Every human is born a cannibal. Our flesh has a ravenous need to sustain itself, and to survive it must selfishly feed upon those around it, gaining for itself what it can. In this world, it’s survival of the fittest. Not only do we want to survive, we want to thrive, and to do so we have to be the biggest, the brightest, and the strongest. So we consume those around us in an attempt to meet our needs, eliminate competition, and grow. Sometimes, it seems harmless enough. We gossip a little bit to feel better about ourselves. We get upset when people don't meet our expectations or give us what we want. We let our parents take care of all the chores, while we play video games or hang out with friends (I mean, it’s their job, right?). Even 'love' can be a form of cannibalism. The highs of infatuation make us feel good, important, and valued, but they are often sought selfishly. Many of us are in parasitic relationships, scarcely aware that we will ultimately suck one another dry. Cannibalism is our native condition, and it is destroying us.
One day, however, a Man appeared on the earth who, rather than joining in the cannibalism and feeding upon those around him said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” He offered himself as a sacrifice to the world – the whole world. Hard to believe there was enough to go around? One who can make 5 loaves and 2 fish satisfy 5,000 people is clearly capable of meeting the demand. What an amazing thing that Christ would come and give up his life in this way. Though this analogy is gruesome, it is an accurate representation of the atrocity of our sin. It was our sin that tore into his flesh. It was because of our sin that he was “swallowed up” by the grave. We had a great need, yes – a void left by sin. And in our twistedness we found satiation in consuming one another. But we are now free from exploiting our neighbors! Galatians 5:13-15 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Rather than constantly taking, we are now able to meet OTHERS' needs in love, because we have been given a new source of food – a source that lasts indefinitely, if we would only remember to refuse the flesh and eat of this spiritual food. Communion - a ceremony in which we partake of Christ's body together - is a reminder of salvation from our savage ways (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Through it we are broken by the gravity of our abominations, yet through it we also find cause to rejoice. The Great Paradox is that in his victimhood, Christ became our conquering Savior, defeating death and setting us free from our native, cannibal condition.