Have you seen this video? It’s a little boy getting cochlear implants and hearing his mother’s voice for the first time. Think about that. Your mother’s voice for the first time. Unless you had never heard your mother’s voice- you wouldn’t understand.
We’ve been talking about Jesus lately at church…I know, I know…crazy right? But think about this.: Jesus says “I am the light of the world.” That is only good news if you had no light or you had never seen. Jesus says “I am the bread of life” and that is only good news if you were hungry. It got me thinking- what do we actually need Jesus for? And how does Jesus help a community that doesn’t need Him? Unless we recognize our brokenness and low places- we’ll never need a Savior. Early in Jesus ministry He went home to continue to heal people and do some of the miracles He had been performing in other places. But they didn’t need Him- they didn’t recognize Him as anything other than “Mary and Joseph’s boy.” And then the scriptures tell us in Luke 4: Jesus left. Because if a community doesn’t need Him, Jesus takes His presence elsewhere.
I don’t know about you- but I’ve been especially aware lately that I need a savior. Not in a religious, pastor type way. But in a broken, “I’m not quite good enough” type way. No, I can’t do life very good on my own. I need help often to cling to the hope in this broken world. To cling to peace in my own interior life that can feel such anguish and stress. Yes I’m the broken. I’m the deaf. I’m the poor in spirit. I’m the hungry.
This last Sunday we took a look at this weird passage in John 6 where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” and then encourages His followers to “Eat my flesh and drink My blood”. You can find the passage here. To be sure, it’s a hard passage to understand. Imagine hearing this message from Jesus. Eat flesh. Drink blood. Bread of life. What does it mean? And better yet, who can do it??? Who can possibly follow the guidelines of this new brand of religion? This man Jesus must be crazy! How can I possibly do everything right to follow Him?
The genius here on Jesus part is simply this: I can’t. I can’t do it. I can’t eat the flesh and drink the blood. Jesus moves from Law “do these things and all will be ok” to a purely impractical statement. Why??? Why does Jesus sometimes talk like this? Because you can’t do it on your own! We need Jesus to enter into the best life possible.
In this passage Jesus had just taken 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread and in a miracle, He fed literally thousands of people. How does this work? Because Jesus ushers in a new economy where 5 fish + 2 loaves= ENOUGH. God’s economy doesn’t make sense to me. Its not balanced budget- it’s the radical grace of God. This doesn’t make sense to me and so I cling to my radical self-sufficiency. I doubt that Jesus can take the 5 fish and 2 loaves of my spiritual life and weave it into something beautiful. So I feel slow to trust Him. And then I finally realize- my “economy” that makes such logical sense – really isn’t working for me. Trusting myself and my own ends leads me to places of feeling bankrupt. And in these places I yell out to God: ‘I can’t do this!” I cry out and I fail and then I cling to Him. Perhaps this is what Jesus means- He is the bread of life. Because on my own I just always feel hungry. But when I’m following Jesus I have a wholeness, a fullness, not of my own strength but of His.
I’ll be preaching about this need for Jesus a bit this Sunday at Bethany North at 9:15 and 11- if you’re in town you should stop by. Maybe we could do this journey together.