‘Consuming the cross’.

John 6:51
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

            This day and age, it’s a funny one, a lot of change and a lot of struggle. We listen to the radio, about consumers, about voters, about COVID cases, and among all these crazy things apparently there’s some people who eat bread from the sky. How weird is that? But of course, that’s us, Christians consuming, not shoes or cars, but the bread from heaven. Christ Himself said it. Yet it’s not loaves from the clouds, or flour in a fog; Jesus says that He is the bread from heaven … a little stranger again. And He says that if you eat the bread you have eternal life, and yet also whoever believes in Him has eternal life. What’s going on here? Do we need to eat Jesus? Or just believe His teachings? What does He mean when He tells us to consume this Living Bread that came down from heaven?

            And actually, what do the journalists mean when they call us consumers? Of course, we consume food, we eat bread; but that’s not all they’re talking about. We consume, socks, shoes, cars, crockery, books, TV, games, and for some maybe too much journalism. It’s not that we chew on all these things, though my kids might, it’s that we take them into our lives, incorporate them into how we live, and make them part of ourselves. Think of bread, we take it into ourselves to support our life, to incorporate it into our flesh. In a similar way, when we get invested in reality TV series, or if our life revolves around a football, a phone, even as we are informed and changed by the news we hear; what we consume changes who we are.

            And yet as we eat these things, as we consume, in particularly today partisan news sites, we see these don’t bring contentment, rest and lasting peace, these things do not stop death. And that crowd 2000yrs ago, did filled their bellies, but that was yesterday; and now they wanted what so many want today, what so many think will bring peace, food without work, basically free money. But Jesus doesn’t give that, He knows worldly peace is a lie, and tells the crowd, He tells us, to eat the bread that came down from heaven, to believe in Him who God the Father sent.

            Just three chapters earlier in another conversation, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” And just a sentence before, Jesus proclaimed, “the Son of Man must be lifted up”. The bread of heaven sent down by the Father, then lifted up for the life of the world. And the bread, given for the life of the world, is His flesh. He is speaking of the Crucifixion. Christ died on that cross, so that you might have life and have it to the fullest! He died to save you, your friends, your family, your frustrations, and all people; and not just all people but all the world. In the age to come, we won’t just be floating around on clouds, there will be dirt, hills, a great river, trees, and life everlasting. The New Creation is Paradise.

            And coming down from heaven, Jesus died, buried in the grave, only to rise again and bring all creation with Him into the New Creation of life everlasting. That’s the gospel, you’ve heard it again. Now Jesus says, “it is my Father’s will that everyone who looks to the Son and believes, trusts, in Him shall have everlasting life, and I will raise them up on the last Day. … Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Whoever trusts in Jesus, consumes His Words, makes His teaching part and parcel of their lives, will live forever. So when you go out from this house, this time of prayer, seeing the smorgasbord this world puts out for you, a consumer; when you go out, ask yourself this question, what will you consume?

            The Peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, that you live in the light of the New Creation.

Pastor Joseph Graham.