Summary: The strength to live the Christian Life, comes from the nourishment of our faith, as we share in the Lord’s Body and Blood...
How can He?
John 6:51-58 Prov 9 :1-6 Eph 5:15-20
† In the Name of Jesus †
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and our risen Lord Jesus Christ!
Picture, A bird feeding its young
The video camera pans across the side of a mountain, following a soaring eagle as it hunts for its pray. Suddenly, it dives down into the valley, having spotted its prey. It takes its time, efficiently taking its kill and preparing it.
The camera now fades away, and another camera’s picture becomes visible. This time, the focal point is the side of the mountain, and the camera zooms in, till we see a nest made of twigs, and leaves. A head pops out, a ugly little head, more beak than anything, and soon it is joined by 2 others – beaks pointed nearly straight up, as they yap, and fight for position.
The eagle, returning with part of the pray, already chewed, and prepared for the baby birds’ stomachs, comes, and feeds the young ones. They eagerly await the food and fight over who gets to eat first, taking the very sustenance they need, from the mouth of their parent. Even though we watch such scenes over and over, played out in a thousand different documentaries, they always touch us. They literally receive all the need for life, from the one who cares for them, the one that brought them into the world.
As I look at how our Lord promises, in today’s gospel, to feed us, to quench our thirst, the picture of the eagle feeding its children strikes home. For we are not so different, in our needs, and in our relationship to our God. We depend upon Him, for that which we need to live, the food and drink that will truly sustain us. From He who has given us life, we find the things necessary to live that life. Indeed, we find that life, in Him, is so much more.
For the food He gives, is nourishment indeed, for it is His body.
And the drink He gives, is satisfying indeed, for it is, His blood.
1. Something to chew on!
a. How can He ?
b. The struggle to understand?
c. Christianity without the cross?
d. Another struggle – dependence!
e. Let’s take small steps!
When a pastor prepares a sermon on the Gospel, it is advised that he put himself in the shoes of those who heard the words of the scripture for the very first time. To realize what they heard, and how they would hear it. It is not always easy, for we indeed project that which we know into the text. For example, it is hard to separate today’s gospel reading, about the Body and Blood to be eaten and drank, from what we know.
For example, reading today’s gospel, how can one not think of the Lord’s Supper, where we do eat and drink the body and blood of our Lord and Savior. Or how can not one see the image of the cross, where that Body was given, that we might live, and the blood was spilt, that our sins would be forever removed from us?
Take the Cross, and the Supper, away from the understanding of the hearers, and we being to see their questions, and their struggle. “How can he give us His body and Blood?” What does this mean? How, can becoming a cannibal give us eternal life? Is this a literal thing, or if it is figurative, another one of His parables, what’s the key to “getting” it?
Like many of the things that Jesus taught the apostles, the true meaning cannot be understood at the time He said it. A great example, for it bears on today’s gospel, is found in Mark,
Mark 9:31-32 (ESV) 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise." 32 But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Afraid to ask? I think it would be equally so. I mean, can you imagine Peter, looking down at his fisherman’s knife, asking Jesus, “Uhm Lord, are you sure, uhh, what part do I start with, a leg?” It may seem a bit coarse or crude, but I can see those thoughts going through Peter’s mind!
The figurative meaning, is perhaps a less coarse to take, but it still makes the people uneasy. For the only thing it could mean, is like my opening illustration. That Jesus was encouraging them to be totally dependent upon them. Like the baby birds in the nest, Jesus is encouraging us to become children, to depend on Him for what we need for eternal life.