In John 6:53 Jesus said,
“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 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
During the Last Supper, Jesus repeats these instruction:
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
— Matthew 26:26-29
Jesus’ body is beaten, and His blood is poured our for our salvation. This metaphor of eating His body (flesh) and drinking His blood commands us to learn, understand and apply the Word to our lives, so that the Word becomes part of our being. God wants His Word deep within us so that it changes us. We are what we eat, and drink.
Through Jeremiah, God speaks of this new covenant, and how deeply He wants it to be a part of our lives:
33 “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
— Jeremiah 31:33
Just think of the effort that it requires of us to have the Word become part of our being. If you want to get fit you need to work out for more than 5 minutes a day to see results. You really have to push yourself. The level of effort God is calling us to make is captured perfectly in Deuteronomy 6:5, which Jesus recites and validates in the New Testament:
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Note the word “strength”. Loving God, which is synonymous with knowing the Word, is not just spiritual and mental, but physical. There is a physical element to knowing the Word which obviously starts with reading it, because you cannot know the Word if you do not read it. But it also requires prayer for insight and understanding – having ears that hear – and meditating upon the things we read. There are commentaries, cross-references, study bibles and bible studies, lexicons and a slew of Christian books that will help us further our knowledge, understanding and application of the Word. But, all these things take time and effort.
We have to tenaciously seek Jesus. We need to desire His body and blood! We need to be like a starving person seeking food. Like Esau when he gave up his birthright for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:29-34).
Like Esau? Yes, like Esau.
Jesus wants us to give up our birthright. Not the birthright that our parents may leave us, but the birthright of this world: the careers that consume us to the point where we ignore our families; binge watching series after series rather than binge reading the Bible; over consumption of food and drink rather than feeding God’s sheep; bar-hopping and one-night-stands rather than a proper courtship; focusing on another person’s spouse when we need to focus on our marriage; or satisfying our daily urges regardless of the consequences. This is just a short list of many things that the world offers. It seems the last thing most people want is a moral compass or the proper focus to navigate through what is superficial and temporary to find what is deep, meaningful, everlasting, and truly fulfilling.
Nothing that this world has to offer will transition over into our next life in eternity, except what God commands us to do, which is love Him with all of our hearts, mind, soul and strength (Mark 12:30), love others as much as He loves us (John 13:34), and to care for His sheep (John 21:15-17). Everything in this world is like a vapor and will soon be gone (James 4:14).
Esau gave up his inheritance for a bowl of soup, which probably took 5 minutes to eat. But Jesus wants us to give up our inheritance for eternal life in the Kingdom.