“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, I say unto you, except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you.'” John 6:53
So, I’m having a hard year. I’m having a hard morning. And the question in my mind is, “Who do I run to? To whom shall I go?” And I know the answer but I wanted to see if anyone else in Scripture ever felt the same way. And that’s how I got to that verse.
Read the earlier part of the chapter for the background. I’m starting with this strange part of eating the flesh of Jesus and drinking Your blood, Lord. Sounds wierd but You say it’s absolutely necessary if I want to run to You. I don’t have to do that if I run to someone else, if I go to someone or something else. But if I choose to go to You, I must.
You tell me that Your flesh is true food, and Your blood is true drink. Food and water are two of the essentials of all living things. I guess this means that Your flesh and Your blood are essential to my spiritual life. I can’t live without them. And they are true food and true drink. What if true food and drink are to be consumed for our health and benefit, yet what if in the consuming true food and drink are never depleted? See, that word for food is the same word used for rust when You tell us to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth where moth and rust destroy. Doesn’t rust consume? Am I eating food that will consume me? Or am I eating food that will nourish me?
“He that eats my flesh, and drinks My blood, dwells in Me, and I in him.” Lord, I want to dwell in You more than anything else. Whatever it takes to dwell in You, I want that, I’ll pursue it. So what does it really mean to me to eat Your flesh and drink Your blood?
Actually, this comes at a more than appropriate time. Here we are, approaching Christmas, the celebration of Your Incarnation. John puts it this way, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) Here’s that same Greek word for flesh, “sarx.” What You did here changed everything. Your coming and setting aside Your divinity to take on the form of man wasn’t a simple thing. As Skip Moen stated, “[i]t is a way of life, intended to become the operating principle of all of the followers of the King of kings. You and I are supposed to live incarnated.”
What in the world does “incarnate” mean? According to Noah Webster it’s from the Latin “incarno” meaning “in the flesh.” It means to “clothe with flesh; to embody in flesh.” In terms of You, Lord, it was the act of You as Divine Lord assuming flesh, taking on a human body and man’s nature. And when You call us to eat of Your flesh and drink of Your blood, superficially it sounds like a disgusting pagan practice. But if I take the time to dig deeper and understand, what You were really asking is that we truly take on Your nature, that we allow ourselves to become incarnated in You.
See, my eternal life, that reward that I receive from eating and drinking of You, only comes when I absorb You into me. I must choose to consume You, and all that You are, Your ways of thinking, Your ways of living, the Truth that is You, what we call faith, until it fills me, heart, body, soul, mind. Only then do I know what it is to abide in You. This is not a scary picture. If I stay to understand, I see a picture of “full engagement, on feasting on the work and wonder of Yeshua.” (Skip Moen) My faith doesn’t grow because I sit at the table with You. My faith only grows when I feast on You.
Living incarnate is living with Your Holy Spirit within me. It’s living like You, Jesus, by Your power in me. See, You are the perfect image of what it looks like, and is like, and acts like when God indwells man. So if You perfectly represent that for us, then You also give us the example of what it is to live perfectly human in God’s standards. If that’s God’s standards for man, then that is Your standard for me. Therefore, living incarnated for me, would mean that I live like You live. And how can I do that without Your Spirit in me? “What would Jesus do?” is the right question but my only means of following through like You is to be in You.
No matter what thoughts assail me or what choices come before me, am I oriented toward acting in You? I need to be more than informational. My hearing must be accompanied by the doing. In my choices am I seeking the benefit of others, because that was Your heart. Is it mine? You even sought the benefit of Your enemies. What about me? Are my interests God’s interests or is it self-interest? Is seeking You my number one goal? Is my fellowship with You my treasure? How do I view suffering? Do I view it like You, Jesus, for the joy set before me? Do I understand and desire You to develop Your godly character in me no matter the cost? Do I spend my time avoiding the discomfort or do I treasure the deeper fellowship with You? Do I desire to spend time with others especially with You in the midst of that time? Do I care about being a disciple and discipling others? Who do I follow? Do I follow other people who have You exuding from them? Is it all about allowing You to transform my life and the lives of those around me and sharing how You are transforming? Am I transparent? Do I forgive and redeem like You? Do I care more about love than correctness? Do I care more about following You than the way it’s always been done? Do I serve from a heart of love like You? Do I look like You at all?
When You spoke this message, lots of Your followers turned away. It was offensive. You know, dependency is an offensive thing in our culture, but this is what’s being called for, total dependency on and in You. This is calling for a radical change in my life and if I don’t or haven’t made that change in You, I haven’t got anything but lies. So You asked Your twelve, “Will you also go away?”
Well, Peter expressed my words for today. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that You are that Christ, the Son of the living God.” To whom shall I go, Lord, but You? I can do better than just running to You. I have run into You. I live in You and You live in Me. It’s not superficial. No matter what, I am persuaded just as strongly as Paul, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord. Why? Because You were incarnated for me so that I could be incarnated in You.
Now, John 10:28 just came to mind. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Well, what if You, Lord, aren’t holding me in Your hand, You know, with me in Your palm and Your fingers clasped around me? What if that’s not the picture? What if the true picture is seen in the light of Your nail pierced hands? What if by faith, because I have consumed all that You are and because I have taken You in me, then You have consumed me and taken me inside of You. What if I exist within the blood flowing through Your hand? What if that is what my relationship incarnated in You looks like? How then can anything pluck me away? Lord, let me live like that, that closely with You. May my behavior be that of one whose heart beats with Yours. Whatever it takes, take me there. Count me in.