You need what only he can give, and he delights to give it. Receive him with thanks, and get accustomed to feeling unworthy and on the receiving end of blessings. Be willing to benefit from his life and sacrifice.
There are still many things Jesus said that I don’t quite understand. This one certainly stands out.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, 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 feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (John 6:53–55)
Jesus is speaking to a diverse group of Jews—some believed, and some wanted to see if he would do a few more miracles like when he fed the five thousand. In such situations, Jesus could be more provocative and cryptic. Yet, at the same time, his purpose was that the people would believe in him, the Son of Man, sent from God. For those with ears to hear, what were they thinking about him at this point? Eat his flesh? Drink his blood?
Perhaps the most similar use of this concept is found in a lovely episode in David’s life (2 Samuel 23). While on the run from his enemies, David openly mused about the wells of Bethlehem and how pleasant it would be to drink from them, which was impossible given that the Philistines were garrisoned there. These were the words of a man who had been on the run for a while, and his thoughts were returning to things familiar. Little did he know that three of his “mighty men” heard these words and considered it an opportunity to bless this man whom they loved like a brother. At great risk to their own lives, they brought David water from the Bethlehem well.But he [David] would not drink of it. He poured it out to the LORD and said, “Far be it from me, O LORD, that I should do this. Shall I drink the blood of the men who went at the risk of their lives?” (2 Samuel 23:16–17)
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By Peter Krol — 10 months ago
Church history is filled with the debates over whether to read this book as an allegory of God’s love for his people or as a literal picture of human marriage. Frankly, I’m not convinced we have to choose only one of those options. If it’s not about human marriage, then the metaphors of God’s relationship with his people would make no sense at all. And if it’s not also about God’s relationship with his people, then Paul, Hosea, and Ezekiel (among others) wouldn’t have gone there. This book gives us much wisdom for dating, marriage, sex, and conflict. And in so doing, it shows us the paradise of knowing Christ and being known intimately by him.
When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, there was only one thing that he declared was not good: the man’s being alone. So God promptly invented romantic love, and his word is very clear about how such love works. It begins with the problem of loneliness, which is not a result of sin but simply a result of being a created being. It proceeds when boy meets girl, and things start to feel really awkward. And the only way to make progress is with poetry, song, and celebration. The World’s Greatest Song (aka The Song of Songs) is here to help.
The poetry in the Song of Songs flits about from character to character, as the woman, the man, and the daughters of Jerusalem all lift their voices in an intricate back-and-forth befitting the subject matter. As a result, the poetry can appear quite mysterious and dense. Thankfully, the poet makes use of two refrains that serve, with minor variations, as paint blazes on the trail to help us follow his train of thought.
Each refrain occurs three times in the book. The first refrain is “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases” (Song 2:7, 3:5, 8:4). The second refrain is “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song 2:16, 6:3, 7:10). These two refrains provide the chief applications to the unmarried (do not awaken) and the married (join in mutual possession). And in addition, they help us to mark many of the book’s divisions.
In addition, the flow of most of the poems moves from separation to union (or reunion). The arcs of each section follow this general pattern where the lovers begin apart from one another and move toward one another to be together.
The chief audience for the Song of Songs is the virgin daughters of Jerusalem, who are addressed all throughout the book. In this way, this book is something of a complement to the book of Proverbs, whose chief audience is the young men of Israel. This doesn’t mean that men have nothing to gain from the Song, but it helps us to understand why the woman is in the spotlight for much of the book.
After the book’s title (Song 1:1), we’re immersed right into the intoxicating nature of love, which is better than wine (Song 1:2-4). Then in the first main poem, the couple delights in the playful back-and-forth of getting to know one another and finding ways to spend time together as their attraction develops (Song 1:5-2:3). As they draw close, however, and move into a place of profound intimacy (Song 2:4-6), the woman emerges from the chamber to warn the virgins of Jerusalem not to awaken such love in themselves until the time is right (Song 2:7).
The second poem (Song 2:8-3:5) focuses on the wooing and courtship, but completely from the woman’s perspective. She describes the man coming to see her (Song 2:8-9), before quoting what he says—or what she hopes he’ll say?—to win her heart for life (Song 2:10-15). She longs for them to achieve mutual possession of one another (Song 2:16) but must still say goodbye at the end of the evening and send him back to his home (Song 2:17). This leads her to dream of what life would be like without him—a reality she cannot bear to accept (Song 3:1-4).
By David Withun — 1 month ago
With the increase in attention to classical education comes a return to the ancient debate. Although we are now separated from their battle by a century, we are not far from the argument between Du Bois and Washington. The recent resurgence of interest in classical education has the potential to open to underserved communities and young people the door to an opportunity that liberal arts education has offered for centuries.
