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John 6:48-58

 
I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
 
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on 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. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
(ESV)
God's Gift of the Flesh
Friday of Easter 7
13 May 2016
People today do not know the difference between the DaVinci Code and the Mosaic code. The DaVinci Code is just a modern rewrite of an ancient heresy called Gnosticism. The ancient Gnostics denigrated the creation and the value of the things in the created world. The human flesh was not only valueless, but a thing to be disdained or gotten rid of. So, in the Gnostic Gospel of Judas, Judas is commended by Jesus for betraying Him unto death. In a Gnostic view, death is good because it is what releases Jesus from the flesh.
 
In a strange twist of argumentation the Gnostics proceeded from the valuelessness of the flesh to being able to indulge the flesh in sexual immorality and debauchery. If the flesh has nothing to do with our salvation, if the flesh cannot receive or bear the gifts of God, if the flesh is the accidental creation of an inferior divine being, then whatever we do with it can not make any difference to our "spiritual" lives.
 
Spirituality has nothing whatever to do with the flesh in this kind of thinking. I can be truly "spiritual" and also a sexual lecher and pornographer. It is no wonder that the Gnostic heresy is seeing such a powerful revival in the twenty-first century. This is a post-modern "two-fer;" feeling good about my own spirituality and doing whatever I please with my body. Thus the Gnostic "Jesus" can have a sexual consort, Mary Magdalene, with whom he produces fleshly heirs and still remain some kind of "spiritual" leader.
 
To free us from this slavery to bodily passions is what Christ takes on our flesh to accomplish. The battle with those who thought anything could be done with the body without harm to "spirituality" was long ago joined by the apostles who were eyewitnesses of the ministry of Jesus (unlike Dan Brown). St. Paul tells us in 1Co 6:18-20:"Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." Our human flesh is not ours to use as we please, but a temple redeemed by the enfleshment of the Son of God, a temple sanctified by the Holy Spirit, a temple through which we glorify God. Christ became flesh to redeem flesh. This is why the Mosaic code gives us the moral law so that we might use God's gift of the flesh according to His will.

 

Formula of Concord

"The Scriptures speak not merely in general of the Son of Man, but also indicate clearly His received human nature, 'the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin' (1Jn 1:7). This is true not only according to the merit of Christ's blood that was once obtained on the cross. But in this place John means that in the work or act of justification, not only the divine nature in Christ but also His blood actually cleanses us from all sins (1Jn 1:7). So in John 6 Christ's flesh is a life-giving food (Jn 6:48-58). The Council of Ephesus (431 A.D.) also concluded from this statement that Christ's flesh has the power to give life. Many other glorious testimonies of the ancient orthodox Church about this article are cited elsewhere.
 
"Now Christ, according to His human nature has received this. It has been given and communicated to the received human nature in Christ. We shall and must believe this according to the Scriptures. But, as said above, the two natures in Christ are united in such a way that they are not mingled with each other or changed one into the other. Each retains its natural, essential property, so that the properties of one nature never become the properties of the other nature. Therefore this doctrine must be rightly explained and diligently guarded against all heresies.
 
"We, then, invent nothing new by ourselves, but receive and repeat the explanations that the ancient orthodox Church has given about this from the good foundation of the Holy Scripture."

Formula of Concord, SD 8.59-61
 
Prayer
O Lord, lead me into all truth through the means You have ordained to convey Yourself to me, Your flesh and blood. Armed with that truth about Your gracious gifts, enable me to confess You to this confused and ignorant generation, groping for "spirituality" but not having the true power of Your holy Incarnation and Word. Amen.
 
For Mary Lewis who is struggling with weakness and disease, that our heavenly Father would bring healing to her flesh
 
For the family of Paul Lodholz as they prepare to lay his mortal remains to rest unto the day of the resurrection of all flesh, that they might find strength and comfort in the certainty of God's promises to them
 
For all those who in their spiritual ignorance have been duped by modern Gnosticism, that God would reveal Himself to them in the flesh of Christ, and that they would finally be saved
 
For the people of Concordia, Missouri, mourning the loss of two students from St. Paul Lutheran High School by drowning, that they might find comfort in the power of the resurrection and the life of the world to come
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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