We are on a special diet during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Jesus Christ talked about a special diet that we should be striving for.
Well, good afternoon everyone. It sure is good to see you all. Beginning last night we started watching what we eat, and I kept watching and watching and watching and sometimes it is a challenge when we’re faced with the difficulties of being aware of the things we are eating. Sometimes maybe you’ve been questioned, “Well, why aren’t you eating that hamburger bun?” Ever happened to you where people question what you’re doing this week? But it’s not really that odd is it? It’s not strange its,… well there are some strange things, there are some weird diets that are out there, no doubt. There are no doubt there are so many of them. I heard of one – a mother was complaining to her doctor. She went to the doctor and said, “Doctor, my daughter is into this really strange diet.” And he said, “Well what’s the problem?” She said, “Well, all day long all she does is lay in bed eating yeast and car wax.” The doctor just looked at her and said, “Oh.” The mother just was so worried and concerned she said, “What is going to happen to her because she’s just eating yeast and car wax?” The doctor was very calm. He just said, “Don’t worry, one day she’ll rise and shine.” Ok my one yeast joke for the week, ok? You try to come up with a yeast joke, there are not that many out there.
But there are weird diets. I went onto Web MD and printed out a list of all the different diets that they have listed on their site, and there are some strange ones. There’s on that’s called the African Mango Diet. Have you ever heard of that? Must have something to do with mangos, I don’t know. Of course, everybody’s heard of the Atkins Diet. Now there is the opposite, there’s one that’s called the High Carb Diet, so I guess you eat all the bread you want to in that diet. On TV you’ve maybe heard of The Biggest Loser? It’s one of the big popular program that’s been on. It’s been on for years, something like 8 million people watch every episode of The Biggest Loser. They go through their whole regimen of different things that they eat. Probably heard of the Cabbage Soup Diet, otherwise known as the Smelly Diet. There’s one I thought might be one for me, it’s called The Eat More Weigh Less Diet. I was practicing that last night already, maybe you were as well. There’s the Grapefruit Diet and of course the ones we’ve always heard of, the Southbeach, the Jenny Craig, the Nurtri-System, the Weight Watchers, Mayo Clinic diets, I mean there’s so many to choose from. How about the Vegan Diet, there’s even one called the Skinny Vegan Diet which I thought was kind of saying the same thing. If your only eating those kinds of things you’re probably going to be skinny. But there are so many choices out there, obviously it shows that we live in an age of dieting and people are crazy as they are scrambling to come up with some kind of way to lose weight and eat what supposedly is right for them.
But here’s a question especially as we come into the Days of Unleavened Bread and we are watching what we eat. We are on a special diet for the next seven days aren’t we? Well, what would Jesus eat? We’ve heard that question before, what would Jesus do? Well, what would Jesus eat? There was a diet that didn’t show up on this list that not a lot of people talk about. But it’s a diet that Jesus Himself talked about. It was a diet that He suggested for all of us, but it didn’t make the Web MD list. In fact, these diets offer all kinds of benefits. Every one of them a little bit different, but things that are going to help you, things that are going to make you skinny, things that are going to make you feel better, things that are going to help you to be healthy. And yet the diet that Christ talked about was a diet that was spiritually high-carb and spiritually full of nutritional value. But Christ’s diet that He talked about was amazing in the way that it promised things that almost seemed unbelievable. I mean some of the promises that these diets offer are amazing when you read about them. I think the reason there are so many of them is maybe they don’t work all that well, all that often. But you know the diet that Christ talked about, He made extravagant claims, amazing promises but there was a different type of attitude when it comes to the diet that Christ talked about because He can deliver on those promises. And we might read right over it and not see the diets that Christ talked about. He talked about at least two – one that He suggested and another diet that was one that probably could associated with some of the diets on Web MD. And He lists those over in John 6. John 6:27 John 6:27Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.
American King James Version×Christ speaks of at least two diets here, or at least I think we can put it in the category of watching what we eat. And in John 6:27 John 6:27Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.
American King James Version×Christ tells us the kind of food that’s good for us and I think you could say, a couple of different diets He’s talking about. He says:
John 6:27-35 John 6:27-35 27 Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they to him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent.
30 They said therefore to him, What sign show you then, that we may see, and believe you? what do you work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.
34 Then said they to him, Lord, ever more give us this bread.
35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.
