Eating Death, Receiving Life

Christian eating habits are strange: our sin resulted in the death of Jesus, and as His memorial, we eat His body and drink His blood. Sin devours Jesus, and we feast on His carcass. But John the Baptist wants to know why we think it’s so strange.

As our reading from Mark’s gospel reminded us, John came eating locusts and wild honey. Throughout the Bible, locusts are devourers and destroyers, which Pharoah learned the hard way. They come and eat the grain and produce that was meant to keep you alive. But John turns their destructiveness on its head: he eats them.

Honey tells the same story, according to Samson. Samson found honey in the carcass of a dead lion, the devourer of the animal kingdom, and turned it into a riddle: “Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.” Life-giving food from a death-bringer; we eat the things that bring death, and from them we get life.

Jesus came to solve that riddle, and John’s strange diet was a big clue. Locusts and lions bring death, but God brings life out of death. Out of the darkness of Death the Devourer comes the broken bread of life. Out of the stinging strength of sin comes the blood-red wine of forgiveness. Sin puts death on the menu, but God turns it into a feast for the life of the world.

So Christian, come to the Lord’s table and eat, and receive your life from His death.

Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 by CJ Bowen