Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Fast food vs eternal lfood. . .
Lets be honest. People come to church for all the wrong reasons. But they are still here. It is no different today than it was in the Gospel for today. We are told about a crowd that took after Jesus but not because of His teaching or who He was. They came because Jesus had fed them once and now they wanted more easy bread. Imagine then the nerve of Jesus to set up a food pantry for one people in one place and then leaving before everyone got their share of the miracle!!
Jesus challenged them. You did not come because a sign brought you faith; you came because you filled your belly once and wanted more. So what do you want? Bread for your belly or the bread of the Kingdom that gives eternal life? It is a hard question. We don’t like choices. Miracle bread sounds good but we need to feed these bodies, too. Even manna can grow old. What ARE you seeking from Jesus?!
Jesus insists He is no bread king. He is no Burger King; He has not come to replace the labor and work assigned to us in creation through which we feed our bellies and care for the needs of this life. No, Jesus has come to bestow the bread our labors cannot earn and our works cannot provide. He is the King of eternal food that gives eternal life. It sounds good but is it what we seek, what we want?
Too many of us want Jesus to relieve us of the burdens of mortal life that sin imposed upon us. We want easier lives and easier bread. We want leisure instead of work and a happy life instead of one filled with struggles. But Jesus has not come to make our lives easier. He has come to give us what our labors cannot provide – the bread of heaven that gives eternal life. Is this what you seek?
Jesus has not come to show us a short cut to happiness or prosperity or easy bread. He has come to work salvation for sinners who cannot atone for their sins and who have only work and labor and death in their future. Jesus has come to bring pleasure eternal, as we sing, and not a short cut around the ordinary demands and requirements of life and work.
Jesus identifies Himself as the very bread of God that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. This is an impossible statement to comprehend and only faith empowered by the Holy Spirit can enable us to trust in this amazing promise. The Kingdom of God is not reasonable or rational. It does not fit the expectations of sinners or conform to the dreams of the wise and intelligent. It is accessible only by faith.
Our Lord gave manna every day and still the people whined and complained. It does not matter if it is miracle bread – how many ways can you prepare manna until you tire of it? But Jesus offers us something better than manna.
Feed upon His flesh and you will hunger no more. There is but one bread that feeds body AND soul, that sustains us for today and bestows upon us eternity. This is His bread, His flesh for the life of the world and given for YOU. Do this as My remembrance, says the Lord.
Drink His blood and you thirst no more. There is but one source to refresh mortal bodies with eternal refreshment. This is Christ’s blood shed for you and now your drink that forgives your sins and imparts to us eternal life. Is this the cup you seek?
We are not so sure. Sin has corrupted our thinking and our desires so that we choose fast food over the bread of eternal life. Without the Spirit we will seek only fast food. But guided by the Spirit, we kneel before the Lord praying, “Give us this bread always...” We have the same duty assigned to us in creation (even though it became a struggle after sin changed the landscape of this mortal life). Jesus has not come to take from us this duty but to give us what we cannot get anywhere else or provide for ourselves no matter how hard we worked – the bread of heaven for eternal life.
Like the crowds of old, we come to Him seeking easy bread and easy lives but Christ has the bread that nourishes us to eternal life – His flesh and His blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. We struggle because our sinful natures instinctively choose fast food but God has given us His Holy Spirit so that we may seek the eternal that only Christ can give. Only faith leads us here.
People come to church for a million reasons and many of them not good. Thanks be to God that they come. That you come. For Christ meets you here and opens your heart by His Spirit, that you might receive with faith that which you cannot get except from Him. And more, He opens your hearts that you may desire this bread above all others -- His flesh for the life of the world and His blood that cleanses us from all sins. We who came for one bread go home with the surprise of another bread more than we ever expected. Thanks be to God. Amen.