THE LORD REIGNS!
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THOUGHT OF THE DAY
REALLY PRESENT ... REALLY!!
Some things are binary. To be binary means that you have only one of two possible states of being. It's either - or.
If you're flying on an airplane, the flight attendant may ask, "Would you like fish or beef for dinner?" The choice is a binary one. You can't choose the "fishy-beef" or the "beefy-fish" because that is logical insanity. Beef and fish are two VERY different things. Neither can you choose the chicken, pasta or pizza, because they are not an option. You've wife may be pregnant or not; but ONLY ONE of those states is true. You cannot be "almost pregnant" or "half pregnant." Pregnancy is binary. So are marriage, gender, employment, citizenship. In fact, so is LIFE. You are either alive or not.
There is something else that is binary. It is the REAL PRESENCE of Christ in the Eucharist.
Either Jesus is really, truly and actually present in the Eucharist, or He is not. Either you have REAL PRESENCE or you must accept REAL ABSENCE. There is no third choice. A deeply theological analysis may enter the argument of transubstantiation, consubstantiation or other related terms. But, for our purposes, we shall focus ONLY on the REAL presence.
Here's what Jesus said about it ....
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. John 6:52-59
Jesus made His position perfectly and absolutely clear. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. "
His position was as radical as it was binary. Eat His flesh = Have life within you. DON'T eat His flesh = no life within you. FULL STOP.
The people gathered in the synagogue in Capernaum understood. The concept was so foreign to them that many who had previously followed Jesus chose to depart. They asked themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" And, once they had decided that either He could not or that they would not eat His flesh and drink His blood - THEY DEPARTED. And in their departure abandoned their only option for eternal life.
The disciples who chose to stay understood. Paul the apostle understood, and He was taught directly by Jesus AFTER the resurrection. Paul said, "I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you." Then he taught the doctrine of the Eucharist. Read the words again. "This IS My body. This IS My blood." The word Paul chose under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was "IS" - not "represents." The Church Fathers universally accepted and taught the doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist very clearly. Examples may be drawn from every one of them, but here are two. (If you're interested in more, just message me and I'll send you my larger paper on the subject.)
First, Ignatius of Antioch, who became the third bishop of Antioch, succeeding Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. As a boy, Ignatius heard the Apostle John preach. He also knew Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Seven of his letters written to various Christian communities have been preserved. He was thrown to wild beasts in an arena and died a martyr. He wrote about people who held onto "strange doctrines" and refused to "admit that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, the flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His graciousness, raised from the dead."
Justin Martyr was one of the great apologists of the early church. In his First Apology, he wrote, ""This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."
In fact, the truth of the real presence has been accepted and held by EVERY orthodox body of believers since the inception of the Church -- right up until the Protestant Reformation when Zwingli and Calvin rejected the belief in the real physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Their rejection was based on their non-historical interpretation of the New Testament. Martin Luther was not taken in by their misinterpretation and defended the Real Presence to his dying day. While much was gained in terms of evangelical understanding by the reformation, losing the understanding of the Real Presence is too great a loss to overlook.
Does not even common sense demonstrate the impossibility that ALL CHRISTIANS could be in error on the CORE DOCTRINE of the nature of the Eucharist for almost 1,600 years!!!
In the convergence movement, we hold a triune focus. We seek to walk in the sacramental, the evangelical and the pentecostal; and we seek to do so fully and equally. We do this because of the balance this provides. The sacramental stream ties us to historicity, that which has been held as the historic orthodox faith. The evangelical stream ties us to the scriptures, the inspired word of God. The pentecostal stream ties us to the Holy Spirit, Who teaches us all things and leads us by His gifts into their proper application.
These three streams provide strength and balance. Like a three-legged stool, removing even one leg unbalances the entire enterprise. The issue of homosexual marriage is an excellent example. Many denominations today have accepted and embraced the LGBTQ-etc culture as valid and wonderful. But to do so requires that they abandon the historic orthodox position of the church and the clear teaching of the scriptures. They pull two legs off the stool, and try to balance on the leg of "spirit-inspired love and acceptance" when the position is untenable and unstable.
The same is true of the Church's historic position on the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Today is Good Friday. It is the very day we remember the sacrifice Christ made for us upon the cross. Today above all other days, we ought to be grateful for Him and His gift of love .... and OF LIFE. Today, above all other days, we ought to embrace and receive His Body and His blood in the Eucharist.
"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."