Lots of people avoid rare beef because they don’t like “bloody” meat. Guess what? It’s not blood. Surprised? I’ve got a couple more surprises for you this morning.
That’s right, steak fans, the red liquid that is oozing out of the meat is not blood, but something called myoglobin. Even the reddest and rarest of steaks is actually bloodless. Blood is removed as the meat is processed; it never makes it to your table no matter how little or much you cook the meat. Myoglobin turns red when exposed to oxygen, and so it looks like blood. But looks can be deceiving.
Steak isn’t the ONLY thing that can deceive us with its looks. Bleach looks like water, but isn’t. Water hemlock looks like parsley, but it is actually the most toxic plant in North America. Kraft Parmesan cheese and Comet cleanser both come in round green containers. Making assumptions based upon outward appearances can lead to utterly wrong conclusions.
Jesus didn’t look like God come in the flesh. He didn’t fly in on a comet, wearing a bright blue suit with a red cape and a big “S” (for “Saviour”) on His chest . He looked like a good rabbi. He looked like a wise and honest teacher. But He said He was the Messiah. He declared Himself to be God, and was almost stoned to death by the Jews when He did. (John 10:32) He was, as the creed declares, “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.”
He was pierced for OUR rebellion, crushed for OUR sins. HE was beaten so WE could be made whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. He died and rose again to pay the price of death for OUR sins, and then offer us the gift of life. REAL life. ETERNAL LIFE with Him.
Today’s verse says THIS IS MY BODY, THIS IS MY BLOOD
And, on the night He was betrayed, He took bread, broke it and gave it to His disciples. And when He did, He said, “This is My Body.” Then, after supper, He took the cup that had been filled with wine, and gave it to His disciples and said, “This is My Blood.”
I’ve shared with you before that our communion is a “convergence community,” meaning that we deliberately walk in all three historic streams of the Church – the Evangelical, the Pentecostal and the Sacramental. And each of those three stream is characterized by a miracle that God repeats over and over again.
Whenever a person turns to Christ and repents of their sin, He performs an instant miracle. He recreates them! If anyone is in Christ they are a new creation, His word says. Every person, every time. He repeats the miracle of new birth each and every time someone chooses to pray that prayer. That’s the Evangelical stream in action.
Whenever a believer asks the Father to pour out His Holy Spirit upon him or her, He performs an instant miracle. God repeats the miracle so that we can always “be being filled” with the Spirit. Jesus said, “if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Every person, every time. That’s the Pentecostal stream in action.
Whenever the priest prays the prayer of consecration, He performs an instant miracle. The bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ. Every time. He repeats the miracle and the real presence of Christ fills and transforms the substance. That’s the Sacramental stream in action.
It is a doctrine the Church universal has held unquestioned since its inception; except for the last few centuries when some have abandoned the understanding of His real presence and begun to teach that communion is not a miracle, it is only a memorial. This has led to fewer and fewer churches celebrating The Lord’s Table, and those that do celebrating it less and less often. (That was, I believe, the enemy’s plan all along.)
It IS His Body. It IS His Blood.
Looks like wine, but looks can be deceiving.
Here’s the simple truth – It IS what it IS.