51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" 53 So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." (NRS)
We have just completed a lengthy look at Holy Communion and this passage is often associated with some views about Communion. But, if we separate the idea from Communion, this passage still holds a lot of significance. It’s about receiving Christ into one’s life. It’s about digesting God’s wisdom. It’s about being changed or transformed into the likeness of Christ and being completely dependent upon the strength of the Holy Spirit for our sustenance.
I hear people criticize Christianity by suggesting that Jesus is some kind of psychological crutch for people that are too weak to take responsibility for their own actions. I think that cannot be further from the truth. In fact, those who surrender themselves and permit the Holy Spirit to guide demonstrate greater courage and strength than those who give in to the ways of the world.
Our sermon series entitled “Purified” looks at how God changes and purifies our lives. It does not mean that Christians can’t have any fun, but it means instead that we are moved by the Spirit and made clean by God’s holiness, not our own. When we receive Christ we receive the entirety of who and what God is, so we should submit to letting God do what he would with our lives. God will not force himself upon us, but we can surrender, be made pure by the cleansing of the Spirit, and live a fuller, happier life in the Spirit than we could have ever achieved without God’s presence in us.