Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
The Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Option #1: "Life's Menu"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., M.Div.
I. WHAT TO REJECT
A. Spiritual junk
food--"simple," as in Prov 9:4 (poorly fed)
B. That which leads to a loss of self
control--Eph 5:17-18; the word methusko, i.e., "to be drunk,"
gives the English word "methane"--a gas that can kill
C. Drinking songs as opposed to
spiritual songs--Eph 5:19-20
II. WHAT TO SELECT
A. Spiritual food that leads to
B. Spiritually filling
food--moved or motivated by the Spirit, Eph 5:18
C. The living bread which comes down
from heaven, John 6:51-58
As God fed his people in the desert with manna, so the
Rabbis were expecting the Messiah to perform similar wonders; see below. While
Jesus fed thousands twice (Matt 16:9-10, His primary mission was providing
spiritual food, as He tells us in John 6:51-58, the Gospel appointed for this
NOTES N QUOTES\
When Jesus claimed to be "the living bread that came
down from heaven" (v51), He was apparently alluding to a Rabbinic
tradition that his audience was understanding in a "Capernaitic"
way: re: the bread--This was one of the things which the Jews expected from
the Messiah, as we learn from Midrash Koheleth. Rabbi Berechiah, in the name
of Rabbi Issac said, As was the first Redeemer, so also shall be the latter.
The first Redeemer made manna descend from heaven, as it is said in Exod 16:4,
And I will rain bread from heaven for you. So also the latter Redeemer
shall make manna descend, as it is said, Psa 72:16, There shall be a
handful of corn in the earth. etc. (Treasury of Scriptural Knowledge)
There was ample precedent for the spiritual eating and
drinking to which Jesus was referring. One of the most familiar is from Isaiah
25:6-8: On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food
for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine--the best of meats and the finest of
wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The
Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the
disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
Jesus claims in John 6:58 to be the "bread that came
down from heaven." According to James Strong, the Greek word ouranos has
the implication of happiness, power, eternity, especially when
mentioned in conjunction with the Gospel. Jesus often had to remind his
audience that he was referring to spiritual eating and drinking, as indicated
in John 6:26-29. Note well: "The work of God is this: to believe in the
One he has sent," v29,
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
Spiritual food: nourishment for the soul, referring
specifically (1 Cor 10:3) to the manna by which the children of Israel were
miraculously fed...Hence, (1) Christ Himself as the food of the soul: "I
am the bread of life" (Jn 6:48-58); (2) anything that nourishes the
spiritual life: (a) obedience to the will of God: "My meat is to
do the will of him that sent me" (Jn 4:32-34); (b) the truths of
God in the Scriptures: "Word of righteousness" = "strong
meat" (Heb 5:12-14); "word of God" (Mt 4:4); (c) the
things of the Spirit (1 Cor 3:1-2; compare 1 Cor 2).
Matthew Henrys Commentary on the New Testament: Christ, having thus spoken of himself as the bread of life, and of faith as the work of God, comes more particularly to show what of himself is this bread, namely, his flesh, and that to believe is to eat of that, vv51-58, where he still prosecutes the metaphor of food. Observe here the preparation of this food: The bread that I will give is my flesh (v51), the flesh of the Son of man and his blood, v53. His flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed, v55. Observe also the participation of this food: We must eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood (v53); and again (v54), Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood; and the same words (vv56-57), he that eateth me. This is certainly a parable or figurative discourse, wherein the actings of the soul upon things spiritual and divine are represented by bodily actions...
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Some of you live out in the country. I remember the cats that stayed outside. It was always fun to see where the mother cat had hidden her kittens. If you watched closely enough, you would see her carry the kittens by the nape of the neck to a new hiding place. The mother cat wanted to raise her kittens in a safe place.
Youve probably seen a mother cat lie on her side and give her kittens their supper. God made her so that they could get their milk straight from their mother until they were big enough to eat other food.
Well, the way the mother cat feeds her kittens is the way that Jesus feeds us in His Word. Peter wrote in his first letter: Like newborn babies, crave the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2)
Of all the kittens I ever saw grow up, none of them ate
only once and then grew up to be big and strong. Mother cat had to lie for a
month or two before the kittens could grow strong enough to eat other food. In
todays gospel, Jesus tells us that we eat what he has to feed us by
believing in him. He said: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live
because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
We grow in our faith as Jesus feeds us, gives us of Himself in His Word. If
you dont eat what He has to give, you stop growing. He says that we must
have Him inside of us if we wish to have eternal life.
When the mother cat no longer needs to feed her kittens,
some of her will always be with her children, no matter how far away they
roam. Thats the way it is with Jesus too. "You are what you eat."
Are you eating the right things for your soul and enough of them? Like the
mother cat, Jesus is always there to feed you. Just never think that you will
ever stop needing the food He gives you. Be fed by Him and be strong in your
faith. The food supply will never run out, and in heaven He will feed us
forever. Now thats something to look forward to
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"'Food' to Die For!"
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM