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. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever. John 6: 57-58 I really like this passage because it is one of the passages that brings the Bible – Old Testament and New Testament – together and reminds me it is a cohesive story of salvation, not just a big book divided into 2 separate parts that tell us about “before Jesus” and “after Jesus”. In the OT, bread is a staple part of every day’s meal (sometimes the only thing available to sustain life) and blood was a very important symbol of purification. In the NT, Jesus comes as the Bread of heaven and sheds his blood to purify those who accept Him as Savior.
Another neat bridge between Old and New Testaments is the part of this passage that says, “This is the bread that came down from heaven.” In the OT, after God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He provided them with manna to eat – it literally fell from heaven. They were to get up in the morning and gather just enough for that day’s nourishment and God would provide more the next day; they were always fed, not having to worry about whether they’d have sustenance tomorrow. Then, in the NT, Jesus is born in Bethlehem which literally means “House of Bread” and He is called the Bread of heaven. I mean that’s just a cool connection! (Ya’ll know I’m a nerd and when I get jazzed about these things, please forgive me.)
Then there’s the Spirit/spirit connection. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God removed from them His Spirit (ruach; breath). That caused the God and human connection to go from inside our very being to a broken, external connection and every relationship we’ve had since has been outside of us. Sure, we can hug our friends, kiss our kids, and even have the closest of physical intimacy with our spouses, but we cannot regain that God-breathed connection man had with his Creator without intervention by God. In the New Testament, thankfully, we have been given a way to regain that “inside” connection through Communion. Jesus tells us to literally eat His body and drink His blood in the Blessed Sacraments of Communion! In doing so, our once-broken relationship with God is mended and we have the promise that in heaven we will be “re-ruached” (forgive me, Pastor, if I totally broke the word) or re-Spirited by God through Jesus Christ. What a promise!
I just love seeing connections in the Bible! Growing up, I went to church but never really “got it”. The Bible really was a book about “before Jesus” and “after Jesus” to me, not the whole story of God’s work of salvation of His beloved children. He wants to draw us to Himself and breathe His Spirit into us once again. So, let’s eat the Bread and drink the Blood while waiting to live with Him forever!