Life with God
A daily devotion for January 18th
41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. (John 6:56)
Those marvelous words represent what was apparently a very offensive statement to these Jews. It sounds that way even to us if we take his words literally. Talk about eating human flesh and drinking human blood turns many people off. Evidently those listening to Jesus felt that way. You can hear the cynicism in their voices:
How can this man give us his flesh to eat? What does he think we are—cannibals? This was most offensive to Jews because they had been taught all through the centuries that God did not want flesh in which there remained any blood. The word
kosher means to cleanse; and it particularly refers to the preparation of meat. The Jews cannot eat any meat that has not had all the blood drained from it.
But in these words our Lord reveals the absolute necessity for receiving his life:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. That is unequivocal, isn't it? There is no doubting what he has to say. This is absolutely essential to real life. If you do not have this, you are on a temporary slide into ultimate corruption and total death. The most you can do is merely preserve your life for awhile, and hold death at arm's length. But death is inevitable unless you know the One who gives life. Then Jesus shows how that life is real:
For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. It is the real kind of life that God intends for us.
This sharing of life with Jesus will, later on in this gospel, become the theme for the Upper Room Discourse. I do not think you can find any theme more exalted, more remarkable, more mysterious than this—the sharing of life between Jesus and us:
You in me, and I in you, (John 14:20). Those are very simple words, but to understand what they mean is to grasp the very center of truth itself.
You in me, and I in you—this reflects our universal hunger for intimacy.
The most intimate physical act is sex, which is a way of sharing life together. Sex has been accurately described as
the urge to merge. That is what happens physically, but it also happens psychologically. Friendship is a form of sexuality, or intimacy. When you are with a friend, what do you do? You tell your friend what you have been doing, and ask what he or she has been doing; you share your secrets. That is the urge to merge at the psychological level.
When we think about the greatness, the glory, and the wonder of God, what do we want? True worship is the desire to merge with God, for him to possess us and us to possess him. That is what Jesus says happens when we eat and drink his life. When we come and believe in him, and keep coming and keep believing in him, we grow into an intimate relationship with God.
Jesus has modeled this for us:
As the living Father sent me, and I live by means of the Father [this was the secret of his life], so he who eats me will live by means of me. That is a wonderful description of the Christian life. Jesus lived by means of the Father, and we are to live by means of him in everything we do.
You in me, and I in you.That is what I want to experience more of, Lord. Help me to keep coming to you and to keep trusting in you to provide all that I need.
Life Application: What does our relationship with Jesus look like? Is it the intimate relationship Jesus wants for all Christians -- You in me, and I in you?
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Daily Devotion © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.