John 6:51b This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

From as far back as I can remember I have loved to read. As a child I would become the main character of any novel, with the world around me immediately ceasing to exist. My only reality would be that book. I recall many times in school that I would be so engrossed in what I was reading that a teacher or fellow student would have to speak my name repeatedly before I could even begin to come back to the reality around me. Like awakening from a dream, even then I would float around in a semi-conscious state for quite some time before truly returning to my surroundings.

Today's passage, John 6:45-71, is one frankly that I would have preferred not to read. I find it a bit discouraging and even in bad taste to a degree. Some of those seeing this scene unfold live must agree because Verse 66 informs us that "from this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him". Knowing that not a single word was placed in the Bible without reason, I choose to place my trust in God's wisdom and open my heart to what He has to say to me this morning.

Having declared earlier in this chapter that He is the "bread of heaven", Jesus now expounds on this quite a bit.
  • I am enticed by the opening where wonderful promises are given. God draws me (Verse 44). God teaches me (Verse 45). God grants me life after death through Jesus (Verse 47).
  • Next Jesus explains in greater detail what it means that He is the bread of heaven: He is living bread, eternal bread and sacrificial bread (Verses 48-51). So far so good.
  • Now the passage turns downright icky because Jesus takes the bread analogy to the place of near cannibalism. This is where I begin to think this part is better suited for a horror film (Verses 53-58) and wish orange juice had the impact of carbonation in settling one's stomach. He declares His flesh and blood to be real food and drink and the source of life for each one of us, suggesting we eat it.

Jesus wants me to consume Him. What could that possibly mean? Then my college biology comes rushing back to me. There are three processes that food undergoes in our bodies:

  1. Digestion - This is the part where food gets from the outside to the inside. In order to begin my journey with Jesus, I first had to take Him in. I had to choose to believe in my heart that He died and was raised from the dead for my sin and be willing to give Him his rightful place as the boss of my life (Romans 10:9).
  2. Absorption - Next everything that is useful in food is separated from everything that is not. The useful parts are delivered microscopically to every cell in my body, energizing and empowering it to perform each function from beating my heart to wiggling my toes. As I begin to develop my relationship with Jesus by reading His word and talking to Him about every facet of my life, I begin to experience a changed life. My life is now energized and empowered in a way I never would have believed. I wake up excited and eager to see what God has in store for me that day.
  3. Elimination - Finally, all the non-useful parts of food pass right on out of the body. In my life there have been many behaviors, attitudes and thoughts that have had to go. Over time that parts of me that don't look like Jesus get eliminated and are replaced with much better parts that do.

In Verse 67, Jesus asks His disciples, "You do not want to leave too, do you?". I can answer that question with an absolute, resounding "No". Thank you for patiently teaching me even the "hard teachings" (Verse 60). My heart cries to be changed by You and my soul longs for Your life-giving energy. Today, may I consume you completely.

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