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God and the Candy Machine in the Sky

CandyI’ve been posting about how similar our modern attitudes are to the crowd in John Chapter 6.  They seem to have their eyes on the temporary, while Christ is trying to point them to the eternal.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:35-40

Notice that Jesus repeats Himself here.  Two times He said to them, “I will raise them up at the last day.”  It’s a very simple statement.  It’s so simple, in fact, that most Christians miss it as well.

He told them that if they come to Him and put their trust in Him, He’ll give them eternal life and He’ll raise them up at the last day.  The key is that you must have this eternal life in you BEFORE you enter the grave.  If you have this eternal life in you, then death will not be able to keep you any more than it could hold on to the Lord.

He said it twice yet they didn’t hear him.  Look at their reaction.

At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
John 6:41

It went right over their heads.  They missed it.  The Lord said you can have eternal life and that He’d raise you up at the last day.  All they heard was that He thinks He’s bread that has come down from heaven.  “What does He mean He’s bread coming down from heaven?”

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered.  “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:42-44

Jesus is desperately trying to get it into their head that He wasn’t emphasizing bread coming down from heaven.  He was trying to get them to embrace eternal life.  Over and over again He said, “I’ll raise him up at the last day.”  They just didn’t get it.

I think, that just like us, they didn’t want to get it.  They could tell that what Jesus was talking about meant change.  They would have to change their views and attitudes about God.  The Lord would no longer be that big “candy machine in the sky,” but a friend with whom you must spend time cultivating a relationship.

Question: How do you deepen your relationship with Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Encouragement, Return of Christ

 

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Birth of Christ…A Sign of Things to Come

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Christmas Eve.  Our thoughts turn to the Child born in a stable in Bethlehem.

This is the day everything changed.  Christ was born.  God made flesh.

And yet, many people miss the significance of the events that occurred that day.  Sometimes the smallest detail can make a world of difference.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke 2:8-12

At night in Bethlehem, everyone was asleep in their beds.  Well, not everyone.  There was a group of people who couldn’t sleep.  They had a job to accomplish.  They were shepherds watching over a flock of sheep.

Suddenly the unexpected occurred.  They had a supernatural encounter.  An angel showed up with an important message for them.  The Christ was born.

But more than that – there was a sign.  That means there was a special thing they were to look for to prove they were in the right place.  A baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.

This sign to the shepherds was more than just proof for them.  It was a sign of things to come.  This baby was placed in a manger – not a crib or cradle.  A manger is a fancy way of saying a feeding trough for livestock.  It’s a place for animal food, not babies.

Yet this was the “Bread of Heaven” who came down to give us life.  So for Christ, this was an appropriate resting place for Him.  The Bread of Life lying in a feeding trough.

The strips of cloth were another sign. It wasn’t the normal kind of baby clothes of that day.  Strips of cloth were used to clothe the dead, not the living.  This baby was dressed as a corpse.  Again – it was a sign of things to come.

Here was the Lamb of God.  He has come to take our place on the cross.  Even as a baby, His calling was revealed.  Death, burial, resurrection and ascension – all for our sakes.

On this great day, amid all the activities and excitement you may find around you, don’t lose sight of the signs.  This child we celebrate is no longer a baby.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is our Life and Light.  This season is all about Him.

Have a Blessed and Wondrous Christmas!

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Encouragement, Worship

 

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The Mountain Feast

Isaiah 25:6-8
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.  On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.  The LORD has spoken.

I remember the first time I thought of buying a freeze-dried meal for hiking.  I was at my local hiking store and asked one of the salespeople if this food was any good.

He replied, “It’s like this.  At the end of a day of walking up and down mountains for 10 miles, with 35 pounds on your back, it will taste like you’re in a four star restaurant…just don’t try to eat them at home!”  It seems that everything tastes better after a hike in the mountains.

God did His best work on Mt. Calvary.  When Jesus went to the cross, He destroyed death and opened up the way to the greatest blessing we could imagine – a feast for our weary souls.  He is the Bread of Heaven and the Living Water.  If we feed on Him we will never hunger and thirst again.

Meditate on these things today as you go throughout your day.  God is good.  He has a banquet laid out for our souls.  All we need to do is spend time with Him to avail ourselves of His bounty.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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