What does discerning the Lord’s body actually mean? As I ponders this thought, several things come to my mind. Before discussing my thoughts, let’s review the story in 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul tells us that many believers are weak and sickly and many have fallen into the sleep of death for not discerning the Lord’s body. Paul expressed concern about how the believers in Christ were coming together to share a meal. It seems that cliques (divisions and factions) had sprung up between them. Some were eating and drinking and getting drunk while others had nothing. There was an economic divide and the wealthy were not considering those who had nothing. Paul states that this careless and unworthy participation is the reason many were weak, chronically ill, and some are dying.
Now I know this is a deep subject but bare with me. My heart here is to not bring any condemnation but to remind us the power revealed in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup of the Lord. Let’s review the revelation that Paul gave to us:
For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread, And when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord’s death until He comes [again]. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
I believe the Lord’s body can represent three concepts: Christ physical body, His body the church, and each individual believer. Christ’s body was torn, battered, and bruised for our transgression so that “by His stripes we can be healed”(Isaiah 53:5). Remembering this event, honoring His death, and recognizing His shed blood, forever paid the price for our sins re-establishing us as sons and daughters. This gift of righteousness is for all who will believe no matter the person age, gender, economic status, or color of their skin. His free gift of righteousness is even for the murderer, sex offender, outcast of society, disabled, addicted, or demon possessed. And yes, His free gift of righteousness is for the Hindu, the Muslim, the New Ager, the Wiccan, and the Buddhist. His love, revealed in His death and resurrection, is for ALL.
Discerning His body rightly, will bring health to the body (church, individual believer). Maybe we are sick and weak, because we have not learn to honor the Christ in ourselves and in others. Today, we see the same cliques (division and fractions) in our nation and in the church as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 11. Love is the greatest healing force in the world. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is one key to healing our nation and each other. There is healing in the body and blood of Jesus: physically, emotionally, and corporately. We can’t truly love others until we understand the love shown for us at the cross. We must first understand how loved we are by the Father, and that He Himself was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. Let’s us remember the price Jesus paid for our healing by remembering His death and resurrection through the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup. True, complete healing, starts at the feet of Jesus. Let Him make you whole. His peace he will give you. Shalom is a fascinating word. I will leave you with the definition. Peace be with you!
Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility.