THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS
Jesus’ words about the Holy Communion, recorded in the three Gospels, put beyond any shadow of doubt that the bread and cup are truly His body and His blood (Mt 26:26–29; Mk 14:22–24; Lk 22:19–20). Paul confirmed that he directly received the teachings on the Holy Communion from the Lord (1 Cor 11:23). What he shared with the church in Corinth was basically a reiteration of Christ’s teachings on the Holy Communion (1 Cor 11:24–25). Hence, the words of Christ and the teaching of Paul were completely consistent with one another.
In other words, it was never a problem for the Gospel writers and the apostles to understand exactly what Jesus taught. However, after the turn of the first century, especially after the demise of all the apostles, the church began to have deep problems understanding the truth on the Holy Communion. With the departure of the Spirit from the church, different schools of thoughts rapidly sprang up, producing complex explanations, which obscured the essence of the Lord’s teachings. These varying concepts include Transubstantiation and Consubstantiation.
Transubstantiation, a concept used in Roman Catholic theology, is the change of “bread and wine,” in substance, into the flesh and blood of Christ, even though the elements appear to remain the same. Consubstantiation was the concept developed by Martin Luther who believed that Christ's body and blood are truly present "in, with, and under" the bread and wine. However, the elements do not actually change into Christ's body and blood.
So, how do we explain the mystery of the Holy Communion? Physically and visibly, the bread and cup (juice) remain unchanged after the consecration. But in the Spirit, the bread and juice are respectively the body and the blood of Jesus. The key difference between the True Jesus Church’s view and those of others stems from the understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The word that I speak to you is “Spirit and life” (Jn 6:63). In the True Jesus Church’s view, it is the Spirit that makes the difference—without the presence of the Spirit, no transformation would occur; and it is in the Spirit, that these ordinary elements become the body and blood of Christ.
When we believe and follow exactly what the Bible teaches, we allow the Spirit to work; He thus gives us spiritual life through our physical participation in the Holy Communion. This can be further explained by using the example of baptism. During baptism, the water remains physically as water. However, with the presence of the Holy Spirit, when the baptismal mode is adhered to, blood in the water is availed for the forgiveness of sins. It is the abiding presence of the Spirit that transforms sacraments, achieving the necessary spiritual effects when these sacraments are performed physically in strict adherence to the teachings of the Bible.