Eat his flesh and drink his blood

my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (John 6:55)

Jesus’ discourse in John 6 about eating his flesh and drinking his blood is surely one of the strangest of his sayings. The content was so offensive to some that they turned away from him, never to return (John 6:66). All these years later we can probably appreciate Jesus’ metaphor better than the original hearers did.

Of course, the meaning of the saying is important: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). It is indeed a metaphor and it involves something like, “Take me for what/who I am.” It is also parallel to statements like, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” (Mt. 11:29). Continue reading “Eat his flesh and drink his blood”

Last words as saving words

Have you ever noticed how so many of the letters in the New Testament end in similar ways? The writers sign off with concern for the spiritual welfare and salvation of others. And more — they urge their readers to act and speak so that others be saved.

James ends his practical letter with a practical, soul-winning exhortation, James 5.19-20.

My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

So does Jude, in some verses hard to sort through, but the general idea is clear, vv. 22-23. Continue reading “Last words as saving words”

Exalting God together

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” (Psalm 34:1-3, ESV).

The fundamental motives for evangelism and missionary activity are frequently identified as love for the lost and zeal to spread the good news of salvation. Somewhat less obvious today, but prominent in the New Testament, is the goal of exalting God in an unbelieving world.

Jesus spoke repeatedly about his earthly purpose, which was at least in large part to “glorify God” (John 17:1, 4). He taught his followers to live so that “others … may see your good works and give glory (i.e. praise) to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). One significant result of God’s plan to save mankind from sin was to demonstrate his glory both to all creation and to all the spiritual realm: Continue reading “Exalting God together”

Are we concerned about people?

“Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie – the blind, the lame, the paralysed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ ‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no-one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’” (John 5:1-3,5-7 NIV)

This incident gives us a glimpse into a day of Jesus’ life from which we can draw several lessons as his disciples today.

Notice, first if all, that Jesus was in the habit of attending the Jewish festivals. These, we know, were required of all Jewish men and this one would seem to be the Passover (I place this in AD 28). During these years he was teaching in Galilee, but these festivals took precedence over what he was normally doing. Continue reading “Are we concerned about people?”

Chasing empty things

BY JOHNNY O. TRAIL — What is success? The dictionary defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” People have varying definitions of what successful living is all about. Sadly, many are chasing a definition of success that has no spiritual underpinnings.

Those living in the age of Samuel were guilty of chasing “vain” or empty things, 1 Samuel 12:19-21. These Israelites were guilty of chasing vain things when they departed from following the Lord God with all their heart. They wanted a king so they could be like all the nations around them, 1 Samuel 8:5. The crucial point they missed was that they already had a king—Jehovah God, 1 Samuel 8:7. In their request for a human king, they rejected the king of the Universe!

Christians do the same thing when they allow their affections to be divided. Paul cautioned the brethren at Colossae against this very problem. He writes in Colossians 3:1-3, Continue reading “Chasing empty things”

In whom there is no deceit

The beginning of an undertaking is thrilling. The difficulties have not yet appeared and all the promise awaits. Jesus’ calling of his disciples is quite captivating.

Two sets of brothers kick off the disciples’ walk with Jesus.

Andrew’s invitation to Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) carries with it all the expectation of the Old Testament and all the hope for the future. Jesus gives Cephas a new name, “Peter,” which previews the confession he would make three years later.

James and John, sons of Zebedee, leave their father and their business to follow Jesus. Later they would request seats at the right and left hand of Jesus (Mark 10:35-37). Continue reading “In whom there is no deceit”

What is it?

“So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, ‘This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat’ . . . And the house of Israel called its name Manna” (Exodus 16:15, 31 NKJV).

As one travels throughout the world there are many occasions when he or she may ask, “What is this?” It may be regarding a food, a drink, a piece of household furniture, a tool, or even a custom or behavior. There are many cultures in this world, each with its own history, traditions, and particular resources. It is not surprising that varying cultures have found different solutions to many of the same needs. One person’s familiar object may be completely strange to someone else. Continue reading “What is it?”

Walk in the light

Have you ever tried to walk on an unfamiliar path when it is dark? I can tell you from experience that it isn’t easy. Over the years I have enjoyed hillwalking (hiking, as others might refer to it). Sometimes we might set out a bit later than planned, or perhaps underestimated the time it would take us to complete the day’s walk. As the sun set we would still be on the hill. Descending a hill in the dark on a rough, unfamiliar path can be difficult. It always helped to carry a torch (flashlight), in our backpacks to use if we ended up being out after sunset. The light would illuminate the path.

This is the same condition we find ourselves spiritually when we are without light. Notice how this is described by the apostle John. Continue reading “Walk in the light”