I’ve been reading Dane Ortlund’s new book, Gentle and Lowly. It’s heavily inspired by puritan style writing, namely, those puritans like Bunyan, Owen and Goodwin who could select a single verse of Scripture and squeeze it out for all it’s worth, usually writing a several hundred page book by the time they’re finished. I do not think I have that in me just yet. And I’m definitely no Bunyan or Owen. But for now I’d like to put forth a series of blog entries with that as my inspiration. Let’s call it, “Wringing out the Scriptures”. For the next several blogs I’ll share a text as my intro, and then simply squeeze it out for all that I can find. I have no particular length in mind, but will go until I think I’ve sufficiently made the point, or at least a point.
NOTE: I would greatly appreciate feedback in the blog comments, or on social media. I’d also love to hear you thoughts, or how the lord is ministering to you. Perhaps you could share a Scripture that you’d like to see me “squeeze” out in one of my posts.
Here goes! I’ll begin with a well known word from Jesus.
“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33
Bread is such a simple food. Simple ingredients. Not too expensive. Kings and peasants, rich and poor, have eaten it for millennia. It’s no wonder that Jesus used this to express himself to the world. The Bread of God. God’s bread. Sustenance from the holy God of the universe who formed man, and knows what mankind needs. From the least to the greatest, God knows the needs of men and women.
Look beyond physical bread now. It’s not just your bellies that need filling, It’s your hearts. The religious are content with filling up on what they can flaunt to the world. But Jesus is not interested in that.
Jesus says “The bread of God is He…” So It’s a person. The soul-filling sustenance the world needs is a human. Not just any human, mind you, but the God man. God and man at the same time. The mystery of the triune God, Father, Son and Spirit. The Father sending the Son. The Son willingly going. The Spirit applying the spiritual food to those who know they need it, need Him.
He came down from Heaven. Such grace. If He were like any one of us he would have backed down from the mission.
Go down there? To those sinners? They have rejected me, and some are planning to kill me! Ungrateful creation.
But no! He came down. The Bread of Heaven could not be reached by human effort or religious human ingenuity. We had to be served. “He who is the greatest is servant of all.” That’s Jesus. He’s the bread and the Server all in one, offering Himself up to lowly sinners who are not even worthy of the scraps on the floor. He gives us himself.
He gives life to the world! This is to acknowledge that there is no life outside of Christ. Not true life anyway. How does he give life to the world? Through His death. We come to Him to eat of Him believing that the death He died was our death and the life He gives is acceptable to the Father. Our sins placed Him there. Not His. What did we have to offer him for this life he gives us? Nothing. We came to Him naked and tattered with sin and shame, having no righteousness of our own, dead in our trespasses and stuck in the grave. Yet He loved us still. “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” By faith, we die with Him, our sins are buried and cast as far is east is from the west, and because he is raised, we are raised with Him.
We have but one thing to do now. Say, “give me this Bread!” Having eaten and tasted the goodness of His redeeming love, we must give this bread to more poor and hungry sinners, such as we were.