The Word of Truth
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“Bread of Life”
How is the soul fed through Jesus?
It has not been easy for me to explain to people how to eat the “Bread of life” mentioned in John 6. Some think it is eating the bread at the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps you can make this clearer: How the soul is to be fed through Jesus—the Word?
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst…. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” (John 6:35,38-57)
Notice this phrase in the verse we just read. It is extremely important. This is the key to understanding the whole thing.
“As the living Father hath sent me, and I—LIVE—BY—THE FATHER.” Jesus lived by the Father. He ate the Father. He drank the Father. He consumed God’s will for Him, God’s presence for Him; He assimilated it into Himself; He digested it, and then He became what He ate and what He drank. And He says except you do it, you won’t have any life in you. I feel led to stress the individuality of this. I can’t eat for you; I can’t drink for you—and you can’t eat for me or drink for me. This is true physically, isn’t it? I remember when a certain sister was real sick, and she didn’t feel like eating anything, and it was hard for her to eat anything—I wished I could eat for her! I wished I had had the capacity to pour all kinds of nourishing things down me for her, that she could consume, because she needed them, you see; but I couldn’t. She had to eat for herself and drink for herself.
Now I might look at you, and I might say, “You need to eat, brother; you need to eat, sister. You need to drink! You need to drink! In fact, if you don’t, you’re going to waste away! You’re going to get real sick, spiritually. You’re liable to die!” And it would all be true. But I can’t make you eat, and I can’t make you drink. And you see that this business of the eating and drinking is an individual choice. Also this matter of keeping a good spiritual appetite, so you enjoy eating and drinking. So you’re not in the position of people who have lost their appetite, and they say, “I don’t feel hungry at all, but I’ve got to eat something to keep up my strength.” That’s what we say, isn’t it? You can go through your spiritual life like that, saying, “I’ve got to read the Bible; I’ve got to pray.” But it sure is better if you’re ravenous, right? You’re just starved. You come to prayer time, and you come to reading time, and you say, “Lord! What have You got for me now?”
Jesus has all kinds of things for us, and I’ll tell you this about Jesus’ cooking: it’s nutritious! He knows just how to make us be nurtured spiritually; He knows just what to do. He knows what food you need and just what spiritual exercise you need, too. You see, this all works, doesn’t it? It’s an accurate picture.
So Jesus said, “I live by the Father.” Now this is quite a key, isn’t it? Down here in the body, in the flesh, a body that could be distracted, a body that could get too busy, a body that could develop other appetites, other spiritual appetite than for God, but He said, “I live by the Father.”
Now the same Lord who knew the great importance of what He was telling these people, and what He left for you and I to read this day; He hath designed an ordinance to bring it to our minds in two different lessons. One is, to stress and underline this basic relationship of eating Him, drinking Him, consuming Him just like He did God the Father. And the other, He said, “This do in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19) Jesus wants to be remembered. Jesus wants this thing to stand out in your mind and heart: that He was God, but He came down and took on human form, and went through all the things you and I are going through right now, and did it right, and lived on the Father, and made it to the other side. And He wants us to have that firmly fixed in our minds, a sacred and precious thing, and that we do what we do in remembrance of Him. This is a memorial service to our Elder Brother.
He loved us so much! We can’t know how it was for Him to be God in a human body. It was God in a human body! It still is God! It will always be! But He came down and took upon Him… flesh and blood… like we have. Got inside a body like you and I have. Had a hard time of it down here in terms of trials and battles. Don’t you know that the devil threw everything he had at our Lord? If he could get Him, that would sure wreck the rest of us, wouldn’t it? We wouldn’t have had any chance at all. But this man came down here because He loved us so much! He stayed true and lived on His Father up in heaven, and He was sustained by the Holy Ghost, just as we are meant to be. He ate and drank of His Father, and the nature of His diet showed where His diet was. It was from heaven.
Your life shows what you eat and drink, spiritually. Where your mind was. What you think on. You are what you eat and what you drink, and I am, too. Do you want to prosper spiritually? Make sure you eat and drink the right stuff! And you get plenty of it! You get the exercise that God has designed for us—the trials and battles, the casting of our cares on Him. This is the language of exercise. Be sure that you don’t get restless. Be sure that you don’t get discontented. Be sure you don’t get to the place where you are unconsecrated, or that you’re distracted, or you’re too burdened with the cares of this life. Did Jesus do any of those things? No. Because He lived by the Father. Got to have an anchor outside this world to live for God, don’t you? Something that pulls you into the invisible realm, to be really able to live right down here. This is true, isn’t it?
If I live like Jesus, I won’t get too entangled down here. I won’t get distracted; I won’t get drawn off somewhere. If I can just live on Jesus, and eat and drink Him.
Well, let’s read about this ordinance—how the Lord meant for it to be observed. In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul was speaking to a congregation that wasn’t observing it right, and he told them how he had laid it out before them, and told them again. “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24)
There’s more to this than just the taking of unleavened bread and eating it piece by piece as a congregation. There is a deep meaning behind it, isn’t there? “This is my body, which is broken for you.” Take. Eat. We take a piece; we put it in our mouth; we chew it, so we can swallow it. It goes down. Things work on it in our stomach. And out of what we have eaten comes strength that flows through our blood. It nourishes our fingernails, our hair, our skin, our muscles; we can’t live without this. This is what we actually live upon. Jesus wants us to take the portion of Him into our spiritual heart, meditate on it, get a hold of what it means in terms which make sense to us, pray God to help us understand, to make it relevant to us, until it seeps into us and begins to furnish spiritual strength which flows all through our inner man.
Take. Eat. “This is my body, which is broken for you.” Just how consecrated are you? Take. Eat. Just how separate are you from the world of sin around you? How different are you from your neighbors and the people you rub shoulders with? Take. Eat. How committed are you to carrying out the will of God and not leaning to the things that are legitimate and lawful for you as a man, but you knew that wasn’t the will of God for you, so you’ve kept it on the altar? Take. Eat. Chew it up. Digest it. Let it furnish something to your inner man. Take. Eat. It is unleavened, isn’t it? There’s no carnality in this Bread that came down from heaven. There’s none of the pride of man that puffs up, is there? Take. Eat. Lord, help me to be just an earthen vessel before you! Take. Eat. “I come to do Thy will, O God!” (Hebrews 10:9) Take. Eat. Like Jesus.
Consider the song “More Like Christ”—what could be more fitting for this service, this ordinance? We become what we eat.
So if I must want to be and desire to be more like Christ, I must eat Him. I must carefully take Him in. I must fill my diet with Him.