In coming to 1 Corinthians 11, one feels that the Lord Jesus is presented there in such a way as to gain lovers of Christ, to secure now on the earth, lovers of Christ. I think we’ll agree that there is nothing like the Supper to gain lovers of Christ. Paul, about to speak to the saints at Corinth of that blessed institution, says, “The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed.” That same night, the night, if any, that might have turned His thoughts from His own, that same night He took bread, “And when He had given thanks, He brake it and said, Take, eat, this is My body, which is given for you.” As the Lord speaks to us in the Supper, our affections are moved, are renewed. I believe the affections of the saints grow through the Supper, as He speaks of His love in such a wondrous way. In Exodus 21, we have the instance of the Hebrew servant. After six years’ service he could go free. If he came in by himself, he should go out by himself. If he brought a wife in with him, she should go out with him. As the margin reads, if he came in with his body, he shall go out with his body. But if he shall say, “I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go out free,” then his master will bring him to the judges, they will bore his ear with an awl at the doorpost, and he shall serve him for ever. You can understand, dear friends, that as the Hebrew servant would be gathered from time to time with his wife and children, they would look often at that mark in his ear. Their hearts would be moved. They would understand he had had the opportunity and the right to go out free, but he loved them. “I love my master, my wife, and my children.” Dear friends, I think that’s what the Lord Jesus says to us in the Supper. He says, “This is My body.” It was the body prepared for Him, and which He need never have given up. He had never forfeited the right to live, and as Christians our bodies are the Lord’s. “This is My body.” He could have taken it with Him. He came in with His body, in the words of the type, and He could have gone out with His body as far as His personal title was concerned, but in the Supper He says plainly, “I will not go free.” The apostle says, “The Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, … said This Is My body.” The apostle’s whole heart goes out with his words. “The Lord Jesus, the same night.” “This is My body, which is given for you.” I’m sure, dear brethren, that the Lord is using the Supper to create on this earth myriads of lovers of Christ, who are thus made into suitable material for that structure which is growing into an holy habitation for the Lord.
Just a few words as to Acts 7. Here we have a different point of view. We see Stephen about to depart from this world. Here we are not thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Great Shepherd, nor of the Supper. But we find a man who says, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God.” He looked up into the heavens. The heavens are spoken of in Scripture as a curtain which hides from the natural eye the other side, the dwelling-place of God. Oh, think of that dwelling-place in the heavens! But Stephen saw the heavens opened. He saw the glory of God and Jesus. He saw in the Person of Jesus, all the glory of God shining for him, and his heart was enchanted. He was so taken up with the wondrous vision that, though the stones were flying, he was outside of it all, and knelt down and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” As he looked at that wondrous scene, his heart beheld Christ, and he said “Lord Jesus.” He is another example of a man like Hiram. He went out of this world governed by the spirit of that world. He went up from the wilderness leaning on his Beloved, leaning upon Christ, and he said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” He thus qualified to become material for God’s dwelling-place. What excellent material! It is not lost. It has gone into that wonderful structure that will come into display for the glory of God and the great blessing of man. So Stephen has gone there. He was ever a lover of Christ.