For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (1Co 11:23-24)

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” (Jn 19:33-35)

When we break bread we remember the Lord. We remember his sacrificial and substitutionary death which is the means of our life. We remember his resurrection from the dead, and his victory over the curse of sin and death - that every power of the enemy is broken and every blessing of the New Covenant secured. We remember his ascension in glory to the Father's side - where he has the name that is above every name - all power and authority and dominion are his - from where he continues to pour out his Holy Spirit who gives us the power to continue to do and to teach the things that he himself begun. And we remember that he is coming again from heaven in glory, to claim his spotless bride and take possession of his kingdom come in all its fullness.

When we break bread, we also discern the body of Christ. That is we recognise that the New Covenant we are in is not just vertical but horizontal. We are one body in Christ. We recognise and remember that we are members one of another. No one existing purely for themselves and their relationship with the Lord. But each outworking that relationship within the body where God has arranged each member as he has seen fit. Each with a unique gift given for the common good.

When we break bread, we do not just remember - we receive. It is a means of grace to us through which the very blessings represented are also imparted. It is a table of abundant provision and a cup of blessing.

The breaking of bread, which represents Christ's body, is highly significant. It may seem surprising then to note that the Scriptures make much of the fact that Jesus' body was not broken! It was bruised, crushed, pierced, striped, afflicted - but never broken. You might have thought that because the breaking of bread would be so central to the New Covenant community that the Father would have allowed his Son to be broken in order to cement the connection further - but we are told that quite the opposite is the case. It was necessary, to fulfil the revealed will of God, that his body was not broken.

You see, many things were broken on the cross, but our Lord was not one of them!! The power of sin and death - broken. The authority of Satan - broken. The hold of the curse - broken. The barrier between God and man - forever torn and broken down. But Jesus himself was unbroken - even in death. He was the victor not the victim, the wrecking ball demolishing every stronghold. He took upon himself the full fury of the enemy, and even the very wrath of God that was rightfully ours - yet in it all... unbroken! victorious! triumphant!

When we consider the cross, let us never see Jesus as a pale broken figure. An object of our pity and remorse. The cross we have is empty. Jesus went through the cross to the victory on the other side that we might do the same. We have a triumphant unbroken saviour.

Jesus' body was broken only in as much as it was deliberately surrendered over to death for us. His life was laid down, it was never taken - he could have at any moment summoned many legions of angels and come down from the cross. He was never broken by anyone or anything.

It was not the nails that held Jesus to that cross, but his submission to his Father's will, and his unbreakable love for you and me. The same unbreakable love that reaches out to you today.


Turn and be filled

Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Ac 2:38)

If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you. (Pr 1:23)

I have been pondering the connection between repentance (or turning) and being filled with the Holy Spirit. I like the word "turning" for repentance. Repentance is more than just being sorry, it is more than even resolving to not do something again. It is a turning around from going one way to go a completely different way. It is proactive and not passive, it is positive and not negative. It involves the presence of a new direction and not just the absence of the old.

The way Jesus described repentance was radical, it involved words like, "If your right eye causes you to sin gouge it out and throw it away!" It is not just putting a sticky plaster over our sin, but laying an axe to the root of the tree. It's not just dealing with it as a one-off either - "gouge out the source of the sin", but make sure it doesn't come back - "throw it away!"

Paul has an equally radical approach: "Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them... when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light." Sin delights to hide in secret. It's enticing lie is, "no one will know". It is a creature of the darkness. The best way to deal with it is to turn the light on - to allow no secret place for it to hide. To make yourself open and accountable.

Repentance then is a turning from anything that is darkness and making active progress down the path that is light. The best way to repent is not to beat yourself up for what you did in the past, but to press ahead to lay hold of what Christ has for you in the future. It is not just a one off response to the Lord when we get saved, but an ongoing adjustment we make whenever we see anything that does not measure up when we look in the mirror that is the word.

And what is God's response to genuine repentance?... a fresh outpouring of his Holy Spirit!

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. (Ac 3:19-21)