Author Topic: The Table Of Life  (Read 41 times)

Shadow Rider

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The Table Of Life
« on: August 15, 2018, 08:03:45 pm »
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The Table Of Life
Contributed by Shawn Drake on Jan 9, 2002

Sunday Morning May 4, 2000 Bel Aire Baptist Church Hobbs, NM

THE TABLE OF LIFE

JOHN 6:51-58

Introduction:

1. Three old men, tired of being old, sneaked off from their retirement village on afternoon for a stolen dip in a nearby pool. It was an indoor pool, in one wing of a huge house that was apparently used only at night. Ignoring the strange glow near the bottom, they slowly, painfully entered the pool at the shallow end.  They had a wonderful time, floating in the water. Back home that afternoon they felt better than they had in years, so good in fact that they decided to do it again the next day and the next. Very soon it became clear that this was no ordinary pool. The same men who were creaking down the steps only days before were now doing cannonballs and back flips off the diving board. Back at the retirement village they were eating spicy Mexican food, dancing the tango, and flirting with their wives.

2. That’s a scene from the movie "Cocoon", and to anyone who has ever grown tired of being old or feeling old, it is a delightful fantasy a pool in which old age is washed away. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!?

3. Hundreds of years ago, tribes of Indians in Central America and the West Indies believed a spring like that existed in the Bahamas Islands. Spanish explorers tried to find it. Ponce de Leon searched in Florida for a fountain of youth that would make those who bathed in it forever young. Can you imagine wrinkled skin becoming instantly taut and toned again?

Arthritic joints growing suddenly supple and strong?

Or the pleasure of leaving your cane in the corner, throwing your pills away, and still keeping your membership in the AARP?

If all that were really possible, wouldn’t it be worth a search for the fountain of youth?

4. But when you talk to young people, they will quickly tell you that youth isn’t all its’ cracked up to be. Yes, you can get out of a chair without groaning, but you can’t show off pictures of your grandchildren. And then there are all those things to worry about: Will I be able to go to college?

Will I get a decent job?

Will I ever get married?

Will America go to war?

Will this pimple on my nose be gone before my date on Saturday night?

Ask a thirteen year old if she would like to stay thirteen forever and she will answer in one word: no. Although a youthful body would certainly have its advantages, it is not really eternal youth we’re looking for. It’s something else.

I. The Search For Life

What we want is that something my friend Sean discovers when he is sitting on the sidelines at a soccer game, watching his daughter race up and down the field, occasionally getting a foot on the ball. In a folding chair, with friends and neighbors nearby, on a Saturday morning, with work two days away, Sean might turn to you and say, "It doesn’t get any better than this," and what he means is that, young or old, this is the things of real living. 

This is what fills our memories and our scrapbooks. This is what brings a smile to your face a three o’clock on Monday afternoon. This is life. And if we want anything to last forever, it is this.  Not youth. Life.  So, I don’t think Jesus could have come to us with any more provocative invitation than the one He brings, the offer of eternal life. And this sixth chapter of John is filled with references to that offer.  John 6:51(NRSV): "I am the living bread that came down from heaven," Jesus says. "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever".

And when Jesus talks about living forever, you can be sure that He is not talking about merely existing forever. This is the same Jesus who says, in chapter ten of this Gospel, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly"  (John 10:10, NRSV).

Abundant life is made up of those moments when you want to take a deep breath and hold it. When you want time to stand still for just a little while. All those moments when you think to yourself, "It doesn’t get any better than this." That’s real living, and we would do almost anything to make it last forever.  Almost anything.

II. The Price Of Life

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven," Jesus says. "Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews said to each other, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52, NRSV).

It’s a repulsive image. But Jesus goes on: "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. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life" (John 6:53, NRSV).

In the Greek it is even more repulsive: the word for "eat" is the word "trogon", which is usually translated, "to chew." "Chew my flesh," Jesus says. "That’s the way to eternal life."

The Jews walked away. "This is a hard saying," they murmured. "Who can hear it?" (John 6:60, KJV).

And they were right. It is hard. But it is not impossible. You who have ears to hear, hear Jesus say something like this: "I am the Source of Life, but in the same way that you won’t get full by having bread in your house, you won’t gain eternal life by being merely acquainted with Me. It takes more than that.  It takes a kind of daily ’feeding’ on Me, if you will allow such a crude analogy. I must become the air you breath, the water you drink. You must learn to hunger for Me in the same way you hunger for meat and potatoes."

III. Hunger For Life

To be honest, I haven’t met many people who were that hungry for Christ maybe not any, myself included. But I get the idea from this passage that if we could ever develop such a hunger, it would be satisfied, and that in that satisfaction we might discover what it is we have been searching for: not eternal youth, but eternal life. And in that moment we might turn to a friend with a look of perfect contentment on our faces and say, "It doesn’t get any better than this."

So that’s what this table is for, this table of life: not to satisfy our hunger but to whet our appetites, to call us into ever deeper communion with Christ so that every day of our lives we might wake up longing to feast on the Bread of Life.  These are hard words, I know. But if you would do anything for eternal youth, will you do this one thing for eternal life?

Will you make a promise as you eat the bread and drink the cup this morning that this will be only the beginning for you, that this symbolic act will be only the first step in a lifetime of "feeding" on Christ?

If you can do that, I think you will find that the next time we gather at this table you will have discovered what few people ever do, and you will know just what Jesus was talking about when He said, "This is the bread that came down from heaven, and those who eat this bread will live forever."

Conclusion:

1. Will you join me at the table of life?

2. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience to Jesus who died for our sins.

3. If you are not a Christian, you are not to take of this Lord’s Supper, because to you it would be a lie.

4. This eternal life is offered to any who will accept it, but only you can accept it.