When we think of fellowship, we don’t often think of the Lord’s Supper. But the two are inextricably linked. So what is the spiritual significance of the Lord’s Supper as it pertains to our fellowship and communion?
In the previous blog I shared about the living water that emanates from the indwelling Christ. Every saint’s transition from drawing spiritual nourishment from the wells of Pentecost (Holy Place) to the continual living waters of Tabernacle (Most Holy) requires a turning inward. This is a progression away from dependence on external religious activities to a partaking of the living water found in the indwelling Christ.
Turning to our topic and in light of what I previously shared, some may ask, how about fellowship with others? Is not fellowship and community crucial to our spiritual maturity? Indeed, these are important aspects of our spiritual journey into the stature of the fullness of Christ. However, spiritual fellowship is vastly different from the fellowship we have become accustomed to in the church system. To shed more light on this, let us consider rich spiritual significance of the Lord’s Supper or otherwise known as Holy Communion.
The Lord’s Supper is an observance that many have taken part in on numerous occasions. For me, this event was a sacred time where I would remember the Lord’s sacrifice. I’d close my eyes and say a prayer or maybe meditate on Lord’s love. But have you ever asked why you need to eat a piece of bread and drink a small cup of grape juice to remember the Lord. For me, I can honestly say the experience of eating bread and drinking wine had little impact in my day to day journey with the Lord. Over time, it became a ritual whose spiritual meaning was lost to me. Not surprisingly, the Lord’s Supper has also become a religious ceremony carried out periodically by churches.
What I missed then and what many have not realized is the deep spiritual reality that this act points us to. The outward act of partaking bread and wine which represent His body and His blood is antitype of a spiritual communion. Jesus said to the multitudes: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:53-54).
So what is His flesh and His blood? In short, His flesh represents His Word; the logos, for “the Word (logos) became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 3:14). In effect, Jesus was saying unless you eat my Word; unless it is consumed and digested and assimilated to become one with your very nature and to be made flesh in you, you have no union with Me. For man does not live on bread alone but by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God.
His blood on the other hand represents His life: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). The blood which we plead, the blood that overcomes, the blood that heals, the blood that cleanses us from all sin, the blood by which we overcome, the blood of the everlasting covenant, the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is not some symbolic representation of His literal blood shed on the cross 2000 years ago. It is His life in the spirit! His blood signifies the divine life of God. For this life is Zoe life; the absolute fullness of God life. It heals, it cleanses, it overcomes, it saves and indeed it is powerful. Thus, the call to drink His blood is to partake of His life in our being. Notice what Jesus says, unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life in you (John 6:53).
You see, the physical ceremony of eating bread and wine are figurative of these truths relayed by Jesus. The act of partaking of the Lord’s Supper is a reflection; it is figurative of the actual spiritual activity Jesus mentioned. Surely when Jesus said eat my flesh and drink my blood, He was not referring to eating a piece of bread and drinking a glass of grape juice. It is an utter impossibility to eat or drink Christ with my physical mouth; therefore, I can only eat and drink of Him in the spirit. The physical act of the Lord’s Supper is not the real spiritual essence of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. If we fail to lay hold of the spiritual truth, then this act simply remains an empty external religious ceremony. And of course no one has become a mature Christian or has experienced the God kind of life by merely partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Paul says: “but food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse” (1 Cor. 8:8). So what is the spiritual relevance behind the Lord’s Supper in light of Jesus’ words?
The apostle Paul sheds light on this saying: “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? FOR WE, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10: 16-17). You see the body of which we partake, as symbolically relayed in the Lord’s Supper, is the body of Christ which we are. Notice again what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12: “we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” Who is that one bread? The body of Christ, which we are.
What constitutes the body of Christ? Well, the Head is Jesus Christ and we are members of the body: “for as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12:12). Christ is a many-membered body for He dwells in us. Therefore, fellowship and communion is a partaking or eating and drinking of the word and life of the indwelling Christ within each other. This is true spiritual fellowship and communion. Unfortunately many saints are not discerning of the Lord’s body (1 Cor. 11:29).
So what does this look like practically? Well, when we gather in two or three in His name and share with each other the revelations of His Word (flesh) and share God’s workings and dealings in our personal experiences and share in the manifestation of Christ’s character and life (blood), we are having communion, we are gathering in His name and breaking and partaking of His body and His blood. This is true biblical fellowship. This is genuine holy communion.
Accordingly, fellowship is partaking in each other the very life of Christ in the Spirit. You see, when I sin against a brother I sin against the Lord. Paul said it: “But when you thus sin against the brethren, you sin against Christ” (I Cor. 8:12). In the same way, when we have fellowship with the brethren we are having communion with Christ for we are the body of Christ. Corresponding to this, John says: “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). You see, when we share with each other the things we have each spiritually received from Christ, we are having true fellowship, but this fellowship is not just between us, it is with the Father and Jesus Christ. That’s why Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).
However there is order in this fellowship. First, our fellowship is with the Head (each in his/her home) and then with our fellow saints. Paul declares: “holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.” (Col. 2:19). We first need to hold fast to the Head from whom the whole body is nourished. What nourishes each of us and ultimately knits us together is the Head working through us. Fellowship with each other will become unfruitful if we are not first individually nourished by the bread and living waters of the indwelling Christ that flows from within us. Thus, Paul states: “if you anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together in judgment” (1 Cor. 11:34).
This quality of fellowship is wonderfully exemplified in the very writings of scripture. Paul, John, Peter, James, Matthew, Mark, Luke and others who were used by God to write the gospels and epistles were inspired by God as they shared the deep revelations, visions and personal life lessons they learned through their various trials and testing. Having done this, they are today edifying, correcting and building up the body who is partaking of Christ. In actuality, it was the Spirit of Christ in them doing all these things and it is the same Spirit who is in us to bring nourishment and illumination through fellowship with the body.
This is the standard of fellowship God is calling us to. It is communion that God is using to bring us “to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). Amen!