I have a confession to make. Two actually. First, that picture of rugged toddler masculinity is in fact me. The second confession is that just like that two-year old birthday boy I still tend to be a picky eater. Growing up three words I hated hearing the most were, “Clean your plate!” When I was a wee little lad still sporting the high chair I developed a method for avoiding the food I disliked. Like a king upon his throne I would dismiss the evening offerings with the regal grace of a flip of the wrist. In other words I would throw it on the floor beneath my high chair. Yet, for all my firstborn right, for all my toddler cunning my mother was far shrewder.
One evening I sat upon my throne sifting between the edible and the remaining slop not fit for man or beast. After surveying the offering I rendered my judgment…TO THE FLOOR!!! Suddenly, like the space shuttle in launch, the moorings of my tray were released and I found myself being lifted from the earth. What began as a glorious trip to the heavens quickly transitioned into a crash landing across her knee. Yes…I got spanked. To make matters worse, my mother had gotten wise to my rendering of culinary judgment. Unbeknown to me this bastion of maternal affection that brought me into the world had secretly placed a sheet beneath my high chair. If I wouldn’t eat it from my throne, I would eat it from the floor. And eat it from the floor I did! Well played mother, well played. I told you she was shrewd!
Now, reading that you may laugh. You may be horrified and think its abuse. Relax. I’m OK. To tell the truth I’m grateful for that experience. It’s one of the earliest memories I have and while I didn’t realize it at the time it was the first spiritual lesson I ever learned in life: You can’t just eat what you want. Often it’s that which we find most unpalatable which is most necessary for us to consume.
2,000 years ago Jesus dealt with the finicky eating habits of the masses. But, rather than cave to their tantrums and “cook” to their whims Jesus challenged them to expand their palate. Jesus put a sheet under their high chair stating, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no part of me.”
When Jesus said we must ‘eat his flesh and drink his blood’ what was he saying? Here is what I believe. The flesh and blood symbolized all of who Jesus is. It’s the total package not just the attractive part. Jesus is the bread and Jesus is the word. To have life we must consume and digest all of the word not just the parts that are easily palatable to us! We can’t pick and choose what we like. We can’t pick and choose what we believe and ignore what we don’t like.
All of his word is truth and we must accept that and incorporate it all into our daily life. If we are unwilling to accept and consume all of who he is we aren’t actually serving Jesus. We are serving a God after our creation. This is the essence of idolatry; the exaltation of our carnal reasoning. Like Adam in the garden we disregard and we substitute based upon the preference of our carnal man. As with Adam our result will be the same. When we feed only according to our fleshly preferences we eat of death.
So why does he want us to consume all of him? Because unlike manna he is the bread that rises! As we eat all that he is, he promises to raise us up unto eternal life. When we consume all the Word of God and apply it to our daily life our carnal man gets crucified. It’s uncomfortable. Let’s be honest it downright hurts! But, here’s the thing; there can be no resurrection where there has not first been a death!
Four times in John chapter six Jesus declares that it is the Father’s will that we be raised up.
39 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.
40 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.
44 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.
54 Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
The unpalatable word will kill you, but that’s alright. It’s supposed to. The Word that kills you is the Word that will perfect and resurrect you. So go on…“clean your plate!”