The Lasting Value of Communion

Wade E Taylor

As the "facets" in a diamond are viewed, some appear as being opposite to other facets. Rather, the beauty of a diamond is that these facets "complement" each other. So also, the partaking of "communion" with our Lord has many different ways in which it may be understood and experienced.

Many receive communion in a ritualistic manner; partaking religiously, rather than first being lifted into the presence of the Lord through worship and the adoration of who He is. There must be a time of preparation for us to effectively partake of "communion" with the Lord. Just as it is not possible for us to "wait on the Lord in His presence" until we have passed from the natural realm into the spiritual, it is not possible for us to "receive" the value and substance of the body and blood of Jesus, until we exchange realms.

The word "communion" has to do with communication – Jesus speaks and we listen. We speak and He listens. Thus, as we enter into communion with Jesus and become "one" with Him, we are able to partake of His life. There are foundational principles that are established in the Word of God, which apply to our partaking of communion.

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus... For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1, 2

This "condemnation" is the judgment (death) which was given Adam for his transgression, which process of death has been handed down to each of us. We are set free from the "law of sin" through our identification with the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. We are set free from the "law of death" through our identification with the resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (Jesus) was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit." I Corinthians 15:45 (comment added)

Jesus said that He came that we might have life, and have this life "more abundantly." We become a partaker of the "law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" through our identification with Jesus as quickening, life-giving Spirit. This includes divine health and longevity of life. Those who receive this gift of "life" from Jesus will stand out from all others in the quality of their health, and the length of their life span.

Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fishes. Later, when they again became hungry, they returned to ask for more. Jesus told them that He had something better for them, and said:

"…Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you… Your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live forever." John 6:53; 58

Jesus is offering them a higher life, in which they will not die. The condition being that they eat, not a second serving of loaves and fishes, but rather, His very flesh and blood. This word concerning our "living forever" primarily applies to our eternal life in heaven, but there is an "application" that affects us in this present life. Jesus said:

"I am the true vine… Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing." John15:1-5

Jesus said that He is the "vine" (Tree of Life), and that we, as being a branch, only have life as we partake of His life. Through Adam's transgression, we were removed from our "connection" to the tree of life, and became attached to the tree of knowledge.

The Lord slew an animal and covered Adam and Eve with its skin, which became forgiveness through the shedding of blood; first the Passover lamb and then Jesus dying on the cross. Adam and Eve are now forgiven but they still had within them what they ate from the tree of knowledge – the right to choose for themselves. They lost their abiding state of dependence and could no longer partake of the Tree of Life.

Each one of us were born attached to the tree of knowledge. Through the total victory that Jesus gained in our behalf on the cross, we can literally, personally, detach ourselves from the tree of knowledge, which leads us to death; and re-attach ourselves to the tree of life, and receive - as we partake of communion - the very life of Jesus, in the " power of an endless life" flowing into our body.

We can then very specifically release ourselves from the "law of sin and death" (as being a branch that is attached to the tree of knowledge), and re-attach ourselves to the "law of the spirit of life" (as being a branch that is reattached to Jesus, who is the tree of Life), and receive the very life of Jesus flowing into our lives, as we partake of His very flesh and blood through communion.

If a strip of bark is totally cut around a tree and removed, the process of death will begin. The tree can no longer receive the life that is drawn up from the root system, and will soon die. So also, the life of the "Vine" (Jesus) must flow into us, as being a branch. For this to take place, the branch (us) must be properly connected to the vine. Only then can His life, as the "power of an endless life," flow into our lives.

"Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life." Hebrews 7:16

Eating food to sustain our natural body is not an option; rather, it is a necessity, and we eat several times each day. Also, our "partaking" of the life of the Lord is not an option. This partaking of the "body" and "blood" of Jesus must take place more often than our partaking of His Life through communion on the first Sunday of each month. Rather, we must partake on a regular (daily) basis, or we will suffer loss, both spiritually and naturally.

"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever." Genesis 3:22

I once thought that Adam had eternal existence built within him at the time of his creation, and would have lived forever if he had not transgressed. However, Adam had been formed from "dust," which speaks of a created dependency. It is impossible to form anything from dust. It takes moisture, the very Life of our Lord Jesus Christ - that which flows from the Vine into the branch - for the "dust" that we are, to have form, shape, and purpose. Thus, Adam had to come to the tree of life often in order to maintain his life.

"Lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (Genesis 3:22b). Suddenly, I saw what was being said - when we take communion, we "put forth our hand, and we take and eat." Adam came regularly and partook, and as a result, he continued to live, but when he transgressed, he was hindered from partaking of the Tree of Life (taking communion), and he began to die.

Had Adam been able to continue to eat, he would have continued to live, but the judgment for transgression was death. Therefore, all the Lord needed to do was to prevent Adam from taking communion (putting forth his hand... taking... eating, and living). Therefore, the Lord placed an angel with a flaming sword before the Tree of Life, to prevent Adam from partaking.

On the day of Pentecost, this "flaming sword" was removed as a hindrance and became a means of access. It descended and sat upon the head of each of the one-hundred-twenty who were present, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. The veil had been rent, and a way of access made for us to enter the Lord's presence.

"…To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." Revelation 2:7

As we partake of "communion," the way of entrance to the Tree of Life is opened to us, and we can partake of His very life, as Jesus is the Tree of Life.

When the multitude who came to see miracles became hungry, Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fishes and they were fed to the full (John 6:1-26). Later, they came back for more, and when Jesus told them that they were to eat His flesh and drink His blood, they ridiculed Him and left. At that time, Jesus could not explain how to partake of His flesh and drink His blood, as He had yet to fulfill His preparation to die upon the cross for our sin, and then in resurrection, become quickening life-giving spirit.

