John 6:52-60 (NLT)
Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked. 53 So Jesus said again, “I assure you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. 54 But those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them at the last day. 55 For my flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink. 56 All who eat my flesh and drink my blood remain in me, and I in them. 57 I live by the power of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, those who partake of me will live because of me. 58 I am the true bread from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever and not die as your ancestors did, even though they ate the manna.” 59 He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.” 60 Even his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”
Pastor, Shelter Covenant Church
Have you ever come into the middle of the series “Lost” and wonder what is going on? You have no idea of the intense relational and plot drama that has gone on before. The passage we are reading today is a lot like the series “Lost” — you will be “lost” unless you know the plot.
Jesus is part of a covenant-making culture. When Jesus uses words like “eat my flesh and drink my blood,” there is an assumption about those words that everyone understood (v. 60).
What is a covenant- making culture and how were covenants made? A covenant was made when a stronger tribe came into agreement with a weaker tribe, and they would both cut a deal to be on equal ground. They would unite and become one. The covenant would mean I take on everything that is yours. When I married Lynn, I didn’t look good on paper. I had school debt, and Lynn agreed to take on my debt. We cut a deal, and she took on everything that is mine. Multiply this among tribes and realize the relational complexity of everything being equal.
The covenant was made through a ritual meal. A lamb was sacrificed and eaten together (v. 4). Bread is eaten (v. 35) and wine is drunk. Jesus is saying, “I am the new covenant promise from My Father.” The eating of Jesus’ flesh and blood is His way of saying, “Like food, you and I are absorbed together. We are in covenant. I have come from heaven as the stronger to completely take on your life.” Jesus takes on our life of sin, and we take on his heavenly life as the weaker. We now receive all the promises and resources from heaven, and Jesus absorbs all our bad debt. That’s a deal I would cut.
Lord, help us to see this story and our lives through your covenant eyes of love. Amen.
Dialog discuss: If you are feeling slammed, crushed, broken, undone, unraveled, ripped beyond the point of human endurance…remember that God’s mark on you is bold and sure. You may be damaged goods, but you are deliverable. Straight into His open arms…There is no unclaimed freight in God’s kingdom. Barbara Johnson