Body Ministry – BT8
There is a blindness to the Body-of-Christ that Church clergy have.
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For example, hasn’t the focus of the Lord’s Supper been on the physical blood and body of Jesus Christ, but look at the passages that speak about this. When Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 about eating and drinking at the table of the Lord and doing the same for idols, which are actually for the demons behind them, he says in v. 10:16, “The bread that we break: Is it not a participation in the Body-of-Christ?” If you were eating all alone, you could think he was talking only of the physical body, but v. 10:17 says: “Because there is One Bread, we who are many are one Body, for we all partake of the One Bread.” Now he’s clearly talking about the Church eating from Jesus, the “Bread of Life,” who Jesus said He was (a). <Notes> a) John 6:27, 32-35, 48.
Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, many believe that Paul is only talking about the Lord’s physical body in vv. 11:27-28, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Instead, let a person examine himself, and/thus in this manner eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” But this “physical view” negates the entire context! In v. 11:17 Paul is focused on what they are doing “when you come together,” saying it’s not “for the better but for the worse.” He uses the Lord’s Supper as an example in v. 11:18, “In the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you.” That is actually “the breaking of the Body” – of Christ! He explains in v. 11:20, “When you come together, it is NOT the Lord’s Supper that you eat.” What? Weren’t they physically doing just that? Paul explains in v. 11:21, “For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal – one goes hungry while another gets drunk. What! Don’t you have houses to eat and drink in?”
They were blind as to what the “bread and wine” represented – and it wasn’t just Christ’s physical body and blood! Sounds like many have repeated their mistake! Do you see where Paul is going, or are you blind, too? They were being self-centered, thinking of their own individual needs, instead of their fellow Christians. We have to remember that this celebration was an agape love feast, not a ritual-only ceremony that the Catholic Church and many Protestant churches celebrate. People could pig out and get drunk at them (a)! Now here comes a real clue: “Do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?” <Notes> a) Jude 1:12; 2 Peter 2:13.
Now Paul gets into the ‘ceremony’ of the Lord’s Supper, reminding us what Jesus did say the night before He was crucified, recounted in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me . . . This is My blood . . . Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” Is Jesus only talking about His physical body and blood that we are to be remembering, and that this “remembering” is what Paul means in v. 11:28 that “a person should examine himself” concerning? That’s what I have always been taught. But this is clearly out of context! So, is the “eating and drinking . . . in an unworthy manner” of v. 11:27 to think this doesn’t refer to more than “remembering the physical body and blood” of Jesus?
Now 1 Corinthians 11:29 gives a serious warning: “For anyone who eats or drinks without discerning (a) the body eats and drinks judgment (b) on himself.” Notice that Paul mysteriously leaves out a warning about not “discerning the blood,” and doesn’t even say “discerning the Lord’s body” but simply “discerning the body?” To what is the definite-articled “the body” referring to? Also, notice the play on Greek words for judgment: Their lack of “preference/selection thru-the-realizing-channel-of the body” was bringing God’s “preference/selection on themselves!” <Notes> a) diakrino: to judge thru-the-realizing-channel-of thoroughly, thus to investigate or discriminate thoroughly either rightly by close-reasoning or wrongly by going too far or vacillating back and forth, as determined by the context, b) krima, the noun of krino.
It is obvious Paul’s “the body” isn’t talking about the Lord’s physical body! In 1 Corinthians 11:30-32 he implies their sickness and even death were the result of not krino judging/critiquing themselves honestly – not “discerning the body!” Paul summarizes in vv. 11:33-34, “When you come together to eat, wait for one another – if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home – so that when you come together it will not be for krima judgment/criticism.” Clearly, in context, the “judgment on himself” in v. 11:29 wasn’t because someone didn’t remember the physical body of Christ, but because they weren’t “preferring or selecting” others in the Body-of-Christ over their own personal needs! Paul is a lawyer who uses words very carefully, but many of our English bibles don’t help you to see this fact – see Bible Info!
Now can you see how many in the modern church are celebrating the Lord’s Supper, but actually blind to the meaning of “discerning the Lord’s Body” because it’s actually the Body-of-Christ, the Church, that many modern Christians could care less about being so absorbed in their own little worlds, more concerned about lunch at Denny’s with their family 5 minutes after church lets out. So much error occurs in the churches due to poor translations (see Bible Info) and poor teaching (see Teach One Another). I attended the Church of Christ from 1980-1983 and every week we had communion, and they had the standard traditional teaching about it, but as a starving college student I primarily attended because I couldn’t wait for their pot luck! I went back for thirds without a clue about the real “discerning of the Lord’s Body!”
Let us instead “discern the Body-of-Christ,” especially during communion, which by definition means koinonia intimate fellowship with the Lord and the Body-of-Christ. What experiences have had with this the Lord’s Supper, agape love feasts, traditions of men, and even the divine healing aspects of this practice?