Lent, Part 5: A Difficult Statement
Over these last few weeks, we have seen what we need to do to prepare for the day of Yeshua’s (Jesus’) crucifixion, the day that He told us to “remember Him” by at His last supper (the Passover Seder). We have seen what is required of us, and it is not to give up cake or cookies, but to give up sin in our lives and to actually give up our lives for Him who has not only given us life, but eternal life. We learned that we are to crucify our flesh and walk in the footsteps of our Savior.
This all may seem like very harsh words from our Messiah, and in His day the people responded the same way and it caused them to stumble. The book of John records the story in chapter six beginning at verse 26. This is the “I Am the Bread of Life,” dialogue. We will begin at verse 53: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day, for My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
Verse 60-61 goes on, “Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’ But Yeshua, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, ‘Does this make you stumble?’” Verse 63 says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” Verses 66-69 go on, “As a result of this, many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. Yeshua said therefore to the twelve, ‘You do not want to go away also, do you?’ Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.’”
Walking the life of a believer is difficult, but only if we walk without the Spirit of God; for the Spirit gives us life and the power to live a victorious life in Messiah. You see, the Jewish people knew that Yeshua was not speaking of actually eating His body or drinking His blood which He refers to in the above Scriptures and also at the Seder Meal when He said, “this is My body given for you: do this in remembrance of Me,” and did the same with the cup. He was not saying that the Matzah that He lifted up or the cup was actually His body and blood, but that it represented what He was about to do: the giving of Himself for us so that we may have life. For the believer too must die to himself to obtain life.
To do this, it requires us to walk daily in His Spirit and not by our flesh. This requires us not to eat the flesh of Messiah, but to actually take the Word of God and make it a part of us in our speech, our actions, and our thoughts. It’s what the Bible calls the “renewing of our mind.” Remember, Yeshua is the Word made flesh; in other words, we must eat, as it were, the Word of God. We must allow the Word of God to change us and transform us into His likeness. We now say “NO” to the world’s way and “YES” to God’s way. We crucify our flesh, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:24-25, “Now those who belong to Messiah Yeshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
Today as we prepare to remember Yeshua’s crucifixion and celebrate His resurrection, let us begin by embracing who He is, the Word made flesh, and let us start by making that commitment to each day not only read the Word of God, but put it to practice. To quote the writer of Proverbs referring to the Word, “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.”