Because of the Father – August 16, 2016

“Because of the Father”

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14      John 6:51-58


           Solomon asked for wisdom.  He got it.  A gift from the Father…God.


The Jewish leaders argued among themselves because they

didn’t believe…or couldn’t understand…the one who had been sent…as a gift…by

the very same Father.

Not understanding the gifts from the Father happens…in

unexpected places.  Today’s gospel lesson

from John is one of them.   The language

and ideas may seem quite strange.  But to

those who heard it first it spoke to familiar ideas and activities.

The words and ideas that John attributed to Jesus would

have been quite normal and familiar to anyone who understood the rituals of

sacrifice.  The animal that was

sacrificed was seldom burned entirely…even though the whole animal was offered

to the god.  Part of the flesh was given

to the priests and part to the worshiper who made a feast for himself and his

friends within the temple area.  They all

believed that the god was with them as part of the feast.

Also…once the flesh was offered to the god, it was believed

that the god had entered into the flesh.

Therefore when the worshiper ate the flesh he also ate the god.  When they left the feast the people went out

believing they were god-filled.  We may

think it was wrong…idolatry…but the people left believing they had a new

vitality because their god was in them.

The people of that day would know about the experience of

union with the gods.  They understood the

language that John used.

Let us remember what John was doing when he wrote this

gospel.  He was not giving…or trying to

give…the actual words of Jesus.  John had

been thinking for seventy years about what Jesus had said.  Led by the Holy Spirit…John wrote his gospel

to show the inner significance of Jesus’ words.

It is not a simple recording of words…but the essential meaning of the

words that John wrote…guided by the Holy Spirit…the words and thoughts a gift

of the Father.

John wrote that Jesus talked about eating his flesh and

drinking his blood.  Jesus’ flesh was his

total humanity.  In his first letter John

said that every person who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is the

antichrist.  John insisted that Jesus was

the mind and heart of God become a person who walked the earth…and lived as

normal people lived.  This means that in

Jesus we see God taking human life upon him…facing our human situations…struggling

with our human problems…battling with our human temptations…working out our

human relationships.

It’s just as if Jesus said, “Feed your heart, feed your

mind, and feed your soul on the thought of my manhood.  When you are discouraged and in despair, when

you are beaten to your knees and disgusted with life and living…remember I took

that life of yours and the struggles of yours on me.”  When we do we will see that our life is

filled with glory because it is touched with God…it is of the Father.  To eat Christ’s body is to feed on the

thought of his person-hood until we are strengthened and cleansed and purified

by him.

Jesus said we must drink his blood.  In Jewish thought the blood stands for

life.  What Jesus was saying is that we

must take his life into the very center of our being…and that his life is the

life which belongs to God.  When Jesus

said we must drink his blood he meant that we must take his life into the very

core of our hearts.

Think of it this way.

There in a bookcase is a book which you have never read.  Maybe it’s something by Shakespeare…one of

the world’s classics.  As long as it sits

on the shelf…remains unread…it is apart from you…it is unknown.  But…one day you take it down from the shelf

and read it.  It thrills and fascinates

you….moves you.  The story sticks with

you…the great lines and characters remain in your memory…now you can take that

out of yourself…think about it and feed your heart and mind on it.  Once that book was outside you…now it is

inside you and you can feed upon it.   It

is that way with any great experience in life.

It is apart from us until we take it in… experience it…make it internal.  Then…instead of being apart from us…it is a

part of us.

It is the same with Jesus.

As long as he remains a figure in a book…someone who performed miracles

and taught a couple thousand years ago…someone we worship…he is apart from

us.  When he enters into us we can feed

on the life…the strength…the vitality he gives us.  He becomes a part of us.  Jesus said that we must drink his blood.  He said, “You must stop thinking of me as the

subject for theological debate.  You must

take me into you.  You must come into

me.   Then you will have real life.”

Maybe…like me…you’ve seen the movie “Rush.”  It’s the story of the two men who were

competing for the 1976 Formula One auto racing world championship.  In that movie the producers were able to

create video that was very realistic…just like the viewer was in the seat driving

the automobile…just like the viewer was looking outside the auto to see the

wheels of his opponent coming within a fraction of an inch of his car’s

wheels…just like the viewer was inside the vehicle as it crashed and rolled

down the side of the race track.  That

movie’s video put the lives of the drivers inside me.

Jesus wants to do the same.


When the view from your driver’s seat is rushing past you

at 200 miles an hour…or seems like the chaos of a pit stop…Jesus wants to be in

you…seeing it too…a part of you.

When those who might cause you harm are within a hair of

success…when their tires are about to rub against yours…Jesus wants to be a

part of you…taking you through the right kind of evasive action.

When you are crashing and burning…and you see the ground

coming up to meet you…the sky coming down upon you…and a ball of flame

surrounding you…Jesus wants to be in you to take you safely away from that

crash and burn.

When Jesus told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood…he was

telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds on his humanity…and to

revitalize our lives until we are filled with the life of God…a daily life

where Jesus is no longer apart from us…Jesus is a part of us.

As you leave the sanctuary today…do not leave that hunger

for Jesus’ flesh and blood and humanity…in the pew…take it with you…show Jesus

your hunger in your words and deeds…tell Jesus of your hunger in prayers and

conversation with him.

Because of the love of the Father…the gift of the Father…the

hunger will be fulfilled.