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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jesus Our SuperFood -- You Want Me to Eat What??? Part 2

I just took communion. Here, in my room, alone with Him. It’s something I recently started doing several times a week, after the Lord made it very clear to me this is what He wanted. As soon as I began this practice, I immediately experienced a new measure of supernatural strengthening in my daily life. It has powerfully enhanced the way my spirit receives regular nourishment. So I knew He wanted me to tell you about it. This post will be the first of several on the subject.

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven…The one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” (John 6:51, 57 NIV) Can you hear what Jesus is saying in these verses?

Last week we talked about how shocking it was when He invited His listeners to eat His flesh. You may have grown accustomed to hearing this phraseology since it’s a frequent element of our church culture. But let’s travel back in time to stand in the crowd and listen to this fiery eyed Teacher pronouncing these controversial statements. Imagine encountering the startling imagery He is presenting, for the very first time. What does this Man mean by such enigmatic words?

He gazes privately, piercingly into each of our individual faces. He addresses our very souls with intensely riveting authority. At the same time, captivating tenderness emanates from His persona. Each of us with a hungry heart can perceive it tangibly.

“For My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink,” He expresses to us with earnestness and conviction (v. 55). Jesus isn’t talking about a physical table spread or a material beverage selection. He is purposefully startling us with a challenge to open our eyes to the spiritual realm from which He operates. He knows that we can only discern and understand these matters through the interaction of His Spirit to ours. Only Holy Spirit can communicate to the depths of us the life changing truth wrapped up in this extremely personal summons to partake of Him.

The physical world mirrors the spiritual world. There is so very much to learn about spiritual reality by examining the way His physical creation operates. For this reason, Jesus so often points to aspects of everyday life to teach us about the Kingdom of Heaven. In this case, He is unpacking for us the deeper implications of one of the most elemental features of our earthly existence: eating.

When you eat, you take food into yourself. It fills you, and then its nutrition and energy actually get incorporated into your very being. You literally become what you eat. As we stand now among this first-century throng, Jesus invites us to feed on Him. Of course, His words are timeless and eternal. They usher forth from Him and enter us with laser-like precision, right where we are, today. He wants us to actively take Him into ourselves. “Take, eat,” He urges us. He longs for us to absorb Him, to assimilate His very life into the fiber of our being.

Let’s take a pause and meditate on His meaning. You need to eat often. Does it happen to you, as it does to me, that sometimes eating seems to get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish? When I am focused in on a task or project, that hungry signal tugging at my brain can sometimes be less than welcome. After all, I want to push through and finish what I have started! However, I must not neglect my body.

Your spirit functions the very same way. You urgently need to set aside the demands of the day and take the time to eat. Yes, you can ignore the hunger. We have to ask ourselves though, how beneficial is it to do so, in the long run? Does your body perform well for you when you deny it nourishment? How about your spirit? Can you really deny it food regularly and still hope for a vibrant, fruitful inner life? Is the excessive busyness really worth it, when it leaves you literally starving and malnourished on the inside?

Jesus is using His incarnate body as a symbol pointing to a spiritual reality. He Himself is REAL food. The spiritual realm is just as solidly real as the physical world. The spirit’s needs are just as pressing as the body’s, if not more so. Provision for these needs is abundantly available. Spiritual food is REAL. The table is spread. You have an official invitation in your hand, even now. What do you need to aggressively cut out of your schedule to prioritize this bidding? Come to the banquet! Not tomorrow; not next week – now!!

“This is the Bread that came down from Heaven.” Advertisements brag to us about superfoods with antioxidants, immune system boosters, and energy enhancing properties. This Bread the Father has sent us is the ultimate, unmatched, supreme superFood. This is why Jesus is now passionately imploring each of us, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you..." (v. 27) He cares so very, very deeply about the nourishment of your spirit. And indeed, this Food really and truly is more desirable than anything on Earth that has ever delighted your palate. He wants to feed you with "la crème de la crème." The most exquisite fare! "Pleasures forevermore," as you drink deeply of Him... (Ps. 16:11). 

There is so much more bursting in my heart about this matter. In my next posts I will be sharing further on it. For now, a prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, I return Your piercing gaze. I open myself in Your presence and let Your eyes search the depths of my being. You have enticed me. You have awakened my appetite, as fresh bread from the oven that tantalizes the senses. I earnestly desire to feed on You. Train me to care for and nourish my spirit as I do for my body. Please ruthlessly examine my weekly activities and show me if something needs to go, to make more room for intimacy with You. No matter what it takes, I want to grow into the Spirit-to-spirit interaction You are offering me! I take Your life-giving words into myself even now. I surrender to You. I am Yours.

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