Communion: Killing Hostility

Killing Hostility

By Peter Coker

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22: 20).

A frequently over-looked aspect of Communion, the Lord’s Supper, is the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles. In Christ, the hostility between Jew and Gentile has been broken down. Prior to the sacrifice of Christ, Gentiles were strangers to the covenants God possessed with the Jews. But now in Christ Jesus, Gentiles are brought to the promise, by Christ’s shed blood (wine). Christ, who made both Jew and Gentile, has broken down the wall of hostility through the sacrifice of His own body (bread).

The ancient Jewish people became God’s chosen people; the people through whom God chose to make salvation available to all people. Therefore, the Scriptures inform us, God divided all mankind into two main groups, Jew and Gentile. Greeks and all other non-Israelites were considered ‘Gentiles’ by God.

After the coming of God’s law, the separation between Jews and Gentiles began to grow and became increasingly broadened over the years. By the time of Jesus Christ’s visitation, it had grown into a full-blown complete hostility. By his suffering and death, Jesus abolished this enmity, thus bringing peace to Jews and Gentiles, reconciling them to God. This was to reconcile them to each other as well as to God; as explained in the Book of Ephesians:

14“For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of the commandments and ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were far-off (Gentiles) and peace to those who were near (Jews). 18For through Him we both have access in one spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In Him, you are also being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Holy Spirit.” (Eph. 2: 14-22)

Christ, in His suffering and death, broke down the dividing wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. This partition-wall represented the ceremonial-law, the commandments contained in ordinances (not the moral law). Jesus death removed these particular laws and reconciled Jews and Gentiles; thus, making one new man in Christ. This was supernaturally signified at the time of Christ’s death by the Temple’s torn veil, the partition in the Temple which separated the Court of the Gentiles from the place of the Jews:

51“And behold, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27: 51-53)

Christ’s blood-sacrifice is also referred to as the Atonement, which means to reconcile, or the bringing together of two who are opposed. This reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles was also reaffirmed with Peter’s vision of the ‘sheet’ descending from heaven full of all kinds of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. Peter later learned this vision was a call for him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. When Peter preached to some Gentiles in Caesarea, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, and they began to speak in tongues and glorify God. Peter and those with him realized that God had granted ‘repentance to life’ to the Gentiles.

The uniting of Jews and Gentiles as fellow-heirs is what is also revealed to Paul by the Spirit as The Mystery of Christ, which had not been understood in previous generations. The Mystery of Christ was revealed, so that, through ‘the Church,’ the diversely united wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Eph. 3: 10). There is therefore, in Christ, communion between God and all His people, Jew and Gentile alike. The church, God’s people, are a united ‘living temple’ where the Spirit of God moves and has His being. In light of what the Apostle Paul reveals in The Mystery of Christ, he exhorts all believers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility, gentleness, and patience…in love.

Believers are commanded by Jesus to re-enact the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him and His sacrifice. In communion, believers partake of ‘the cup’ (communion wine) in part to examine one’s self, to reflect and self-judge. The alcohol content in the communion wine signifies to the believer, the power of the blood of Christ, and the church’s unity in one Holy Spirit. The spirit of unity, is to be reflected by believers in ‘the same mind and judgment’ — by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

As the Apostle Paul confirmed; “The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one body, for we partake of that one bread.” (1Cor. 10: 16-17) And again Paul says; “For in ‘one Spirit’ we were all baptized into ‘one body’ –Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and all were made to drink of ‘one Spirit’ (I Cor. 12: 13).

Communion, for believers, is also a call for the unified fellowship of all believers, and to maintain that unity by adhering to a unified ministry that honors, reflects, and glorifies the unified ministry of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through Christ, all believers have been reconciled together as one body, and made to drink of one Spirit. Let us therefore be transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18b)

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Cor. 11: 26)

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