“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” ~John 6:54-55
You are what you eat. I’ve been trying to convince my pickiest eater that his best path to his desired athletic achievement is through eating “food that helps you grow.” Isn’t it funny how kids quickly suck down the best tasting foods, while taking forever to chew the same piece of undesirable meat or vegetable?
Sunday’s gospel will be our fourth week in John 6, and the steaks have been raised, pardon the pun. There were to be no rare steaks in Israel. Meat was to be eaten well done, for the life of an animal is in its blood. Blood was lifeblood and sacred. It was not for people to take animal life into themselves, and so become, baser animals themselves. Jesus has grown more explicit in his long discussion in John 6. He now calls upon any who would seek eternal life to eat his flesh and drink his blood. He could not have come across any more vulgar and scandalous than he did. A people who had been instructed by God to eat lamb steaks well done have now been promised by the Lamb of God that his own blood is to be consumed for their eternal life! Can he be serious? The result of his message will be the nearly complete desertion of the crowd that has no appetite for Jesus.
You are what you eat, Christian. If you drink the lifeblood of the Son of God, you will be nourished as a child of God. We who have been baptized as God’s beloved children are regularly invited to Jesus’ table to receive the bread of life and drink the cup of salvation.
Jesus will not let you have him merely as an idea, such as “Jesus is Lord.” In the end, ideas don’t save. Jesus won’t even let you simply believe in God and collect your ticket to eternal life. James 2:19 reminds us that the demons believe in God too. They know Jesus is the “Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). It’s not doing them any good to believe this.
If you seek assurance of eternal life, if you hunger for certainty that you will be raised up on the last day, the next place to check is not your head or even your heart. It’s your belly. Jesus has promised to feed you unto eternal life. “This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you.” Amen.
Peace, Pr. Tom