LIFE IN THE BLOOD
Friday, November 24, 2017
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“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53

When the Roman Empire persecuted the early church at the end of the 1st Century AD, one of the accusations they made against Christians was cannibalism. The Romans had heard stories of Christians eating flesh and drinking blood, and they were terrified. We also might find it strange that Jesus commanded His disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood, but the Jews would have found it even more shocking. Their law forbade them from eating blood, and God gives clear reason why: “Be sure you do not eat the blood, because the blood is the life, and you must not eat the life with the meat” (Deuteronomy 12:23).

Under the Old Covenant, eating blood was forbidden because this was to consume the life of an animal that could never possibly bring regeneration. There was no way for the Israelites to experience the life of God living in them, because there was no provision for life as yet. The people made sacrifices to cover up their sin so they would be considered acceptable before God, but these sacrifices did nothing to transform the Israelites into new, redeemed people.

Under the New Covenant, Jesus calls us to regularly eat His flesh and drink His blood. We do this every time we celebrate Communion, a time to remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, but also to recognize that we have new life because of this sacrifice. We eat crackers and juice, or bread and wine, as a symbolic act to remember Christ’s broken body and shed blood for us through which we are able to receive His life into our lives.

It is not that Communion is necessary for salvation, just as Jesus does not expect us to literally eat flesh and blood, but these instructions suggest a very different understanding of faith than we might be used to. The Christian life is not about following Jesus and simply obeying His instructions. It is not about trying to be a good person and imitating Christ in the best way we can. The Christian life is about allowing Christ to live His life in us, a process which will slowly transform us into people who will naturally imitate and obey Him, because of the new life He now lives in us. It is about trusting Jesus in all things and depending on Him to be our strength, our wisdom, our righteousness and our redemption. Christ gave up His life so we could live, but we will only truly live as God intended when we receive His life as our own.

PRAYER: God, thank you for sending Your Son so I may live. I surrender my life to You today and am ready to let You transform me more and more into Your image. Thank You, Lord.


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