Jesus, the “Real” Foodie
“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” John 6:55
Though I would not consider myself a “foodie,” I do love me some food. I am not an expert of food nor drink by any stretch of the imagination, but I know good barbecue when I smell it. I know the difference between Folgers and Starbucks. I know when a hamburger is made of cow or mushrooms. And I know the difference between spicy and “sho’ nuff” hot. In fact, if every day were Taco Tuesday, I would be okay with that. Heck, the reason I went into the Baptist ministry was because of church potlucks. I may not be a foodie, but I love me some food.
Similarly, I know the difference between real food and fake food. You know, the difference between pork sausage and turkey sausage. The difference between whole milk and skim milk. The difference between grilled chicken and fried chicken; impossible whoppers and a Big Mac; Cold banana pudding and warm “nanner” puddin’; chocolate milk and chocolate drink; Coke and Pepsi (don’t even try to tell me Pepsi is a real beverage); Cracker Barrel breakfast and Sonic breakfast; Chick-Fil-A and Zaxby’s. We can all tell when food and drink are the real deal, and when they are a sad impersonation.
This is why what Jesus says after feeding the 5,000 in John 6 intrigues me. It is so intriguing (hard to understand?) that John tells us many who were following Jesus left Him after He said this.
“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”
What the what?
We Baptist’s (and most other denominations) do not believe Jesus meant (or still means when we partake of the Lord’s Supper) to actually, physically eat of His body and/or drink His blood. We have no record of that ever happening before, during, or after His death, burial, and resurrection. When Jesus talked about eating His flesh and drinking His blood, it was not a physical – sit down for supper – kind of act He was insisting on.
So what does He mean? What is, in the mind of Jesus, “real food” and “real drink”?
Could it be a spiritual relationship with Him is the most real thing about a person? Could it be that our soul is the most real thing about us? Could it be that the most important thing about any of us is our heart, our soul, the part of us that is spiritual? Could it be that Jesus is saying that anything – other than Himself – that our souls feed off of is fake and will leave us empty?
I think so.
Jesus is the most real Being in all the universe. He is the most complete, perfect, and whole God-man that ever has and will exist. Our souls are the part of us that impact and drive everything else (see Proverbs 4:23). When our soul feasts on the Person and finished and continuing work of Jesus – we are actually “eating” real food and “drinking” real drink. When we allow our spirit to be nourished by God’s love for us in the sacrificial, atoning work of Jesus accomplished for us on the cross – we are being, finally, really fed.
Jesus’ very intriguing statement is a remarkable invitation for the most real part of you to finally feast. He is welcoming you to peacefully enjoy the fact that everything has already been done for you to be an eternal son or daughter of God. His body did everything for us that we could never do on our own. His blood endured the wrath we deserve for all the wrongs we do. Letting your heart “go there,” by believing and embracing and treasuring Him is actual, real food and actual, real drink.
What are you eating today? What are you drinking?
Let me save you some time (and heartache). Jesus said if you go to Him, you will never hunger or thirst for anything else. In fact, everything else is “fake food.” You can go for the other stuff if you like. But you’ll know it’s just not right.
Kind of like the difference between your grandmother’s chocolate pie and, well, anything else.