In an 1891 essay penned as a student at Harvard, future civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois asked a provocative question: “Does education pay?”
Anticipating the rivalry with Booker T. Washington that would define much of his early career, Du Bois writes true education is more than just practical job training. Genuine education, Du Bois argues, aims at the higher ends of human life, the “Truth, Beauty, and Virtue” of the tradition that includes Aristotle, Socrates, Michelangelo, Goethe, Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Christ—a few of the denizens of the realm that Du Bois calls “the kingdom of culture.” One enters this kingdom through an education grounded in the liberal arts—the great works of literature, history, philosophy, and science that have explored the nature and meaning of human life.
Today, a liberal arts education continues to have both detractors and defenders. One hotspot for the conflict between the two is the increasing national interest in returning to classical education.
While this movement has been on the rise in charter schools, homeschooling, and private schools for several decades, it has grown even more prevalent during the last few years as the recent pandemic drew attention to the problems in America’s public schools. Just as in the days of W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, much of the conflict over classical education is focused on questions of access, particularly for people of color and children from underserved communities.
In the early 20th century, opponents of classical education favored a vocational focus for the education of black Americans, the white working class, and the masses of new Americans immigrating from across the globe. Their efforts led to the current situation, in which classical schooling has far too often been a privilege available to a select few. With the increasing interest in classical education among diverse communities, many of the old arguments against it have resurfaced.
Opponents of classical education, for example, have argued that its focus on canonical works of literature, history, art, and music is outdated and is not culturally relevant to the current generation of children — the most racially and culturally diverse in the nation’s history. If these critics fear that Greek mythology, Renaissance art, and Roman political intrigues will not capture the short attention spans and inspire the imaginations of today’s youth, a step inside a classical classroom will quickly dispel such notions. When taught with expertise and enthusiasm, the ancient works of Homer, Virgil, and Sophocles have as much ability to capture hearts and minds now as they did thousands of years ago. More than that, young people, through the skillful guidance of a teacher, can pick up and build upon the themes of these works to apply them to their own lives and contemporary circumstances. The rage of Achilles and the homesickness of Odysseus are easily relatable to the lives of today’s high school freshmen, despite the time and cultural distance. The issues of war and displacement, immigration, law enforcement, and justice raised in works like Virgil’s “Aeneid” and Sophocles’ “Antigone” speak readily to the contemporary concerns of young people.
By Kevin Carson — 8 months ago
Even after justification, one can live either according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. Although God changed the operating system, you still have functional control over your life. Even though you now are in-Christ, a new man, your heart remains active either for or against God. Therefore, we must actively put to death the flesh.
Today in our second post related to putting to death the flesh, we look at eight steps to help you mortify the flesh. Earlier this week in posts, we have already discussed from Romans 8 both the incredible comfort of God’s grace and the call of God’s grace. In part one of this post, we answered the question, “What is the flesh?” Remember, as sinners who are in Christ, we no longer have any condemnation; instead, we have been adopted into God’s family, become a joint-heir with Jesus, and can call God “Daddy.” However, we recognize that although we are accepted into God’s family as we are, God still has an agenda by grace to grow us more into Christ, the process we call sanctification. To do this with the greatest proficiency and effectively as possible, the Apostle Paul tells us to mortify or put to death the flesh. Today, we answer the question, “How do you put to death the flesh?” with eight steps to mortify or put to death the flesh.
How Do You Put to Death the Flesh?
Understanding the difficulty of living consistent with our in-Christ, new man, righteous inner man which is clothed in true righteousness and holiness, Paul explained that we must seek to put to death the deeds of the flesh. As we discussed yesterday, although the power of the flesh is broken, the presence of sin remains. Sadly, even after justification, one can live either according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. Although God changed the operating system, you still have functional control over your life. Even though you now are in-Christ new man, your heart remains active either for or against God. Therefore, we must actively put to death the flesh.
Understanding the Battle
Paul describes the battle between the flesh and the Spirit in Galatians 5.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:16-21)
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24)
Paul describes it as a battle. The Spirit leads you toward righteousness but your own fleshly desires and passions fight against that leading. For this reason, back in Romans, Paul instructs:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom 13:14)
In a similar way to Galatians, he essentially highlights the battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Here, he refers to it as putting on Christ, which simply means to live consistent with your in-Christ, new man, righteous inner man. But, this is only part of the battle. In reference to the flesh, he admonishes us to starve it out or make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts. Or, to put to death the flesh