The New Life: Words of God for Young Disciples of Christ
BY Rev. Andrew Murray
Chapter 43 The Lord's Supper
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" kjv@1Corinthians:10:16.
"He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me, and I in him. He that eateth Me, even shall he live by Me" kjv@John:6:56-57.
All life has need of food--it is sustained by nourishment which it takes in from without. The heavenly life must have heavenly food. Nothing less than Jesus Himself is the bread of life, "He that eateth Me even shall he live by Me."1
This heavenly food--Jesus--is brought near to us in two of the means of grace, the Word and the Lord's Supper. The Word comes to present Jesus to us from the side of the intellectual life, by our thoughts. The Lord's Supper comes in like manner to present Jesus to us from the side of the emotional life, by the physical senses. Man has a double nature--he has spirit and body. Redemption begins with the spirit, but it also penetrates to the body.2 Redemption is not complete until this mortal body also shares in glory.
The Supper is the pledge that the Lord will also change our body of humiliation and make it like His own glorified body by subduing all things to Himself. In the Supper, Christ would take possession of the whole man--body and soul--to renew and sanctify him by the power of His holy body and blood. Even His body shares in His glory. Even His body is communicated by the Holy Spirit. Even our body is fed with His holy body and renewed by the working of the Holy Spirit.3
This feeding with the body of Christ takes place, on the side of the Lord, by the Spirit; on our side, by faith.
This takes place on the side of the Lord by the Spirit. The Spirit communicates to us the power of he glorified body, by which our bodies become members of His body.4 The Spirit also gives us to drink of the life-power of His blood, so that that blood becomes the life and the joy of our soul. The bread is a participation in the body. The cup is a participation in the blood.
And this takes place on our side by faith. A faith that, beyond what can be seen or understood, relies on the wonder-working power of the Holy Spirit to unite us with our Lord, in soul and body, by communicating Him inwardly to us.5
"What is it to eat the glorified body of Christ and to drink His shed blood?"
"It is not only to receive with a believing heart the whole suffering and dying of Christ, but also to be united more and more with His blessed body. It is to obtain forgiveness of sin and eternal life through the Holy Spirit who dwells in Christ and also in us. Even though He is in heaven and we are on earth, it is to become flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone, and to live and be governed eternally by one Spirit."6
This deeply inward union with Jesus, even with His body and blood, is the great aim of the Lord's Supper. All that it teaches and gives us of the forgiveness of sin, of the remembrance of Jesus, of the confirmation of the divine covenant, of union with one another, of the announcement of the Lord's death till He comes, must lead this--complete oneness with Jesus through the Spirit.7 He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in me, and I in him. He that eateth Me, even shall he live by Me."
It is readily understood that the blessing of the supper depends very much on preparation within the inner chamber and on the hunger and thirst with which one longs for the living God.8 Do not imagine, however, that the Supper is nothing but an outward symbol of what we already have by faith in the Word. No, it is an actual spiritual communication from the exalted Lord in heaven of the powers of His life. And it is this only according to the measure of desire and faith. Prepare for the Lord's Supper, therefore, with very earnest separation and prayer. And then surely expect that the Lord will, with His heavenly power, in a way incomprehensible to you, renew your life.
Blessed Lord, who instituted the Supper in order to communicate Yourself to Your redeemed as their food and their power of life, teach us to use the Supper. Teach us at every opportunity to eat and to drink with great hunger and thirst for Yourself and for full union with You, believing that the Holy Spirit feeds us with Your body and gives us to drink of Your blood. Amen.
1) (kjv@Psalms:13:3 kjv@Matthew:4:4 kjv@John:6:51)
2) (kjv@Romans:8:23 kjv@1Corinthians:6:13-15 kjv@1Corinthians:6:19-20 kjv@Philippians:3:21)
3) (kjv@Matthew:26:26 kjv@John:6:54-55 kjv@Romans:8:11-13)
4) (kjv@1Corinthians:6:15-17 kjv@1Corinthians:12:13 kjv@Ephesians:5:23 kjv@Ephesians:5:30)
5) (kjv@Luke:1:37 kjv@1Corinthians:2:9 kjv@1Corinthians:2:12)
6) (Catechism used by author in his church.)
7) (kjv@Matthew:26:28 kjv@Luke:22:19 kjv@John:6:56 kjv@John:15:4 kjv@1Corinthians:10:17 kjv@1Corinthians:11:26 kjv@Revelation:3:20)
8) (kjv@Job:11:13 kjv@Isaiah:55:1-3 kjv@Matthew:5:6 kjv@Luke:1:53 kjv@1Corinthians:11:28)
1. In connection with the Supper, let us be especially on our guard against the idea of a mere divine service of the congregation or transitory emotion. Peaching and addresses may make an edifying impression, while there is little power or blessing. j
2. For a meal, the first requisite is hunger. A strong hunger and thirst for God is indispensable.
3. In the Supper, Jesus desires to give Himself to as and would have us give ourselves to Him. These are great and holy things.
4. The lessons of the Supper are many. It is a feast of remembrance; a feast of reconciliation; a feast of covenant; a feast of hope; a feast of love. But all these separate thoughts are only subordinate parts of the principal element--the living Jesus wants to give Himself to us in the most inward union. The Son of God wants to descend into our innermost parts. He wants to come to celebrate the Supper with us. "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him."
5. And then union with Jesus is union with His people in love and sympathy.
6. The preparatory address is not itself the preparation. It is only a help to the private preparation which one must have in communion with Jesus.
7. To hold festival with God at His table is something of unspeakable importance. Please do not suppose that because you are a Christian it is easy for you to go and sit down. No, take time for solitude with Jesus so that He may speak to you and tell you how you should prepare your heart to eat with Him. It is very useful to take the whole week before the Supper for preparation and the whole week after for reflection.
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