People asked Jesus in John 6, “What sign (distinguishing thing) will you do, that we may see and believe you? What (thing or action) will you do (as proof)?” We still do today. Many still nurse thoughts that only by Jesus performing a spectacular and defining miracle for them can they believe that Jesus is who he says he is. And they are not wrong.
But belief in someone does not necessarily mean that you are in a love relationship with that person. Here lies the crux of the matter.
What is God’s purpose in sending Jesus? Is it only to believe in Him? If so, all that is needed is for God to perform a spectacular and defining miracle to show that God has sent him. It must be more than that. For even the devils believe in him.
Jesus had made a statement prior to the people asking. He said; This is the work (purpose) of God, that you believe into him whom He has sent.
There is a difference when we say that we are in a relationship with someone or we are into a relationship with someone. ‘In’ speaks of a state of where you are at, expressing the situation of being enclosed or surrounded by something. ‘Into’ is all about movement and progression deeper within the state of where you are.
In common speech, it’s the difference between “I’m with someone” and “I’m into someone.”
You are in a circle of relationships, even if you are on the outer fringes of the relationships. Where you are, there is room and space to move deeper into the center of the circle.
Miracles are meant to place you within the new circle of an experiential love relationship with Him. To grow and mature in this new relationship you need more than that.
The people needed to see and understand this.
So, how did Jesus respond?
Instead of performing another miracle that they may see and believe in him, he offered himself as the Miracle, that they would not only believe in him but also believe into him.
The proof of the pudding has always been in the eating.
In picturesque and figurative language, he described himself as the bread of life, the true bread from heaven, the living bread. He invited them to eat of this bread to live forever with God in contrast with the ‘manna bread’ that their forefathers had consumed in the desert and died.
Every Jew knew his Scriptures. This imagery had been used before in Psalm 34:8. David had declared: “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the one who trust in Him.”
Jesus continued by inviting them to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. By so doing, they would be able to believe in and into him. He challenged them to authentically relate with him, get to know him, get into him and taste that the Lord is good. This is eternal life, to know God and Jesus, whom He has sent, in the here and now.
This caused great consternation among the Jews gathered before him. They quarreled and argued among themselves as if they were engaged in a physical fight. It is alright to taste and see that the Lord is good but; “How can ‘this man’ give us his flesh to eat?” They could not conceive that God has become this man. Neither could they conceive that this man could be God and man, at the same time.
Many of his disciples admitted that even for them: “This is a hard saying.” As a result, many went back and no longer walked with him.
Jesus was to emphasize this again, with similar imagery, in the last Passover meal with his disciples.
The Passover meal has always been a celebration of life for the Jews, a celebration of the relationship that Yahweh God had with them and they with Him. In the meal, all the senses of the participants are engaged in remembering and relating to God.
In this Passover meal, Jesus did something new. In the middle of the meal, He took a piece of matzah (unleavened bread), and gave b’rakhah (the blessing). Traditionally the spoken blessing is : "Barukh attah, Adonai Eloheynu, Melekh-ha'olam, haMotzi lechem min ha'aretz" ("Praised be you, Adonai our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth").
Then, he broke the bread, gave it to them and said, “This is my body, which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.”
Like the Passover meal for the Jews, Jesus desired that Remembrance Communion be the focal point and portal whereby we can interact with him through all our senses. Our physical senses of taste, smell, sight, hearing and feeling are all engaged in the celebration of eating and drinking the elements of bread and grape juice. In remembering him, there is an active occupation of mind and intellect. In taking him into our lives through consuming of the bread and grape juice, we encounter and experience him as our fellow human and God. We allow his life to flow into our lives even as he allows our life to flow into his life, as he said, he who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood abides in me and I in him.
More than a transfusion of blood and lives flowing one into the other, Remembrance Communion is the joining of two lives as one, yet with each life retaining its unique personality and individuality.
Jesus gave us Remembrance Communion to enable us to experience this in the here and now; for believers, an experience to grow into; for unbelievers, an opportunity to engage in, see and believe in and into.
This is Remembrance Communion for me.
Jesus awaits you in Remembrance Communion.
Celebrate Holy Communion with him.
Encounter Jesus, in the here and now.
Taste and see that the Lord is good