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.

The Full Weight of Us

Today is Good. That is what we call it. Not because in some places we get the day off. Or because it represents the last Friday you can’t eat meat…(what is that about anyway!) And not because it is the first Friday of Spring this year. It is the day we reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. For some a historical figure. For some, Savior.

For those of us who claim him as Savior, this day is good because it was the burden we carried that was shouldered by Jesus before a council of the religious and a judgment of the oppressors. His death sentence was something we earned for sin and corruption since that early day in the garden when our first parents chose disobedience and since the earliest days of our own lives when we lived out our inherited sinfulness.

And upon that cross it all was lifted. He who knew no sin became sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus hung on the cross with the full weight of us bearing down on him. The pain. The mocking. And the abandonment he experience from the Father who had turned away his face from the One who had become sin for us. An eternal relationship, severed.

I see the weight of all of that every day I look in the mirror. Every moment when I view my need and sinfulness rightly. The filth of my condemnation before Christ. We can take it for granted, what forgiveness costed. But it is days like this one that we call good when we can reflect anew on the self-seeking wretchedness of me and you that Jesus willingly took on to solve the problem of sin and reconcile a people to himself.

Darkness fell that day. All of creation witnessed to the separation taking place. How could there be light at a time like this. Heavy. Painful. Effective. Then the declaration with a loud, death-shattering voice, “It is finished!”

And it was. For you. Once for all. Jesus’ life for yours. His blood for your covering. His record for your righteousness.

This is what is good. Live in this goodness today.

Few Minutes of Fantastic News Episode 28

This is Holy Week, working our way through the comemoration of Jesus’ final days of ministry and death on the cross, and the celebration of his resurrection. Psalm 22 gives us a glimpse of the pain of the cross but also the praise that comes after it. Let’s tap into that today.

[ audio https://s3-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/fmfn/Fmfn+episode+28.mp3 ]

Listen here.

Controlled by Love

“The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died.” 2 Corinthians 5:14

“The desire to change isn’t exclusively Christian. Everyone, Christina and non-Christian alike, wants to change. That’s why bookstores are filled with self-help books and meeting halls are filled with people trying to overcome addictions to everything from gambling to pornography to shopping. Everyone wants to get better, to approve of herself, to have the respect of others, to be mentally “healthy,” to keep her family together, to learn to be productive. Christians don’t usually say, “I want to approve of my record.” Instead they say things like “I want to feel good about myself,” or “I know that this weakness of mine doesn’t please God, and I’m so embarrassed.” But there’s a problem here for us: self-improvement isn’t a Christian construct; death and resurrection are.”

“God isn’t interested in self-improvement regiments. He isn’t impressed by our resolutions to do better, to get those devotions in, pass out tracts, cut down on our online time by fifteen minutes every day, or fast from shopping channels during Lent. In fact, he isn’t impressed with us at all. He’s impressed by his Son. He’s impressed with the perfect life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus the Christ, his beloved Son. He’s impressed with his love… Here’s the crux of the matter: you shouldn’t hope to be impressed with yourself…”

“We who live in Christ are no longer to live for ourselves, not even for our good record, our family’s approval, or our clean conscience. We are to live for him who for our “sake died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15).

Lenten devotion from Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick. Day 27.