really is. Because his greatest triumph had been destroyed -- the veil of the temple was split in two.
The veil of the temple is the symbol of what separated mankind from God. God was behind the veil, and no flesh could approach. Mankind was sinful, unclean, unholy, and could not look upon nor approach the Holy God. It was the veil the enemy put on Adam and Eve in the Garden that caused them to be afraid of God and ashamed of their nakedness. It was the same veil that was on the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, when Moses went up to receive the law, and they could not even so much as touch the mountain, or they would die. It was the same veil that was over the eyes of the 10 scouts who were sent to spy out the land of Canaan, who came back having seen giants in the land and saw themselves only as grasshoppers in their own sight. It's the veil of separation, of self only separated in its devil-induced consciousness, but with power enough in that to create a whole separate but false reality.
And it's the same veil we are all born with over our eyes, until the day comes we see the death and resurrection of Jesus in ourselves, and with a sound like a clap of thunder right over our house, the roof is blown off our minds and the walls surrounding our hearts come down and like a rushing mighty wind that is at the same time a gentle cool breeze in the springtime, we come to "know" God in the inner intimacy of His Spirit joined with ours so that we are Christ living in the flesh.
Jesus took sin into His body unto death, and rose again in His body unto Life, and brought our whole race and the heavens and the earth into that life of reconciliation and Oneness with God. Though all is not yet seen that He accomplished.
When Jesus arose, and brought all mankind with Him, He arose to a new kingdom. What had been lost in Adam, Jesus restored. He restored the kingdom of God in man. He cleansed the temple of man that he might be a fit dwelling place for the Glory of God's presence. He sent sin out into the wilderness -- indeed as far as the east is from the west. In His resurrection there is no more consciousness of sin, labor over sin, worry about sin, identification of sin, because it does not exist in His kingdom.
When the Son said, "Lo, I come to do thy will O God" and "a body hast thou prepared me," (Heb 10), the author says that the new covenant means this: "By the which will [covenant] we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." And "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
In the body of Christ, by the filling of that body with the power of the Spirit we are raised with Him completely into a new kingdom, a new creation, where there is ONLY the perfection of God. This is not a mental game, a philosophical feel-good mantra that we repeat over and over, but the TRUTH. In Him, in His Kingdom into which we have been translated by the death and resurrection of the Son, there is nothing to hurt or harm. We ARE His Holy Mountain. Sin and the author of sin, the devil, do not exist in His Holy Mountain. They have no power there.
The veil of the temple has been rent in twain. The division (sin, devil, separation) between God and man has been removed. Gone. God considers it not. In the blood of Christ all consciousness of sins is removed, and in his death and resurrection we die with him forever to sin and rise with Him forever to righteousness.
I asked the question in the beginning of this how could these long ago events truly affect me in my daily regular human living, and how could I drink His blood and eat His flesh?
The answer to both questions is the same. When the temple veil was split in two, and the barrier between man and God was removed, we were taken in Him into the Holy of Holies, into the Throne, where Paul says we sit with Him in heavenly places. But only priests can go into the temple holy places, and only the High Priest into the Most Holy. Therefore, since our Redeemer is also forever our High Priest, who "ever liveth to make intercession for us," and we have been brought into His most intimate presence, it can only mean that we, too, have been called into the same calling. The Presence of God is not just for bliss and joy and meditation. God is an outgoing Will to Love, to Give Life, to Bless, to Redeem and Reconcile.
To live by feeding off Him, to drink His blood and to eat His flesh, is the stuff of everyday life. Jesus said, "My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34).
If we are found in Him, then we are no longer shut-in's looking out only for our own welfare. Our spiritual well-being, as well as our physical, emotional, intellectual "needs" are met in Him Who is All in all. It isn't about us anymore. It isn't about getting ourselves straight. It isn't about getting our needs met.
Paul said we eat and drink the Lord in remembrance of His death til He comes. What -- just as some sort of memorial service? No -- God forbid! To eat and drink in remembrance of His death is to realize that all that comes my way, to challenge me, to try me, to pull me here and pull me there, is the continuance of the dying of the Lord Jesus in my body, that He might be manifest in my mortal flesh. Though Jesus' death and resurrection completed all things, we are called and privileged to be sharing in the "filling up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ," which is saying that OUR LIVES are individually a part of the fulfillment of His faith and what He accomplished. We are part of the manifestation and fulfillment of His "filling all things."
The blood of Christ we drink in the new kingdom we now walk in is the blood of the forgiveness of sins, not primarily our own, but those of others. His blood courses through every fiber of our new being, and all things are purged in His blood, and our consciences are cleansed and purified continuously in Him. With this clear vision of love pouring out of our inner center, we testify to the blood of Christ by pronouncing peace where God sends us. We are His forgiveness manifest in the world.
When we eat His flesh we ascend with Him in the Resurrection, to Oneness with God, Oneness with Christ, Oneness with the Spirit, for we consume Him as the Living Bread which came down from Heaven, so that all that He is becomes part and parcel of all that we are, so that the Divine Essence flows through every molecule of our spirits and souls and bodies, hiddenly quickening life in our mortal bodies and inwardly renewing our inner selves day by day by day by day.
And God sheds abroad His love in our hearts not for naught, for Love IS purpose, and we eat Him as the Lamb slain so that we, too, are the Lamb slain, in this world, in our time, right here, right now, in whatever state or moment we are caught reading these words.
One of the greatest temptations I've had with hearing this is that is sounds so pollyanna-ish, so head-in-the-sand-ish, to believe that all that happens to me is for others, when it sure seems like there are lots of pickles "I" got myself into. "Well this is another fine kettle of fish." It's lots easier to believe stuff is "my fault," or that guy over there, his fault, but not that this human life that just seems kind of "normal" most of the time is really the laid-down life of the Christ of God. That me waiting too long in a red light is helping somebody somewhere, and not just testing my patience. That's far out, you've got to admit.
And this is where we take the same "leap of faith" that I believe Jesus took, also. To believe that we are one with God, who is the same Person in all, also means that we are one with each other. Jesus had to reach out in faith to grasp the being of man, to embrace all mankind within Himself, to say that their hurts were His hurts, their diseases His diseases. He took all of that with Him to the Cross. And it was another leap of faith to throw Himself fully into God in letting the full force of Hell violate Him. It was a leap of faith to be in the darkest separation beyond the bounds of our imagination, when He could not see the face of the Father looking at Him, and to say out of the pit of the hell that had started to overtake Him, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It was a leap of faith for Him to say, "It is finished" and to "give up the ghost." To go all the way into death.
And it was a leap of faith made beforehand, that trusted the Father's Promise, that He only knew by the Scripture and the quickening of the Spirit, that "thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." (Ps 16:10).
To eat His flesh is to enter into the law of the harvest: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John 12:24)
God has not called us to comfort, or ease, or emotional bliss in a mystic state. He has called us to be Who He is, and He is the Will and Power of Love, which means He takes any shape, uses any means, dies any death, endures any hardship, suffers loss and wrong and pain and injustice, and wears any disguise, in His One Eternal Project, to build up the building of God.
Those who have drunk His blood and eaten His flesh are the very Sacrifice of God poured out for the world. They are the mercy of God, that extends from sea to sea, covering all.