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hope] of men." "He came unto his own, and they that were [called] his own received him not. But as many as received him [whether, before, they had been called his own, or not] to them gave he the right to become children of God [by becoming partakers of his life], even to them that believe on his name: which were [through faith] begotten, not of bloods [not by ordinary generation], nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Having in his own blood the life of God and the life of man, Jesus Christ could make men sharers of the divine nature by making them sharers of his own nature; and this was the truth of truths which he declared to those whom he instructed.
In the primitive rite of blood-covenanting, men drank of each other's blood, in order that they might have a common life; and they ate together of a mutually prepared feast, in order that they might evidence and nourish that common life. In the outreaching of men Godward, for the privileges of a divine-human inter-union, they poured out the substitute blood of a chosen victim in sacrifice, and they partook of the flesh of that sacrificial victim, in symbolism of sharing the life and the nourishment of Deity. This symbolism was made a reality in Jesus Christ. He was the Seed of Abraham; the fulfillment
1 Comp. John 1: 1-14; Heb. 1: 1-3; 2: 14-16.
THE PREPARED BODY.
of the promise, "In Isaac shall thy Seed be called."1 He was the true Paschal Lamb; the "Lamb without blemish and without spot"; "the Lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world." The blood which he yielded, was Life itself. The body which he laid on the altar was the Peace Offering of Completion.1
"Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith: Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not,
But a body didst thou prepare for me;
In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hadst no pleasure: Then said I, Lo, I am come
(In the roll of the book it is written of me)
To do thy will, O God.
Saying above, [He here says.] Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein [as if in themselves sufficient] (the which are offered according to the Law); then [also] hath he said, Lo I am come to do thy will. He taketh away the first [the symbolic], that he may establish the second [the real]."5
He was here, in the body of his blood and flesh, for the yielding of his blood and the sharing of his flesh, in order to make partakers of his nature whosoever would seek a divine-human inter-union and a divine
1 Gen. 21: 12; Heb. 11: 18.
3 Rev. 13: 8.
21 Pet. 1: 19.
See page 250, supra, note.
5 Heb. 10: 5-9.
human inter-communion, through the sacrifice made by him, "once for all."
“Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed [is true meat], and my blood [my life] is drink indeed [is true drink]. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him [Herein is communion through union]. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he that eateth me, he also shall live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven: not as the fathers did eat, and died: he that eateth this bread shall live forever."1
"These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum "-toward the close of the second year of his public ministry. The fact that he did. speak thus, so long before he had instituted the Memorial Supper, has been a puzzle to many commentators who were unfamiliar with the primitive rite of blood-covenanting, and with the world-wide series of substitute sacrifices and substitute forms of communion which had grown out of the suggestions, and 1 John 6: 53-58.
A SPIRITUAL TRUTH.
out of the perversions, of the root symbolisms of that
rite. But, in the light of all these
customs, the words
It was as
of Jesus have a clearer meaning. he had said: "Men everywhere seek a share in the life of God. own blood, or of substitute blood, and they taste of substitute blood, or they receive its touch, in evidence of their desire for oneness of nature with God. They crave communion with God, and they eat of the flesh of their sacrifices accordingly. All that they thus reach out after, I supply. In me is life. If they will become partakers of my life, of my nature, they shall be sharers of the life of God." Then he added, in assurance of the fact that it was a profound spiritual truth which he was enunciating: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and are life.”1 The divine-human inter-union and the divine-human inter-communion are spiritual, and they are spiritually wrought; or they are nothing.
The words of Jesus on this subject were not understood by those who heard him. "The Jews therefore strove one with another, saying,
give us his flesh to eat?"2
How can this man But this was not because
the Jews had never heard of eating the flesh of a sacrificial victim, and of drinking blood in a sacred covenant:
1 John 6: 63.
2 John 6: 60.
it was, rather, because they did not realize that Jesus was to be the crowning sacrifice for the human race; nor did they comprehend his right and power to make those who were one with him through faith thereby one with God in spiritual nature. Many," even "of his disciples, when they heard" these words of his, "said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? Nor are questioners at this point lacking among his disciples to-day.
Before Jesus Christ was formally made an offering in sacrifice, as a means of man's inter-union and intercommunion with God, there were two illustrations of his mission, in the giving of his blood for the bringing of man into right relations with God. These were, his circumcision, and his agony in Gethsemane.
By his circumcision, Jesus brought his humanity into the blood-covenant which was between God and the seed of God's friend, Abraham, of whose nature, according to the flesh, Jesus had become a partaker; 2 Jesus thereby pledged his own blood in fidelity to that covenant; so that all who should thereafter become his by their faith, might, through him, be heirs of faithful Abraham.3 The sweet singer of the Christian Year' seems to find this thought in this incident in the life of the Holy Child:
1 John 6: 60.
3 Gal. 3: 6-9, 16, 29.
2 Heb. 1: 14-16.