Friday, July 3, 2009

Flesh and Blood: A New Covenant (Part II)

The answer to these questions is found in John 6. In verse 51, Jesus Himself connects the reception of His life with the reception of the manna in Exodus. This “bread from heaven”, as it was called, was received unto the life of their bodies. The bread that He offers to them is His “flesh for the life of the world”. Keeping in mind what was read in Leviticus, it should come as no surprise that Jesus uses words (“flesh” and “life”) evocative of this Old Testament passage. When taken in context with Leviticus, one may legitimately wonder, then, if the reception of this abundant life that He promises is somehow connected to the shedding of blood and its consumption. Again, Jesus offers an affirmative answer to this. In verse 53-55, He says, “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; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” The key difference between what Jesus says here and what the Father commanded in Leviticus is that the former approves of the consumption of blood while the latter forbids it. We see a seemingly apparent contradiction. Can it be resolved? The inquiring mind wants to know.

A more careful reading of Leviticus teaches us not only a culinary lesson in sanitation but also a spiritual one. We learn that when it comes to the soul, not just any life will do. We are humans, not animals; therefore, the life of the animal is unworthy of us. The prohibition against the consumption of blood specified the blood of animals when in Lev 17:13, He specifically refers to “beasts and birds”. Jesus is no beast. Furthermore, we learn to avoid devaluation of our dignity at all times while availing ourselves of the elevation of our nature by the spiritual and corporeal infusion of His life-giving blood into ours.

Only HIS life will do. Jesus wants to give His life to us. His life is in His blood. Because He is the eternal God, His life is eternal life. The consumption of blood means the infusion of the life it carries within it. Need I say more?


luke said...

I always enjoy your insight into typologies Joseph. They are always sound and articulate. Please keep the blogs coming. This is a great connection between Leviticus and John. And need not say more.

luke said...

Being a luddite, I naturally have know idea how to use these damn computers...This comment and the last one was sent by Tim T.

Joseph Reed said...

Thanks Tim. As I said on the phone, I'll have a few posts up next week about Baptism. I'm on a bit of an apologetics kick right now. Maybe it's because I'm heading to England, land of the "I want a divorce so I'll start my own church" type of Christianity.