Lessons Of A Lifetime

BETHLEHEM – THE HOUSE OF BREAD
OR
JESUS – THE BREAD OF LIFE
SUNDAY APRIL 29, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.’”

“And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” Luke 2.15-20

Something To Consider:
Without hesitation, these called upon by God shepherds announced, “Let us now go to Bethlehem…” Bethlehem means house of bread. Jesus in John 6.48 said, “I am the bread of life.” Bread in those days was a much required and desired staple of diet. The eating of bread together was a symbol and act of fellowship and a much-needed method of supplying nourishment to the body. Later in John 6.51 after Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life”, Jesus added, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he [or she] will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

Then, “The Jews [Jewish leaders] therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him [or her] up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He [or she] who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him [or her].” At this point in the life and ministry of Jesus, many disciples turned away and no longer followed Jesus.

We know Jesus was not advocating cannibalism, so what was and what is Jesus suggesting when He associates Himself as the bread of life and instructs His followers that unless they eat of His flesh they have no eternal life? A few lessons ago John declared that in the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was God. In Him, in the Word of God was and is life. And in verse 14 of John chapter 1 it is revealed, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us [in the person of Jesus], and we beheld His glory…” The Word of God became a babe lying in a manger in Bethlehem, the house of bread.

Therefore, according to Jesus, “Whoever eats My flesh…” that is whoever devours My Word, the living Word of God, “I will raise him [or her] up at the last day”, at the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, “Let us go to Bethlehem.” In other words, now let us go to Jesus, the Word of God and the bread of life. Now let us go to the much-needed supply of spiritual nourishment only found in Jesus, the Word of God who came in the flesh, for our daily requirement of His fellowship.

Jesus is our bread of life. He is our supply of daily bread as Jesus prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread.” How fond are we of His daily bread, the Word of God?

Something Else To Consider:
We will either feast on His Word or we will turn away in unbelief! But as for the shepherds, “And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger”, just as it was spoken of by the angel. As did the shepherds, we should make it our first and foremost nature to come with haste, to come without any hesitation to Jesus, the bread of life, to Jesus the Word of God. Coming to Jesus that first Christmas forever changed the lives of those personally hand chosen by God shepherds. Coming to Jesus has also changed the lives of many down through the centuries.

Coming to Jesus still changes lives today. Our coming to Jesus some two thousand years later is still the right thing to do! We are told in John’s gospel chapter 3, “There was a man of the Pharisees [religious leaders of Jesus’ day] named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi [teacher], we know You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he [or she] cannot see the kingdom of God.’

Jesus’ statement took Nicodemus totally by surprise, therefore, “Nicodemus said to Jesus, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ Therefore, Nicodemus was forced by his flesh to proclaim in his absolute spiritual ignorance, “How can these things be?” Even in our spiritual ignorance, we need to come to Jesus as did Nicodemus.

Something More To Consider:
In coming to Jesus, the seed of the Word of God was sown in the heart and mind of Nicodemus as it is in our own lives as we or others come to Jesus even in our spiritual ignorance or lack of biblical knowledge and understanding. We must all start somewhere. After the prophesied and predicted death of Jesus, we find Nicodemus stepping up and out of the darkness of unbelief and onetime ignorance, and joining with Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, as he took part in the solemn rite of preparing the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth for burial.

In our Scripture to consider, Luke revealed the private thoughts of Mary, by writing, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Could this be the very thing Nicodemus did concerning the words of Jesus on that long-ago night time encounter with Jesus? Keeping and hiding the message of God’s Word in one’s heart to be pondered, to be thought upon, to be meditated on, and to be prayed over, is a wise investment of time for leaders and leaders in training especially if these days in which we are living are proved to be the last days.

These daily routines, if they do not become simply religious rituals, may cause a person to return to the duties of everyday life by way of glorifying and praising God as did Mary, for the many things they too have both heard and seen. As Mary, as Joseph, as Zacharias and Elizabeth, as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, will we leave this place today keeping or discarding all these things we have read or heard?

A Few Final Words:
Will we hide these Words of God in our hearts that we might not sin against God? Will we ponder the biblical fact that Jesus is the bread of life? Or will we squander the lessons of a lifetime to be learned and can be found within the pages of holy Scripture? This Word of God is alive and it is powerful and it is sharper than any two-edged sword; all while also being a discerner of our thoughts and our intentions as we go about our daily life with or without our daily bread from the vast fault of God’s Word.

The shepherds of our text made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the Child Jesus. What are we doing with the everlasting message of Jesus? Are our lives making widely known the message of Jesus Christ and His enduring to the end gospel? Or are we heeding the end time false messages of those who will be proven to be in total opposition to the true gospel message that according to Jesus will be preached in all the world before His second coming in great glory when He has promised to gather His elect saints to Himself?

Leaders and leaders in training, who look for the best means of investing their time, talents, and treasure, would do well not to spend themselves on acquiring the bread of this world. But rather, they would do much better investing in both present and future generations of leaders and leaders in training. “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” As we study the Word of God, we will find that God has faithfully made known to His people things which will come to pass in these last days. Therefore, happy treasure hunting!

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, may Your Holy Spirit keep a watchful eye on us to ensure we come to Jesus often to obtain our much-needed daily bread. In Him Always, Amen!

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