Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we pointed out that in 22:7-20 we have both the Passover and the Lord’s supper. In verses 7 through 18 there is a record concerning the eating of the Passover, and in verses 19 and 20, a record concerning the Lord’s instituting His supper so that the disciples may participate in His death. In the Passover the main thing enjoyed by God’s chosen people was the lamb. The meat of the lamb was for them to eat. But in the Lord’s table the main item for us to enjoy as New Testament believers is not a lamb; the main item for our enjoyment is bread. This is very significant, and in this message we need to consider this in more detail than we have done previously.
When the Lord Jesus was offered to God for our redemption, He was offered not as bread but as a Lamb. However, the outcome is not the Lamb but bread. The Lamb was a single entity, but bread is something corporate. It is not possible for a single grain of wheat to form a loaf of bread. A loaf is a corporate entity, something composed and constituted of many grains. With the feast of the Passover there is not the concept of feasting on something that is corporate in nature. But with the Lord’s table the symbols, especially the loaf, bear a very significant characteristic, and this characteristic is that of a corporate entity, a corporate body. It is very important that we realize this.
The loaf in the Lord’s table points to something that comes after the Lord’s death; it signifies something that issues from the Lord in His resurrection. What is signified by the loaf is not something before the Lord’s death, but something after His death and in His resurrection. Before His death, the Lord Jesus was a single, individual Lamb. But what issues out of His death in resurrection is a corporate entity. This entity is the loaf, the bread, which signifies a corporate body.
In the Gospel of Luke, of course, we do not see much development concerning the bread of the Lord’s table. We need to remember, however, that Luke’s impression of this came from Paul’s revelation. Regarding the bread, we should go from Luke 22 to Paul’s word in 1 Corinthians 10:17: “Seeing that we who are many are one bread, one Body; for we all partake of the one bread.” Here we see that the bread signifies not only the physical body of the Savior; it also signifies His mystical Body, which is the church. This is not a matter of an individual; it is a matter of a corporate Body.
We are all one bread, one Body, because we all partake of the one bread. Our joint partaking of the one bread testifies that we all are one. This indicates that our partaking of Christ makes us all His one Body. The very Christ of whom we all partake constitutes us into His one Body.
In the Gospel of Luke the word “church” is not used. Nevertheless, there are certain hints, or indications, of the church in this Gospel. For instance, in chapter ten the inn refers to the church. Likewise, the house of the father in chapter fifteen indicates the church. Furthermore, there is a hint concerning the church in the parable of the vineyard in chapter twenty. The Jewish leaders are likened to vinedressers. According to 20:16, the vinedressers are destroyed, and the vineyard is given to others. These “others” are the New Testament believers, who are the components of the church. In 20:17 and 18 the Lord went on to refer to Himself as the cornerstone: “What then is this that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the head of the corner?” This cornerstone surely is for the building up of the church. This is another strong indication that the church is referred to in this Gospel. Now in chapter twenty-two the loaf is related to the church. According to the development elsewhere in the New Testament, the loaf, the bread, signifies the Body of Christ, the church. Therefore, the loaf in 22:19 points to the church.
Before His death the Man-Savior was a Lamb. But after His death and in His resurrection, He became a loaf. In the Old Testament feast of the Passover the enjoyment was of the lamb, but in the New Testament feast the enjoyment is of the loaf. The Lamb has become a loaf through the process of death and resurrection.
At the Lord’s table we display, exhibit, the Lord’s death. But we display His death in His resurrection. Whenever we come to the Lord’s table, we should keep in mind that we are not in His death but in His resurrection. Because we are now participating in the loaf, in the Lord’s resurrection we are displaying His death. This loaf includes not only the Lord Himself; it includes the Lord with us. Therefore, the loaf is no longer the individual Christ; it is now the corporate Christ (1 Cor. 12:12), including the Lord Jesus and the believers.
In the institution of the Lord’s table the loaf is the main element. On the cross we see the Lamb, but on the table we see the loaf. When we are at the Lord’s table, we need to realize that the loaf includes the Head and the Body; that is, it includes Christ and all the believers. Hence, it is a complete loaf, a corporate entity. Praise the Lord that the Lamb has become the loaf! Through His death and in His resurrection, the Lamb has become the loaf. According to John 12:24, the Lord fell into the earth and died as a grain of wheat and then in resurrection became a loaf composed of many grains. This loaf is inexhaustible!
After considering the Lord’s table again and again for many years, I can testify that the bread and the cup are inexhaustible. Before the Lord Jesus went to the cross, He was the Lamb individually. But after passing through death and coming forth in resurrection, He became a loaf that includes both Him and us. Furthermore, the blood He shed on the cross has become a covenant, and this covenant has become a cup, a portion that is God Himself as a blessing for our enjoyment. God is alloted to us in this cup; He is our portion for us to enjoy. In this we see the significance of the Lord’s supper instituted in chapter twenty-two. We thank the Lord for giving us such an understanding of His supper.
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