Summary: The remembrance of eternal life at the Lord’s Supper table.
Sunday Morning May 4, 2000 Bel Aire Baptist Church Hobbs, NM
THE TABLE OF LIFE
1. Three old men, tired of being old, sneaked off from their retirement village on afternoon for a stolen dip in a nearby pool. It was an indoor pool, in one wing of a huge house that was apparently used only at night. Ignoring the strange glow near the bottom, they slowly, painfully entered the pool at the shallow end.
They had a wonderful time, floating in the water. Back home that afternoon they felt better than they had in years, so good in fact that they decided to do it again the next day and the next. Very soon it became clear that this was no ordinary pool. The same men who were creaking down the steps only days before were now doing cannonballs and back flips off the diving board. Back at the retirement village they were eating spicy Mexican food, dancing the tango, and flirting with their wives.
2. That’s a scene from the movie "Cocoon", and to anyone who has ever grown tired of being old or feeling old, it is a delightful fantasy- a pool in which old age is washed away. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!?
3. Hundreds of years ago, tribes of Indians in Central America and the West Indies believed a spring like that existed in the Bahamas Islands. Spanish explorers tried to find it. Ponce de Leon searched in Florida for a fountain of youth that would make those who bathed in it forever young. Can you imagine wrinkled skin becoming instantly taut and toned again? arthritic joints growing suddenly supple and strong? or the pleasure of leaving your cane in the corner, throwing your pills away, and still keeping your membership in the AARP? If all that were really possible, wouldn’t it be worth a search for the fountain of youth?
4. But when you talk to young people, they will quickly tell you that youth isn’t all its’ cracked up to be. Yes, you can get out of a chair without groaning, but you can’t show off pictures of your grandchildren. And then there are all those things to worry about: Will I be able to go to college? Will I get a decent job? Will I ever get married? Will America go to war? Will this pimple on my nose be gone before my date on Saturday night? Ask a thirteen- year-old if she would like to stay thirteen forever and she will answer in one word: no. Although a youthful body would certainly have its advantages, it is not really eternal youth we’re looking for. It’s something else.
I. The Search For Life
What we want is that something my friend Sean discovers when he is sitting on the sidelines at a soccer game, watching his daughter race up and down the field, occasionally getting a foot on the ball. In a folding chair, with friends and neighbors nearby, on a Saturday morning, with work two days away, Sean might turn to you and say, "It doesn’t get any better than this," and what he means is that, young or old, this is the things of real living. This is what fills our memories and our scrapbooks. This is what brings a smile to your face a three o’clock on Monday afternoon. This.. is life. And if we want anything to last forever, it is this.
Not youth. Life.
So, I don’t think Jesus could have come to us with any more provocative invitation than the one He brings, the offer of eternal life. And this sixth chapter of John is filled with references to that offer.
John 6:51(NRSV): "I am the living bread that came down from heaven," Jesus says. "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever".
And when Jesus talks about living forever, you can be sure that He is not talking about merely existing forever. This is the same Jesus who says, in chapter ten of this Gospel,
"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly"
(John 10:10, NRSV).
Abundant life is made up of those moments when you want to take a deep breath and hold it. When you want time to stand still for just a little while. All those moments when you think to yourself, "It doesn’t get any better than this." That’s real living, and we would do almost anything to make it last forever.
II. The Price Of Life
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven," Jesus says. "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews said to each other, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52, NRSV).