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This Is My Body Which Is Broken For You...
Can You Drink Of This Cup? You Can and You Will!
"And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me." 1 Corinthians 11:24. "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of." Mark 10:38-39.
I do not know of one Christian organization that has not debated the issue of Christ’s body. Arguments have been going on at least since the founding of the Roman church, during the Protestant Reformation, and to this day as well. Moreover, they are not any closer to the truth now than during those early times. What they hold to so dearly has been embedded for centuries into their minds. Only by a miracle will people be freed from the captivity of their theological prisons. Without breaking those mind-bands ( * phylacteries) they will walk the same old path that many of our forefathers walked and without giving it a second thought as to why they do. Often times people will be asked why they believe the way they do, and it is not unusual for their answer to be similar to when the dyed-in-the-wool Democrat fellow asked his friend why he was a Republican. "Well, my great-grandparents were Republicans, my grandparents were Republicans, and my parents are Republicans; therefore, I am also a Republican." The guy thought for a moment and posed another question to his friend: "Does that mean if your great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents were morons, that you would also be a moron?" "No! Not at all! I would then be a Democrat." The roles can be reversed to get the same thought, mainly that people believe what they do because their family, friends, or cultures have always believed and walked certain ways without ever questioning as to whether there is a better way. For instance, one writer drew this out over 100 years ago:
by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)
One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.
And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed — do not laugh —
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.
This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.
A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.
They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.
It has now been three hundred years many times over since that primeval calf of the Sacramental Communion first walked that crooked path. The only change is that it has been worn deeper, broader, and more ornate in men’s earthy presumptions and religious practices. The trees and briars of men’s rites and ordinances have grown thick and tall, blocking the Light of revelation and obstructing the view of a straighter path to our Lord’s true Communion.
We will not speak too much on the various concepts the churches have concerning this Communion, or Passover feast. Suffice it to say, they have replaced a living reality with a lifeless ritual that serves little purpose. It may ease one’s conscience; but as far as there being any magical mandate or an appeasement to God, it is not there, and hopefully, we see this in these few pages.
This is a very ‘sacred’ ordinance to many, but if any truth comes from practicing it, I believe it is due to our awesome God who often meets people where they are and often in unusual places. I will, therefore, not say the ritual has served no benefit in people’s lives altogether. If God chooses to meet people on that realm, this is between Him and the ones who eat and drink the perishable bread and wine. I have no contention with this; but I will say—there is a higher and better communion.
Most of you probably have it settled in your own minds what communion is, and are probably satisfied with it. But please read a little further, for the Spirit is adding things we may have never considered.
The first mention of the Feast of Communion (Passover) was at the preparation of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and the oppressions of Pharaoh. It was the night when the lamb was slain and eaten: "...They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it" (Exodus 12:46 & Numbers 9:12). And, "He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken" (Psalm 34:20).
It is no mystery that the fulfillment of the ordinance of the Passover was found in Jesus; for "...These things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, a bone of Him shall not be broken" (John 19:36). However, when we look a little more closely, there seems to be a problem with the scriptures harmonizing. The following verse speaks of the body being broken, while the above scripture says that it is not broken: "And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me." "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Corinthians 11:24, 26).
Our dear friend and co-laborer of many years, Ella Arvizu-Clark, first shared this mystery with us several years ago. She brought out that the key to unlocking the paradox of Christ’s Body being broken, and yet not being broken, is found in other verses written by Paul. With the anointing of the Spirit, she then wove the following verses together into this beautiful tapestry of truth:
"...The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread." "...we have many members in one body..." "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Romans 12:4 and 1 Corinthians 12:12. She may not remember sharing this, but I do; for when lightning bolts of truth hit their mark, they are not forgotten.
The one body of the Passover Lamb (Jesus) had no bones broken; but the one body of many members (you and me, brethren) are broken. David spoke of times when he was overwhelmed by having his bones broken. He was most likely speaking metaphorically rather than saying his bones were literally broken; but the point was made—his pain was immense. He wrote: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice." (Psalm 51:7-8).
Klao is the Greek word for break, breaking, broken, and brake in the KJV of the New Testament. It is used fifteen times in fourteen verses, and in every case it refers to one thing—breaking bread. Breaking bread is more than the act of eating bread. Bread cannot be eaten unless it is broken. Eating bread comes after it is broken.
We all are blessed at times by a good word that we hear in certain meetings, or perhaps while sitting over coffee in someone’s kitchen and sharing the Christ within. It is not unusual for us to say, "What a word of Life! This has been real communion! It is good to break bread with you." Such gatherings and impartations of the living word are indeed communion. It is the table of the Lord that has been prepared by His Holy Spirit; but please note—it is the secondary part of the communion. The bread that we are must first be broken before it can be eaten. We see the same thing with the cup. Before the drinking of the wine, the fruit must be crushed and die, and in dying its life is released after three days or more.
