Sunday I’m going to hang out with some friends in a Bible study class at FBC Nasvhille. They invited me to come as a guest teacher because they’ve walked through both the Bible studies I wrote. Funny enough, they still like me.
So I think we’re going to talk through another Tough Saying of Jesus, this one from John 6. In that passage, Jesus said some very strange things: “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.”
Wow. I wonder how that must have sounded to a bunch of people whose religious life absolutely prohibited the eating of any sort of meat with the blood still in it, since they considered something like that to be absolutely unclean?
Sounds weird to me, too, but I do have to admit that God seems a little obsessed about eating in general. In order to mark important occasions for His people in the Old Testament, He commanded meals. Eating was the symbol of true community in the New Testament. And what was one of the things that Jesus commanded that we do until He returns? Eat at His table, the table of communion.
So what’s the deal with eating? It seems impossible to escape the fact that eating and drinking are very spiritual things to God. Though the answer is incomplete, I think part of the significance comes from the fact that eating and drinking are our necessities. We eat and drink to live. It’s nourishment. Is there really a more appropriate time to acknowledge how much we really need God?
And is it any coincidence that just before Jesus said we had to eat His flesh and drink His blood that He called Himself the Bread of Life? It’s as if Jesus is saying that to have true life, you must feast on me. Take me into your vital systems. I am the nourishment you really need.
Too bad eating for us is about grabbing a burger for lunch and packing it away as quickly as possible. Maybe we should slow down a little bit and grasp some of the significance of what’s happening. What am I nourishing myself with? Am I grasping the spiritual significance of that simple act?