Thursday, April 05, 2007

following Jesus by feeding on him

27 Then he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."

Matthew 26

Jesus told his shocked disciples and would be followers in another place that unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood they would have no life in them (John 6:53). Even though that passage reminds us of the Last/First Supper, I think in context it means and certainly involves what it means to be a true follower of Jesus. It is metaphorical for living on the basis of who he is and what he has done for us, a living that is by faith in following.

We follow Jesus by feeding on him and we also feed on Jesus by following him. We taste more and more of who he is as we seek to follow on in this life and like the disciples of old, doing so together or bringing others along with us. We more and more lose our old apetites as we learn to eat and drink of Jesus. And this is meant to be celebrated and lived out together with Jesus.

This means I can be happy (or learn to be) abstaining from some old feastings which really are either not of God or are not for me at a particular time. That is because I've caught a new aroma and have a new taste for something so much better that replaces death with true life. Instead of the living death I used to live, it can be more and more a dying (in Jesus) life.

This is intensely personal and yet must become intensely communal as well. In nature it is communal in that this partaking is to be together with our Lord as we see over and over again in Scripture. But each of us must do this, making it a part of our daily lives as followers of Jesus.

What might you add and/or what helps you "feed on Jesus"?


L.L. Barkat said...

Even today, I find this passage shocking. I can't imagine how it sounded to Jewish ears.

Of course, I understand He meant it in terms of an incredible level of intimacy. Still, the images are strong.

Ted Gossard said...

Thanks, L.L. The imagery is vivid and shocking. We certainly don't talk that way. At that time it was shocking in Jewish ears, as well.

The Old Testament did tell them, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." (Psalm 34)

Ted Gossard said...

The blood part too for Jews would be shocking and probably revolting. Though Jesus was speaking metaphorically of course. Even that may not have taken away the edge off that saying.

Anonymous said...

How are your friends who were in trouble before?

I am wary of appeals to the OT that don't take into account how Jesus' death changed things...


Ted Gossard said...

DLW, They're doing better overall, though the system is broke here (from my perspective). She's had two or three silent heart attacks and one normal heart attack. But they keep withdrawing her Medicaid when she's suppose to take around $6500 worth of meds a month for her heart alone. She's only 46 with no dependents so they withdraw her Medicaid.

I don't understand it. But pretty much the rest is taken care of though the system still hasn't come through largely on it.

As for your thought on appeals to the OT, I so much agree. I would encourage people to go to your post.
Interesting thoughts there. Thanks!

andre said...

Sadly, unlike LL, many of us who read over it too quickly, can be too familiar with this verse and not find it shocking.

When I slow down and meditate on it, consider who Jesus is and what he is saying here, it impacts me.

Thanks for the reminder

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, Well said. Good reminder about reading Scripture slow. I need to do that regularly and seek to ponder and let God's revelation to us in Christ sink down into the depths of who I am and out from that into my daily life. Thanks!