When His ministry was completed, the evening before Jesus was to give His life on the cross, He was now able to speak.

"…the Lord Jesus... took bread: and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do you, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." I Corinthians 11:23-25

Notice that Jesus said, "This bread is My body; and, this cup is My blood." He did not say, "This is an emblem, or a symbol of My body and of My blood." Jesus then said that He would not partake again with us, until we partook together with Him, in the Kingdom.

"For I say to you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Luke 22:16

The Word says, "Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). As we partake of communion, we see bread, but Jesus said, "This is My body." As we partake of the cup, we see the fruit of the vine, but Jesus said, "This is My blood." Having the mind of a child, we simply believe what Jesus said - not what we see.

Some teach that the "bread," and the "fruit of the vine," must first be transformed into the body and the blood of Jesus, and a priest seeks to do this for the believer. Others said that we can do this for ourselves, without the priest. Rather, we are to believe what Jesus said, and partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine in faith, believing that we are partaking of the literal body and blood of Jesus. The necessary change is in "us," not in the bread and the fruit of the vine.

"And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do you, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." I Corinthians 11:24-25

Jesus said that we are to partake "in remembrance of Me." Rather than referring to our remembering His death on the cross, He is directing our thoughts back to the time when he told the multitude that they were to "eat His flesh and drink His blood."

"From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away?" John 6:66-67

At that time, Jesus could not explain how to partake, but now, He could. With this understanding, when we believe what Jesus said, with child-like faith, we are literally partaking of His body and blood. As we partake, we must make a decision - "Lord, I look and I see bread and the fruit of the vine, but I choose to believe, not what I see, but what you said" (this is My body and My blood).

"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (living, life-giving) spirit." I Corinthians 15:45

In His ascension, Jesus became a life-giving Spirit, as He is the Tree of Life. Thus, when we partake of communion, we are eating and drinking the very life of the One who is able to impart life.

"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground…." Isaiah 53:2

Jesus is a "root" (the tree of life) out of a dry ground. Therefore, it can be said that He is the Tree of Life in mystical form, recognizable only to those who have spiritual eyes.

"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." I Corinthians 11:28-29

Communion, then, is the "mystical form" of the tree of life, hidden from the spiritually blind. Jesus said that if we partake unworthily (without understanding that He Himself is the Tree of Life), we are merely partaking of the process of death, receiving bread and the fruit of the vine - another good meal, and we are that much closer to death.

But, if we partake with spiritual understanding - knowing what we are doing, we will no longer be weak, sickly, and dying prematurely. Rather, as we rightly partake of communion, we are receiving quickening life-giving spirit, and we will be living.

"For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord's death till He come." I Corinthians 11:26

As often as we do this, we are "showing" the Lord's death. This means that we are demonstrating the value of it. If we die the same as other people, we are not demonstrating anything. When we partake of Life, we are receiving the life that Jesus came to offer - "Life more abundantly."

Paul tells us that we have been set free from the "law of sin and death." As we partake of the bread (His body), and identify with Jesus in His death on the cross, we are forgiven through the blood that He shed on the cross in our behalf. As we identify with the stripes that Jesus bore in His body, we receive healing. Thus, we are partaking "worthily."

We then identify with Jesus through the cup (His blood), as life is in the blood. In His resurrection and ascension, Jesus became "quickening spirit," and in this identification, we are released from the process of death.

The "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" relates to good or bad, to right or wrong. In our daily life experiences we are constantly making decisions or these choices, and we again become attached to the tree of knowledge. As I prepare for communion, the first thing I do is to release myself from this attachment, and re-attach myself to the tree of life.

When I partake of communion, I speak to the Lord words that include the following:

"Lord, I come to you as being a branch that can live only as I receive the life of the true vine flowing into my life. Through my partaking of your very life through communion, I receive your life imparted into my life, that I might become the expression of your life in the earth, at this present time."

"Lord Jesus, as I receive the bread, I identify with Your body; for in Your body, You bore stripes and through the blood that flowed from those stripes, I receive healing. You died upon the cross, and in identification with You, and the blood that You shed in Your death on the cross, I receive forgiveness of sin."

"Lord, I partake of the cup, the fruit of the vine, in identification with Your ascension blood - the power of an endless life. In identification with You as being the Tree of Life, I release my body from the power of death, and I receive longevity of life."

As we do this "often," we should no longer be sick and dying, but living in health and strength.

Just as Adam, we must come to the "Tree of Life" in order to continue to live; or we will progressively die. Therefore, if we understand that communion is the Tree of Life, and then we, in faith, partake of communion as being the Tree of Life, we will live the fullness of the time that has been given to us.

Those whom the Lord is calling to become "remaining ones" are discovering the connection between communion and the tree of life. This is a principle that is being revealed at the present time. Paul said, "…We who are alive and remain at the coming of the Lord..." (I Thessalonians 4:15).

Jesus, on the 8th day of His life, was taken into the temple to be dedicated. Two people were there, Anna and Simeon. Anna was old, but Simeon had a "word" that he would not see death until he saw the anointed of the Lord. Anna was "alive," but Simeon was "remaining." Thus, two classes of people were present.

Paul said that in the time of the return of our Lord, these two classes would be present; those who are "alive" through the normal course of life, and those who are "remaining" - whose lives have been extended because they have learned the principle of communion. These are looking beyond liturgical religious forms, into spiritual reality and are partaking in faith, knowing that they are eating the flesh, and drinking the blood of Jesus, who is the Tree of Life.

Communion can be taken as often as we desire. The word clearly confirms this - "as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you show the Lord's death (demonstrate the value by receiving life), till He come." (I Corinthians 11:26).

If we realize that we are partaking of healing and life, we will do so, often.