Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood

No...it's not the newest title in the Twilight series or some new horror movie. It's part of this week's text from John 6:51-58. Here is a piece of that passage-

"I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."

These words of Jesus caused a little bit of controversy over the years. First, the Law of Moses prohibited anyone from drinking the blood of anything, let alone the blood of another person (Lev. 17:14, Deut. 12:23). Romans misinterpreted Christian language surrounding the Eucharist "eating the body and blood of the Lord." They thought that Christians were cannibals and this caused the early church much persecution in the Romans Empire.

Jesus, throughout chapter 6, is using this motiff of bread to point to God's gift of eternal life. Just as God gave Moses manna from heaven, God has sent the bread of heaven to earth (John 6:33). Jesus declares, "I am the Bread of Life" in vs. 35. Just as life is obtained by eating physical food, eternal life is obtained by "eating" the flesh and blood of Jesus. This is a graphic way of explaining that we must take Christ into our inner most being since Jesus is the source of life.

How are we fed by God? How do we encounter God in a way that won't diminish before our next meal?

We live in a society that demands instant gratification and quick results. We love our microwave ovens, our fast-food restaraunts, and text messaging. We want a diet that will work in 8 easy steps, or better yet, 4 steps! Magazines tells us how to ______________ (lose weight, have better sex, get washboard abs, etc) in _____ (insert number) steps. Yet, in the Bible, there are no 5 step processes to spiritual growth. Jesus says in John 6:56,

"Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him."

This sounds familier to John 15:5...

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches ar epicked up, thrown into the fires and burned."

Both verses in John talked about remaining in Jesus and remaining in the Vine (God). Spiritual growth, allowing God to feed us isn't so much about what we do, but our proximity to God. How do we "remain" in God's presence? How do we get close enough to Christ to "eat" his flesh and blood? How do we linger in the Spirit's presence?

How are you fed by God? What ways have you found to linger in God's presence? To feast in His presence? Talk it out in the comments!

2 comments:

The LaMotte's said...

An interesting post in Dan Kimball's blog about being self-feeders when it comes to our faith...we should not rely on the church/pastor/bible study leader to feed us. It relates to this idea of remaining. Check out http://tinyurl.com/pt7tzh

B.J. and Rachel Whitaker said...

What interests me about this passage is the depth it adds to the sacrament of Holy Communion. It seems to bring a layer of meaning that isn't often there in our more evangelical practice of just remembering what Jesus did on the cross for us. It's an act of recognizing our profound dependence on Jesus, His real presence with us, and our need for Him to be an intimate part of our being, as we eat the bread and drink the wine and they become a part of us. I don't know if that's helpful, but just a few thoughts I have on the passage. Hope you're doing well!