We should partake of the communal elements of the matzo (unleavened bread) and the fruit of the vine, as instituted by Yeshua HaMashiach at His last Passover Seder; that the elements are symbolic of the L-rd’s death and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)
1 Cor. 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”[i]
History of Communion
For those of you who have participated in a Passover Seder, you will know that the history and tradition of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine, precedes Yeshua by several hundred years. What Yeshua did was to take the third cup of the Passover Seder, the cup of Redemption, and he appropriated it to Himself. Yeshua showed how it pointed too His body and His blood, and the seal of the New Covenant spoken by the prophet Jeremiah (31:31-40). We will teach more on this at Passover, but for now, I want to go over some of the most difficult words of Yeshua and how He calls us to an intimate discipleship.
Drink My Blood
In (Matt. 26:26) Yeshua tell His Talmidim, “Take, eat; this is My body” and “Drink from [this cup], all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the removal of sins.” Why does Yeshua say this? To the outsider this sounds like cannibalism, but this is not the first time that Yeshua has used these words. Yeshua had just fed the 5000, was on the other side of the Sea of Galilee and now the people are asking Him the questions. These are the same people who were just fed with “bread from heaven,” and yet they ask for another sign.[Read John 6:22-71]
Notice how Yeshua is trying to get the people to see and understand the difference between physical and spiritual food. He is trying to get the people to come up to His level and trust in Him, the One the Father sent into the world.
Yeshua states emphatically, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.” The promise to those who trust Him is wonderful! Those who trust in Yeshua will “have eternal life” and Yeshua will “raise[them] up on the last day.”
Yeshua continues to say, “I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. This bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” But the people can not see beyond the physical, and ask, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”
Yeshua’s call to deep discipleship does not slow down. Rather, He continues, “Amen, amen I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who eats of Me will also live because of Me. This is the bread that came down from heaven—not like the bread your fathers ate and then died. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
When many of the disciples started leaving because this teaching was too hard, Yeshua did not back up and say, “Oh sorry, just kidding. Sorry I’ve offended you….” No instead he turns to His closest followers, the 12, and says, “You don’t want to leave also, do you?”
Yeshua had no problem sugar coating the difficulty of discipleship. He called His talmidim, to intimacy, and to follow Him even when they did not fully understand.
Abide in Me
I covered this passage because this leads us back to the Upper Room, just after Judah, Yeshua’s betrayer had left, Yeshua begins to speak to the rest of the talmidim. John records in (14, 15 and 16) this last call to intimate discipleship. In [15:1-17] Yeshua calls us to Abide in Him and He in us eleven (11) times. This abiding is the same thing as eating His flesh and drinking His blood.
What do I mean? When we eat food and drink water, not only do those things give us life, but they literally become a part of who we are. The body takes the nutrients and the fluids and converts them into the building blocks of our body. Our body is completely replaced at least every seven years, and some parts much more regularly. In the same way Yeshua is saying that we much ingest Him, rely on Him, have our very souls rebuilt by Him. We must abide in Him and have Him abide in us. This is not just a figurative exercise, but a reality that is truer than our reliance on food and water. This is the new life. This is eternal life.
How Do We Abide?
This is actually simple to understand, but not necessarily simple to do. Spend time with Yeshua. Speak to Him, listen to Him, and more importantly do what He tells you to do. (15:10) Yeshua says, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.” It is in the place of intimacy, the place of trust, that place of abiding, that place without fear, that we can “ask whatever [we] wish, and it shall be done for [us].” It is in this place that we become friends of God, not just servants. It is in this place of abiding, where we find ultimate fulfillment. This is the place where we bear fruit that remains.
[i] All Scripture quotations are taken from the Tree of Life (TLV) version unless otherwise noted.