Consuming the Bread of Life

Today I preached from John 6, specifically verses 22-58. It is a wonderful text and one that is truly vital for, I think every believer in Jesus, and certainly me. It has been an encouragement in my walk and pursuit of Christ.

The text has a confounding bit mixed in with some amazing theological encouragements. The declaration that the Father gives those that believe in Jesus to the Son and those that come to him will never be cast out. What grace, what joy to be included in this number.

The confounding piece though is that Jesus tells the crowd that is seeking after him that they need to eat him, consume his flesh, drink his blood.

Now the crowd did have some mixed motives for tracking Jesus down and attempting to force him to give them miraculous food. Just the day before he fed more than 5,000 and they sought more free lunches. But they were after temporary things and Jesus was set to provide something permanent and satisfying. Himself.

So he says that he is the Bread of Life. He is the sustenance, the provision, the life-giving portion for those that believe.

For those that reject Christ, this is a good place to throw a punch. The Savior claims you have to dine on him.

Of course when we have a fuller view of what took place during Holy Week, the death on the cross as foretold and the resurrection, we gain an understanding of what Jesus meant. That he must be seen, trusted, and pursued as the only thing, One that satisfies. That meets the internal desire for more. And that trust is in his body broken for us and blood shed to cover our sin and disregard of our creator.

This is then what we consume. A steady and daily diet of reminder of what Jesus accomplished for us. That we have been forgiven and called to life in him. That what aches in us is only satisfied in him.

As we head into Holy Week (the days leading up to the celebration of Resurrection Sunday) perhaps John 6 is a good place to linger. To meditate on Christ’s words and his promise. That we would consume the Bread of Life.

Generosity Exemplified

Today I wrap up a preaching series on the awkward things of Christianity and being part of the church. This sermon was on generosity.

Of course through our study these last weeks we have seen a number of examples of generosity formed by the grace of Christ. Oh may the Lord make us generous! Here are some of them that didn’t make it into what was preached.


In this series, we have met some characters that live it out. Zaccheaus gives over most of his wealth because of his encounter with Jesus. His whole purpose of life changes… to restore what was broken through generosity. “Zacchaeus’ giving is not an entrance requirement or necessary model of our own application of the gospel. But it is a model of the proper and natural response to God’s saving grace toward us. Grace frees us to give freely and boldly as we trust in God to meet all our needs (Matt. 6:25-34).” – Gospel Transformation Bible

Or the call girl that weeps at Jesus’ feet, how she spends all of herself for her glory. Her money, the jar of ointment, and he identity, everything extravagantly at his feet.

We see other stories… of the woman giving pennies out of her desperation more honored than the rich… Luke 21:3–4 “And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. [4] For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (ESV)

We hear what the kingdom is like – Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (ESV)

In his joy – cheerfully giving everything else up for what was truly of value. This is counter-cultural, this can make us uncomfortable… but it is so good.

Corruption Points to Importance

Last weekend I attended the Valued Conference dedicated to the topic of sexual abuse and the church’s response to it in this cultural moment. There was much at the conference that was stirring and vital for leaders and the church as a whole.

They have posted video of the whole conference online and I commend it to you.

What struck me significantly during one talk leads me to reflect a bit more today. I can’t remember for certain who said it, but a speaker mentioned that the devil was at work spoiling or corrupting those areas in which there is the most revealed of the goodness of God, really things meant to glorify Jesus and his gospel.

Things so important, they are painting a picture of the glory of God, that Satan attempts to ruin them.

This was first in the context of sex. A beautiful and wonderful thing rightly expressed and experienced (from a biblical worldview in the context of a one man one woman marriage). The act of fully giving oneself over to the other. Sacrifice. Wholeness. Pleasure.

A God who gives himself fully over for us. Not seeking his own privilege but serving those he created.

Of course then Satan wants to corrupt this gift. He does it by attacking expression, direction, identity and other areas extending from it. He perverts and extorts the gift to sully it, to leave us at a loss, violated, hurt, torn covenants by the dozen. All so that we would miss the glory beyond the gift, what it is meant to point to.

But sex is not the exclusive territory under attack.

Authority, the benevolent and good-seeking kind. That serves, that wields power for those without it, that looks to help others rise. Satan taints it with domination, harshness, abuse and misuse.

The Miraculous. The spiritual work of the Holy Spirit in our world that gives a glimpse into the renewed world, restored life. But Satan inspires swindlers peddling snake oil, tempting even those that believe in the miraculous to look the other way rather than genuinely see the giver of tremendous gifts.

Even Fatherhood, meant to express God’s fatherly care for all of creation and especially humanity. That we could be loved this much. So Satan schemes to corrupt our view of fatherhood with destroyed images of harm over care, absence over involvement.

The list could go on couldn’t it? So much of life meant to point to the giver of life and it is attacked and corrupted to tarnish glory.

But God will not be robbed of glory. The gospel, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are proof of that. That every story is being redeemed, restored back eventually to what we were created for.

As I go then through life I am determining to recognize the corruption for what it is attempting to cover. The importance of God’s love for us. The beauty of his creation and the experience of his grace even in a world groaning for our true home.

Will you join me in working for redemption? Finding those areas of attempted corruption and in prayer and pursuit of justice turning them over to the Lord, for renewal, for his glory.

Let’s see the important things for what they are, glimpses of glory.

A Hermeneutic for All of Life

An article from Sam Storms on seeing Jesus in all of Scripture has me thinking about how we view all of life. How we interpret the events around us and on the global stage. What is our hermeneutic?


her·me·neu·tic
/hərmən(y)oodik/ adjective

1.concerning interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.

http://www.dictionary.com

A hermeneutic is our method and theory of interpretation. And while Storms was reviewing Scripture to encourage interpreting the Bible as pointing to Christ, there is actually more we can see as pointing to Jesus – all of life.

Here is the text in question (one of them anyway): Colossians 1:15–17

Jesus “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (ESV)

Storms them writes that by saying “for him” Paul is indicating that “Jesus Christ is the purpose of everything exists.”

Now I am familiar with this text and I have always thought of all things being for Jesus concerning his glory, that he would reign over them. But it goes further.

Think about that. Sure there are some sticky implications to that statement, but none prevents it from being true. Just like every Scripture in the Bible, everything of creation is meant to point to Jesus.

It may be to reveal the need for a savior. To show the beauty of his creative power. To proclaim his arrival, life, death, and resurrection. To highlight the miracle of belief and what a life transformed by grace looks like. To call us back to him when we run off to lesser gods.

Jesus as a banner over all things to make himself known. That people would believe.

Every encounter, every run-in, every mellow moment, every anxious interview, and everything in between. It is all for Jesus – about him, pointing to him, for his glory.

What a radical way to view all of life. And I think it is right. I want to spend more time interpreting life in light of Jesus. Will you join me?