A loaf is one body that is made up of many members, and it goes without saying—this is the body with which we have communion. We partake of Christ’s life in one another, but also of their dying. Eating a meal with a person was considered a sacred covenant of death and life. The communion of the meal was saying that each person would readily die so the other might live. It was a declaration that the other’s life was more important to them than their own. When called upon, they would readily lay down their lives for one another.
The meaning of the Greek word (koinonia), from which communion is translated, sheds light on this. It means, "partnership, i.e. (lit.) participation, or (social) intercourse..." (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). Let us consider, with what are we in partnership? What could it be that we are participating in and having social relationship with? Surely, the relationship is more than with a fragment of bread and a swallow of Welch’s grape juice, or at best, Mogan David’s kosher wine. The relationship is more! It is much more!
For one, we are drinking the living blood, the wine of Christ’s Spirit that flows from His corporate body. We are also eating His flesh, the living word of His substance; but there is more. As mentioned above — in order to drink the blood, it must first be poured out; and before the flesh of His body can be eaten, it must be broken. In a word, pouring out the blood of Jesus and breaking our bones signifies the death of the whole body. There must be the death of the New man in our lives before we can drink the greater life of the New Wine which He would drink anew with us in His Father’s Kingdom. Matthew 26:29. That, dear friends, is communion! Does it not beat grape juice and a wafer hands down?
Moreover, what man of the body of Christ has been broken and died for this communion to take place? Is it the old man or the new man? For more than forty years we have been hearing how we must die to self, that we have to crucify the Old Man. Really?
If you think you are trying to kill the old man, the following question may narrow it down whether you are on the right track or not: Do you still desire the things of the past? Do you miss the "good-old days" of the smoke-filled barrooms? Do you miss Egypt and lament that you can no longer do those things you did when you were of that world? Are the Saturday night dances, parties, and other worldly gatherings still tugging at your heart strings? Is the fear of hell, or the fear of merely not pleasing the Lord, the only thing keeping you from slipping back to those self-indulging, sin-filled years of the first Adam, whatever it might have been? Or is your true desire set on the sweet things of Christ and His glorious Kingdom?
I am persuaded the latter question is the right one for most of you. Your desire is set on the Lord as the hart pants after a cool brook. It skips over the mountains and hills looking for Him, for He alone can satisfy that great longing. If your spirit is bearing witness to this, then killing the old man is not an issue, for he is already dead!
Permit me, please, to pose a couple more questions: Who are you? Who exactly is your "self?" Is it the Old Man or is it the New Man? Since the only man in you is the New Man, who now, must die that life will be released? What seed must fall into the ground and die, lest it abides alone? If you say it is the Old Man, then perhaps this is right for you; but it would indicate you have not left either Egypt or the wilderness. For those who have journeyed onward, however, it is the new man who is dying. The fact is, brethren, the old man we have been trying to kill should have died in the wilderness a long time ago. I am reminded of what my older brother said not long after I was saved. He told his wife concerning me, "I feel like my brother has died," and I had died; for I was dead to that world. Prior to that, I was dead to the world of Jesus Christ until He quickened it to me. It was then that I began to live for the first time; but I had no idea that even this new man had to die before true communion would be known throughout and within the body Christ, but I know now.
We have gone for years with less than a clear view of this death. Our views of communion have largely been a joining to the Lord and His body in the realm of pleasant things. This, however, is not always the case. When we are joined to the Lord, we are participating not only in His life, but also in His death. This is what it is to have true and complete communion with Him.
Communion is not always pleasant, and those many members who are being broken today know what I mean. Whether we understand it or not, it is hard to deny the experience of it. We may struggle in the pain of our broken bones; but once the light of understanding comes, it is much easier to relent and give up the ghost.
Nevertheless, like wayfaring lambs, our bones are broken. You see, as we are told, a good shepherd will break a lamb’s leg if it keeps wandering away and refuses to stay with the flock. The shepherd will exhaust every effort to keep him with the rest; but if the little fellow is head strong and bent on going wherever he pleases, his master will do what is necessary to save its life. Since wolves and other predators are an ever-present danger, and rather than letting the lamb find out the fatal way, the shepherd resorts to breaking the lamb’s leg. This is a severe measure, but when one’s life is at stake, as well as the good of the body as a whole, severe things are often measured out.
