On eating flesh and yum-yums
Verse 56, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
This was difficult for those who followed Him to understand and many quit at this point. But Jesus was not concerned about making everything palatable.
We, too, are told to “count the cost” of discipleship.
Luke 14.27-28 says, “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost …”
So what does it mean to “eat His flesh and drink His blood?” In verse 56 Jesus says the one who does “abides” in Him. John 15 also talks about “abiding in Him.”
John 15.9-11 says, “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
We “eat His flesh and drink His blood” when we allow the “Word of God,” to become as much a part of our being as the food we eat. Food is digested and broken down in our bodies and literally becomes a part of us. So should the Word of God.
Is it truly a part of who you are or just some nice ideas that you consider if you feel like it or if it “seems right to you” as our Proverbs passage today says? The Word of God is not a buffet where we can pick and choose what seems palatable to us.
The same Bible that talks about God’s love and mercy also requires us to “count the cost of being a true follower.” That means we must give up some things which “seem right” like holding grudges, refusing to discipline our children biblically, seeking an unbiblical divorce, or dating an unbeliever.
Instead, we justify by saying, “You don’t know what she did to me!” Or, “If I spank my children, the psychologists say, it will make them hit others.” Or, “I know what the Bible says, but I believe God wants me happy!”
Your “happiness” is not God’s first concern, rather it’s your holiness! In fact, the “happiness” the world offers is like the yum-yums the White Witch offered Edmund in Narnia, only an illusion crafted by the deceiver himself.
True happiness is found by “abiding in Him,” in “keeping the commandments,” in “eating His flesh and drinking His blood,” so that His “joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”
As today’s Proverbs reading says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Prov. 16.25).
When we seek happiness in disobedience, the end is death, beginning with our intimacy with God. The next thing we know the yum-yums we desired have vanished only to be replaced by a craving for something that brings no satisfaction.
Today’s Other Readings:
God had told David in 2 Samuel 2.11, “‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house …”
And so it begins.
David’s sins were adultery and murder. Now his son Ammon has raped his own half-sister and another son, Absalom, has murdered Ammon.
We think we can sin in secret and our sins don’t affect anyone but us, but we never sin in isolation. First, we set in motion the laws of sowing and reaping, and second, we are discipling our children and others by our lives and behavior. Children, in particular, are much more likely to do what we “do” than what we “say.” Continue reading