Bread & Drink — Nourishment of Christ
Is Christian assent enough? Is it good enough to merely talk about our faith with words? Is there an authentic life change found deeper within the heart… impossible to fully express in words… yet impossible to receive eternal life without?
Furthermore, where do we source our strength? What can I do to grow closer to Jesus? In a church culture often worn out by legalism and hurt by fundamentalism, where is the action-based element of our faith? What is needed for more intimacy with Jesus?
Two Kinds of Bread
In John chapter 6, Jesus miraculously feeds 5,000 men and their families that are gathered to listen to his teaching. The people are absolutely amazed by Jesus — not just his teachings but his miracles and wonders. Who wouldn’t want to catch sight of these amazing things! But in the middle of this miracle, Jesus knows that something is missing in the hearts of his followers. In fact immediately following this wonder Jesus slips away for prayer, and what comes out of this time of prayer is a revelation we cannot miss.
Something happened between Jesus and the Father on that night of prayer. The very next day we find Jesus teaching that he is the bread of life. The same crowd who had received physical bread is now being offered a second kind of bread — a spiritual bread. And this bread, when consumed, offers eternal life. Jesus begins to teach the way to being one with the Father: it is only through his flesh and blood (v. 55).
So again I ask, is it enough to just acknowledge Christ? Or is there more?
The Spirit Alone
I find that communion with the Spirit is an overlooked element of our faith — yet it’s possibly the most critical “action-based” aspect of spiritual development in a broader sense. This is one of the reasons that I value worship and corporate prayer so highly. In this practice, we model for others how to commune with the Holy Spirit.
Freedom comes through the Spirit. He had just explained to the crowd that it is only through his flesh and through his blood that people could have eternal life. The disciples had a hard time receiving this. They said it was too hard to understand.
What could Jesus mean by feeding on him?
On the journey of faith we are told that saying a “sinner’s prayer” accomplishes our salvation. While belief is a gateway to salvation, the sanctified life comes from communion with Christ. Yes, in John 6:63 (NLT) Jesus says, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
How easy it can be to ignore the feast that Jesus offers us. Jesus lays out the foundation for everlasting life in his illustration of the bread and drink. Of course Jesus is not referring to cannibalism. Nor is he offering anything physical to his disciples. The Amplified Bible clarifies this invitation as, “[spiritual] food, and …[spiritual] drink.”
I advocate for music and how it relates to prayer and worship. It is my passion. But it is not music that leads believers to eternal life. It is not the mystical or the inspirational that produces eternal life. It is the nourishment of Christ; it is in partaking of his bread and drink.
Full Experience Of Salvation
Peter writes to the church, “You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have tasted the Lord’s kindness (1 Peter 2:2-3 NLT).” I must ask you whether you are eagerly searching for a “full experience of salvation” as reflected in your desperation for his bread and drink …or are you satisfied?
What is this bread and drink representative of but his broken body and his grace sufficient?
What is this living drink but his Holy Spirit given to us?
In order to see the full Kingdom of God coming in our lives, in our churches, and in our cities we must cry out with humble and desperate hearts for this nourishment. How can I escape this clear command of Jesus: human effort accomplishes nothing, but the Spirt gives eternal life.
Today seek out his bread and drink.