A Gift from the Father

 

1 Kings 8:1-43

Psalm 84

Ephesians 6:10-20

John 6:56-69

 

Many of Jesus’ followers could not understand the idea of eating his flesh. Even if we take it as a metaphor, the image was too appalling.

Chapter 6 is loaded. Bread is the theme. In all of this, verse 65b is a key. This is why I told you earlier that no one is capable of coming to me on his own. You get to me only as a gift from the FatherMSG

Mercy is the gift. It comes from God, not Jesus. Jesus is what God would be if he could be human. God is God, One and Only. Jesus is a flesh-and-blood human who obeyed God every day without fail. The Messiah—God’s representative on earth—existed before Creation. Think of the Messiah as that part of God which serves as the blueprint for humans.

Yet, that is too limiting. The Messiah is the blueprint for the countless stars, planets, rocks, trees, grass, and animals of the universe. God created all of it in the image of the Messiah. When the time was right, the Messiah was born to a human body.

But his essence was God. It is easiest for us to call Jesus the Son of God because that is the closest human connection in our experiences.

When John sat down in his later years, possibly as the last surviving Apostle, to write his version of the Life of Christ, he returned to Genesis. For John, it is crucial that we understand Jesus has always existed. Even before the creation, Jesus existed.

But notice, In beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and God was the WordUnited Bible Society interlinear translation The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the WordMSG At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginningPhillips

 

For John, God speaks, and all we see comes into existence. The Word is all God needs to create a universe. God speaks to a teenage girl, and she carries a child. He speaks, and the child is named Yeshua—Jesus. When Yeshua speaks, he speaks the Word of God because he is the Word of God.

 

Chapter 1, verse 4: In him appeared life and this life was the light of mankindPhillips This short line is so often overlooked, and so powerful. It is John’s thesis statement. Jesus is the Light, and he is the Life. He uses both terms more than the other gospels, especially Life.

Jesus is Life. Bread is life. To have life we must eat Jesus.

We know that the body of Jesus is gone. John does not record the ascension, so we will look at Luke 24:51. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heavenESV We cannot eat his body in the physical sense, but that is not what he meant anyway. As William Barclay put it: When he told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, he was telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds on his humanity, and to revitalize our lives with his life until we are filled with the life of God.

For John, it seems we eat and drink the Holy Eucharist when we sit with other people and share a part of our selves with them. Jesus did that at the beginning of chapter 6.

By the time John wrote, the Eucharist was being celebrated in many ways by Jews, Greeks, and a UN of others. For John, it must be about Life. How we eat and drink is not the important point. Eat the bread that is the Word of God. Drink the wine that is the Life of the Word of God.

Bless and be blessed.

Read my earlier comments on this theme here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

I Am the Bread of Life

 

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a

Psalm 51:1-13

Ephesians 4:1-16

John 6:24-35

 

In my comments HERE about David’s sin with Bathsheba, I pointed out that his sins deserved the death penalty. But God forgave the sin. Think about what that means for us. David repented and received the Bread of Life a thousand years before Jesus walked the earth.

What is the Bread of Life?

It is manna from Heaven. It is the power of God to defeat death. It is nothing less than God’s essence.

Most Christians do not knowingly sin most of the time. We tend to sin while we are doing our “good works.” We do those works even when we don’t want to. We do them when there is some fun attached. When a church forms a workgroup to repair storm damage, we want to know who else is going and what else we might get to do. Is there a splash mountain nearby? Is Sally going?

We fail to consider what our good works do to the recipients. If I give a dollar to a beggar on the street, does that encourage him to beg instead of looking for work? If I don’t give him a dollar, will he go hungry? The truth is, I cannot know. I may be sinning either way. Only God knows the beggar’s condition.

God also knows my thinking as I see the beggar. “Why doesn’t the bum get a job?” Or, “I think Jesus would give him a dollar, so I’d better do it.” Neither is the Jesus way.

Jesus was so open to God that he knew what a person needed at first sight. To follow in his way is to seek to understand the person in need. That takes time, unlike for Jesus.

I am the bread which is life! CJB Jesus used this image several times, most notably in John 4:13-14. Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. For my gift will become a spring in the man himself, welling up into eternal life.” Phillips

Jesus had one mission as a human; to give us the lives we could never have on our own. There is nothing I can do to avoid death. Think about it: we all stink of death. That is why the perfume industry rakes in $39 billion every year. Our bodies struggle to remain alive, and the fight begins in the womb and ends at the grave.

Jesus’ body was no exception. Like his mother, he was dying—and did die. But from his Father, he had eternal life. That is what he wants us to have. That is what he promised. I am the bread; I am the water.

So, what do I give the beggar? I’m not likely to do what Peter and John did in Acts 3:1-6 when a beggar who could not walk asked them for something. If you are expecting silver or gold,” Peter said to him, “I have neither, but what I have I will certainly give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk! Phillips

The account in Acts does suggest what I can do. My wife and I are retired public school teachers, yet our retirement income places us in the top 2% of the world’s population. Unlike Peter, we have money—not Bill Gates money, but enough to buy more than a thousand mosquito nets or feed a dozen starving children every year. Like Peter, I would give them what they need, and like Jesus, I would give them a better chance to believe in the one hope for eternal life.

Believe in Jesus.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence