John 6:51-58 While physical food alleviates the hunger of the body, spiritual food alleviates the hunger of the soul
John 6:51-58 While physical food alleviates the hunger of the body, spiritual food alleviates the hunger of the soul
51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” 52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.
After Jesus fed the 5000 people with a miraculous multiplication of bread, they ran after Him for more bread. Jesus redirected them to His flesh and blood that are able to give them eternal life. He shifted their attention from the cares of life to living the Christ-like life (eternal life). Christ’s flesh and blood although abhorrent, imparts into men the grace to live life to the full. Today’s devotions teaches us: While physical food alleviates the hunger of the body, spiritual food alleviates the hunger of the soul.
I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.
Jesus contrasted Himself, the bread of life with the manna (food) that their fathers ate in the wilderness. The entire generation of Israelites who dwelt in the wilderness fed on manna, and yet they died. Here, Jesus did not refer to physical death but rather spiritual death. For “the food of heaven… the bread of the angels” (see Psalm 78:24) could not remove their sinful nature. In fact, they became gluttons having no regard for God or His precepts: While their food was in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them and killed some of the stoutest ones (Psalm 78:30-31). Notwithstanding that all who ate the heavenly manna experience a physical death. But more pertinently, they experience an eternal death because of their disobedience and unbelief. Their souls are forever imprisoned in the depths of hell and never to rise again.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.
The words that Jesus said were beyond controversial for nothing was more grotesque than saying, “and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” And Jesus went on to say, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.” Blood of animals was prohibited by law as drink let alone drinking the blood of a human being. They knew that Jesus was not speaking literally. Jesus’s words was meant to establish the conditions for eternal life: to enter into covenant with Him and to suffer with Him for the course of the gospel.
Jesus’s demands were considered as abhorrent and unacceptable to the people as cannibalism. For them, eating human flesh and drinking human blood was objectionable as repentance and living a life of truth. But if they were willing to do what was instructed of them, they would have received eternal life not only on earth, but a resurrection life in heaven: and I will raise him up on the last day.
For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.
Jesus used the word “true” to denote the quality of a Christ-like life. Hence, true food and true drink are an impartation of grace for eternal life; a Christ-like life. Jesus employed the word “true riches” in Luke 16:11 to denote heavenly and eternal riches as opposed to material wealth. Jesus’s flesh and blood (true food and true drink) contains the transferable qualities of the Christ’s kind of life.
When Jesus spoke of eating His flesh, He alluded to the notion of suffering with Him for the course of the gospel. Hours before Jesus was arrested, He ate the Passover supper with them saying, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (see Luke 22:15). Here, He broke bread saying “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (See Luke 22:19). The broken bread symbolises Jesus’s body crushed for the sins of the world. Eating the broken bread identifies the believer’s life with Christ’s suffering, thus strengthening him with grace for the narrow path. At the same time, it reminds the believer of the resurrection body that he will be receiving on that day: I will raise him up on the last day.
Drinking Christ’s blood symbolises the covenant that He makes with believers: “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (see Luke 22:20). The blood covenant of oneness with Christ results in His Spirit indwelling and regenerating us towards His likeness and perfection. The blood covenant empowers us with Christ’s own authority to destroy the devil’s work. The blood covenant protects us from the devil’s attacks keeping us on the narrow path.
By eating His flesh, we make the commitment to suffer with Jesus so as to be resurrected with Him on that day. By drinking His blood, we become one with Christ depend on His indwelling Spirit that regenerates, empowers and protects us from all evil.
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.
The Son depended on the Father for His own well-being as well as divine enablement for everything He does. Hence, the Son who depends on the Father has authority to impart life to all who believe in Him. In a nutshell, the eternal life of the Father is translated to us through the Son.
No matter what people do to us, we are not to give up on them.
We must not give up even when people are ungrateful and unfaithful towards us.
The broken bread signifies Jesus’s resolve to not give up on sinners but to forgive them by yielding His life on the cross. The moment at the cross presents an occasion for His persecutors to be wiped out (as the Law requires) because they crucified a righteous man. As God was about to punish the people (according to the stipulations of the Law), Jesus called on the Father to forgive them so that they might live to repent of their sins. However, the preservation of the persecutors also meant certain death for Jesus. The broken bread signifies perfect love and forgiveness as demonstrated by Jesus. For He chose to die so that the people may receive a second chance at eternal life.
The broken bread was often misinterpreted by the churches at large. The broken bread does not pertain to our forgiveness, but our attitude of forgiveness towards our persecutors. As Jesus suffered to bring salvation to sinners by never giving up on them, so we should do the same. Even if people forsake us, we must endeavour to forgive and be willing to lend a helping hand when they are in need. We must not let unfaithful and ungrateful people erode our attitude towards humanity at large. For many will repent of their unfaithful ways because of your perseverance.
We are not to give up proclaiming new revelations that concerns Christ.
The broken bread also signifies Jesus’s relentless determination to bring fresh revelations of heaven to the earth. Jesus’s persecutions were for a large part attributed to His controversial teachings. Jesus faced fierce oppositions from mainstream religious institutions that harped on established traditional tenets as opposed to the progressive revelations of Christ. The true disciples of Christ will progress in divine wisdom through heavenly visions and the angels. Make no mistake about it, as Christ and Paul were persecuted for their revelations, we too will face them. As we eat the broken bread, we continue to receive new revelations and develop them to maturity as Christ did.
No matter how dire our circumstances may be, all things are possible with God.
The blood covenant of Christ makes the impossible possible. The hindrances that stand against mankind that deprive man of the eternal life is forever broken by the blood of Christ. Therefore, we must use the blood of Christ to disable the attacks of the devil. The blood covenant is a perpetual covenant that is effective even to this day and forever. We invoke the blood by wielding it like a sword or a gun. Many erroneously supposed that Christ’s blood covenant has summarily destroyed the devil and he can no longer attack us. Like any weapon that must be used repeatedly until we destroy the enemy, we must invoke the blood persistently.
The attacks of the devil include the following:
- Temptations of bodily lust in the form of sexual perversion through pornography.
- Temptations of hatred, anger and vengeance that changes our attitude towards people.
- Demonic thoughts of fear and anxieties that take away our peace distracting us from the tasks at hand.
- Temptations of worldliness that draws our desires towards glamour and material possessions.
- Temptations of selfishness that depletes our love for God and for others.
While physical food alleviates the hunger of the body, spiritual food alleviates the hunger of the soul.
People are empathetic to hunger of the body, but apathetic to the hunger of the soul. For most, their bodies may be alive, but their souls or spirits are dead. Hence, many do not feel hunger in their spirit. Dead spirits have no joy, love, peace and righteousness of God. Physical food and material wealth gives comfort to the body, but can never impart comfort to one’s spirit.
Many churchgoers were trapped in the pursuit of earthly blessings. They want spiritual abundance and yet could not let go of their love of the world. They go through Christian life thinking that they could have both. But Jesus said,
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – Matthew 6:24
Therefore, believers should not worry about material security: “as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on… for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself…” – Matthew 6:25, 32-34
For most, life centred on the Spirit as required by eating and drinking Jesus’s flesh and blood is repulsive. They attend weekly church services consuming Jesus’s bread and blood but not digesting them. They are like those who have Bulimia Nervosa who eat food in a short amount of time followed by purging. And their bodies like their souls remain deprived as before.
Digesting the spiritual food of Christ requires more rigor than physical food. Eating and digesting the bread of life is not as easy and natural as eating physical bread. It requires discipline and hours of study to understand what was written centuries ago. It requires deep soul searching in order to decipher the Spirit’s voice as He speaks into our life. It requires the putting down of our idiosyncrasies, pet philosophy, and pride. It requires us to be held accountable towards others so that they can help facilitate our transformation. Digesting the flesh and blood of Christ is rigorous and leaving our comfort zone is excruciating. Many churchgoers prefer to focus on teachings that concern forgiveness of sin, problem solving and acquisition of more wealth. They suppose personal sanctification is irrelevant, a boring endeavour that leads to nowhere. Many church pastors encouraged this philosophy by parading their own “blessedness” as possessing a large congregation and being wealthy. This was precisely what Jesus was alluding to when He asked them to eat and drink His flesh and blood. In one day, Jesus’s “church” shrunk from 5000 people down to 12.
The more we eat of Christ’s flesh, the more we grow in love and perseverance. The more we drink of Christ’s blood, the more we grow in power and purity to do things far beyond our natural abilities. The integration of Christ’s attributes into our being must be followed up with perseverance in our current endeavours. The flesh and blood of Christ when consumed regularly and conscientiously will increase our abilities and favour to live life to the full.
Are you accustomed to worrying over family, livelihood problems? One who consumes Christ’s flesh and blood does not worry over these things as he puts his trust in God. Try shifting your focus from problem solving to gathering wisdom through bible study. By starting the day reading the Bible and seeking God’s wisdom and directives, you will find your problems solved along the way. Proverbs 3:5-6 says,
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Are you discouraged because the people whom you served left you at your time of need? Are you despaired because people whom you respected rejected your biblical convictions and revelations? Continue to study the word and associate with people who pursue Christ as opposed to knowledge.
Dear Lord, help me to understand your word when I read them. Cause me to forgive and to never give up on people. Help me see people as Christ sees them. Impart to me divine wisdom, love and authority so that I may overcome the temptations and challenges of life. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.