After breaking the lambs leg, the shepherd has to carry the little wayfarer in his protective arms until it heals. Night and day he carries the lamb. Everywhere the shepherd goes, the lamb goes. The lamb no longer has the liberty to go hither and yon as it had in the past. The little creature may have strayed at one time with the wild asses into the wilderness; but now, he remains secure in the arms of his loving master. By the time the leg heals and he can walk again, the lamb grows so fond of him that when he is released, he will stray no more, not one step. From then on, he follows ever so closely to the one he loves. That little lamb not only learns from the pain of the broken leg, but it comes to have such a deep love for his lord that the two can never be separated.
Broken bones were often the reward for thieves when they were crucified. It was to speed the process of death. We see this with those who hung beside Jesus that fateful day. It was not necessary for Jesus’ legs to be broken, for He gave up the Ghost; but the others, even in excruciating pain, hung onto their lives to the bitter end. Their bones were, therefore, broken. It is the same with many today. Regardless of how much suffering with which they are afflicted—they hang onto their lives as long as possible, to the last breath. They will not willingly give up the ghost, so their legs must be broken lest they remain carnally alive during the holy day in which we are entering. Broken bones are sometimes good.
Perhaps I should not compare us to thieves who need their legs broken; but in retrospect of our past, it may fit very well. Who of us, for instance, at some time in our lives has not stolen and taken for ourselves that which belongs to our Lord alone? The Psalmist wrote: "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Psalm 24:1. Truthfully, we have laid hold of His gifts to us as though they were ours, thinking we could do with them as we well pleased. Let us not get too startled; but our homes, cars, land, bank accounts and annuities don’t belong to us—they are His. Not only have we taken the earth as our own, but we have usurped the glory and authority of Christ. There are some who have not, we are sure; but for the majority we stand (or hang) guilty, as thieves in God’s Kingdom, and with bones broken.
Hopefully, all this is well in our past, to never be seen again, but I fear we have not seen the end of it. There may still be bones in need of being broken. When merited, God breaks, He wounds, He bruises, and He destroys; but He also heals and says, "Return ye children of men" (Psalm 90:3). and live like the children of God, of whom your are.
"In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house..." (Exodus 12:46). "There is one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all." Ephesians 4:4-6. There is also one Temple, i.e., one House in God’s Kingdom wherein the Communion of the Lord’s death is to be eaten. Many call every temple of Baal, and every erected Midianite grove, the house of God—but they are not. Must we be reminded that He does not dwell in buildings made by men’s hands? "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for YE are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." (2 Corinthians 6:16).
The places where the vast majority drink wine or grape juice and eat natural bread or wafers have nothing to do with the House of God. Rather than abiding in His house of many members, or abodes, they roam and frequent the temples of Babylon. With such, it is impossible to participate in the death of Christ. They merely go through the motions of a somber religious act. There is no cross. There is nothing that will bring forth His Life in a new and living way.
To participate in the Lord’s Communion can only be known in one place, in His House, in His Body which ye are. Only His Body of many members can be broken and eaten, and only in His Body of many members will His resurrection-life be known.
We can search the world over for the right denomination, we can go from church to church in our quest to find the Lord’s Communion, but let us be advised—we will not find Him in this place or that place. He is not in the wilderness. He is not in the mountains. And He is not in stained glass cathedrals of man’s making regardless of the regalia. Buildings with steeples are not holy habitations of God. Only if His holy people are therein will He be there. So do not be genuflecting before sticks and stones of man’s making, for our Lord and His communion are found in one place alone. That holy place, dear friends, is in His House, which YOU are. He is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, as Paul made clear in Romans 10:6-8.
This communion is the Supper of the Lord. It is eaten upon the Hill of Golgotha, the Hill of the Skull, the place where all evil thoughts are dealt with. It is also the place where the Holy One is unjustly crucified. Jesus showed this when He brake the bread only hours before His ascent to that horrid place of death. In this communion, our bones are broken. This is the communion we eat in remembrance of Him. This is the house wherein we eat His flesh and drink His blood. It is upon the hill of the cross. Our unrighteous bones are justly broken, while the New Man and His glory are crucified unjustly for righteousness’ sake.
So, we want to have communion, do we? Well here it is! It is not always the Word and Spirit we have so often sought and taught. It is not of necessity the goose-bump feelings of hearing the right word, or the stirring of the Spirit’s anointing; but rather, it is the death of all those holy things we hold so dear.
Communion is being one with Jesus. It is identifying with our Lord. It is a partnership, a participation in death and life with our Lord. This is the meaning of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. And as it was once before, when many hear this, they will walk no more with Him. John 6:66.
If we expect to be joint heirs in life with Him we must be joint partners in His death. How else will we obtain all things? Only in resurrected transformation can we hold such high things in our hands.
Jesus was our forerunner. He died and lived for us so we could also die and possess all things in Him. We are one in His death when we eat His pierced flesh and drink His shed blood. It is when we suffer the death of everything good in us that we can enjoy everything better in us. Not only must the profane die, but also the holy. If the profane is a thing of the past, and it should be, then it is the holy that is presently dying.
Are we worthy of such communion, or are we eating unworthily, as Paul admonished? That which is being crucified in us—is it the righteous Son of God, or is it merely a religious efforts of crucifying self, the old man? If we are going through the motion of dying to self, rather than partaking of the dying and living experience of this Bread, then we are unfit and are doing it unworthily. One must be a member of that Body in order to be broken and then raised up. This is what constitutes being worthy. Religious rituals, living by the letter, or self-floggings will not justify this worthiness.
Crucifying self has a noble ring to the carnal mind, but please, what man has ever crucified himself? It is simply not done. We are told by Jesus to take up our cross and follow Him, and this we should do—for in doing so, we do not forsake the cross. Taking up our cross, however, and hanging upon it are two different things. Taking it up is a response to what we are compelled to do, while hanging upon is the result of what others or circumstances have done to us. We simply cannot crucify ourselves. Religious men with evil intentions will take care of that for us, and we will know it when the time comes. It will come in the hour appointed of the Father and not before. We don’t have to help it along. And if rebellion is still resident in our lives, the crucifiers will justifiably take care of that part of our dying too.
Hopefully — my dear friends and fellow participators of the cross—COMMUNION will never be looked upon the same. If, however, you still feel good about drinking wine (or grape juice) and eating crackers (or wafers), and taking it as the ordinance of our Lord’s Communion, that is between you and Him. One must do what they believe to be right. But I can say with assurance, if you are called to be a mature son of God, such carnal ordinances will not satisfy. You will be left empty. Furthermore, if you do not presently know what true communion in Christ’s death is, you shall know. You will despise its naked shame as death wraps her foreboding arms about you. The pain shall leave you breathless and you may want to cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" However, with understanding you will echo the words of Jesus as recorded in the Aramaic, "My God, my God—for this was I spared." Whether it is one or the other, take hope—you shall be raised up in the last day (John 6:54). You shall surely be a part of the enlarging of His glorious Kingdom.
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were asked: "...Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?" And then He declares, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of." Mark 10:38-39. And He was not speaking of the symbolic cup from which they drank in the upper room. This bitter cup is placed before His body today, and we too shall drink it as Jesus declared to those Sons of Thunder.
Stay with me, please, for one last question. From which cup did Jesus drink? It was the cup of the crucifixion of self, Himself, which of course, was the New Man from heaven! That is the cup we are presently drinking, and many of us are saying, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done."
We know so many across the land who are suffering immensely. It could be no worse if they were being literally crucified, thrown to the wild beasts, or burned at the stake. With some it is afflictions in their bodies. They live in constant pain and debilitating weakness. Cancer is ravaging others, with no cure in sight. People are losing everything in the natural world, homes, cars, jobs, businesses, and the list mounts. It is not uncommon for their children to be swept away by the flood of the world. Some of them wind up behind prison bars for years. Lives are being devastated from one end of the spectrum to the other.
The communion in which we find ourselves eating and drinking is heavy! This communion cannot be feigned nor imitated. It is real, and it hurts. It is painful and unbearably shameful to be such public spectacles. While the blind church is waiting to be raptured in glory, the sons are being lifted in shame upon the cross. Those of the church and the world mock us, either in word or thought, saying: "If thou be the sons of God, come down from the cross. Only those who are cursed by God hangs upon a tree." Matthew 27:40, Galatians 3:13. "Come down and walk the Calf’s Crooked Path with us. It is ancient and sacred. It has been worn well by firm traditions. It will take you to God’s glory, we are sure of it; for we have been told so."
No, dear friends, this communion is not the crooked path of that ancient little calf that has a lot of foot traffic. True communion is not always pleasant, this is certain; but for the Sons of God to come forth in the manifested glory of their Lord, it is imperative to eat from the bread that He blessed and broke for us, which is His body!
Communion is not the Eucharist, the natural bread that is said to transubstantiate, which means to transform inside people’s stomachs into the very flesh and blood of Jesus. Such is a far from reality! For we are that bread! We are the flesh and blood of Christ’s body that is broken!
Elwin R. Roach
*phylacteries: small leather cases containing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures and traditionally worn on the forehead or left arm by Jewish men.
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