American King James Version× Do not labor for the food which perishes, …ok, there’s one diet, then He says… . But labor for the food which endures… so I think He’s talking about two different kinds of diets. We have the Perishable Diet and we have the Bread of Life Diet and Christ speaks to these two diets and gives us a lot of information about the kind of diet that is spiritually healthy for each one of us. Notice what He says, this Bread of Life Diet has food that endures… . to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”… Now that’s a big promise. That’s huge promise isn’t it? This kind of diet isn’t just going to make you physically healthy, He says this leads to eternal life. That’s a big promise. None of the Atkins or the Nutri Systems, or the Five Factor diets, or the Hormone Diet or the Flat Belly Diet or the Cave Man Diet. None of those offer eternal life. That’s a pretty amazing, extravagant promise, but that’s what Christ says. That’s what He says. Look at verse 28. 28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” …How can we eat of this diet? That’s sort of what the question was there… . 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” …And so that starts that process, we have to have faith, we have to have belief. And of course that’s part of the diet isn’t it? Part of that diet as we come to baptism is we’ve got to repent and believe. We’ve got to have the faith, in a sense, that this diet’s going to work that this diet’s something that we can stick with, this is a diet that we can maintain. And Christ is saying “Boy, through Me and by the Father, this can be fulfilled.” But what did they say?… 30 Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; …Aha, now we’re back to the other diet… as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” 32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven… .there’s those two diets. We’ve got a Perishable Diet and we’ve got the Bread of Life diet being mentioned here… 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life… .so He gets right to the heart and core of His diet… He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
So He compares and He contrasts these two diets. A perishable diet, what is a perishable diet? Well, we probably had a big meal last night. Did everyone have a pretty big meal? What did you either say or what did you think when they said, “Are you ready for dessert?” You probably said, “Ohhhh yeah, I am, give me more.” Well yeah, I couldn’t resist but we probably thought I won’t have to eat again. I’m never going to eat again. You ever, did you think that? Did you wonder, ah I won’t be able to eat another bite? Ok, how many of you had breakfast this morning, or lunch? One or the other. We ended up eating again today even though last night we thought we could by no means stuff another bite in. You see that’s kind of what Christ is pointing to when He talks about this perishable diet, because literally we ate food last night and today we’re ready for more. Perishable food, it’s food that you got to eat – you got to use it or it’s going to spoil. Literally perishable food spoils and aren’t you amazed how quickly it spoils sometimes? I cannot believe how those bananas turn brown like the day after you buy them, I mean it is amazing. Or you go into the refrigerator and you’re going to open up that cream cheese and put it on your matzo and instead of being white it’s green. Oh you know that? Ok, I’m not the only one to have done that. That’s perishable food. That’s food that doesn’t last, it’s food that we need to consume right away and it doesn’t last long. It doesn’t last long at all because after eating it, just like last night, you turn around and you’re hungry again, you’re thirsty again. That’s why Christ said here in verse 36, 37, 35 where back to the bread from heaven verse 31. They ate manna but guess what? They died. That manna did not sustain them forever. It supported life for a little while. It gave them some nutrition, but it couldn’t preserve them, could it? Couldn’t preserve them. At the woman at the well Christ said, “This water is going to make you thirsty again. Yeah, you’ll drink it but you’ll want more later on.” Christ talked about a water that He could give that would last forever and so over and over again Christ contrasted this Perishable Diet with the Bread of Life Diet. Physical food spoils, physical food doesn’t last. Physical food, sometimes they even call it consumable because you eat it and it’s gone and then of course with all of these various diets and all the food that’s out here, some of the food that this world has to offer is not very good for you is it?
I was reminded of a man that went into the little gourmet grocery store on the corner and as he shopped there he often noticed how knowledgeable the owner of the store was. He seemed to know everything about all the different types of food and the organics and seemed to have an amazing understanding of all these things. So one day he went in there and he asked the grocer, he said to him, “What is it that makes you so smart? How is it that you seem to know all these amazing details and you’re just so intelligent?” Well, the owner told him, “Well, I don’t share my secret with just anybody, but if you really want to be intelligent eat fish heads.” The man looked at him and he said, “Yeah if you eat enough of them you’re going to be brilliant.” So, sold him 4 fish heads, 6 bucks apiece, the man took them home. A week later he comes back into the store and he’s complaining, “These fish heads are disgusting! They are so disgusting and you know what? I am not any smarter than I was a week ago.” So the owner tells him, “You need to eat more. You need to eat more. You just didn’t eat enough of them, they just haven’t taken effect yet.” So he sells him 20 more fish heads at $6 apiece. So the man goes home and he starts eating these fish heads and after 3 weeks he comes back and this time he is mad. He is just furious with the owner. I mean he is so aggravated with this guy, he walks into the store, he grabs that owner and he says, “Listen, you were selling me these fish heads for 6 bucks apiece and I just learned I could buy the whole fish for $5!” The owner looked at him ans said,”It’s working.” Now that’s a weird diet. That is a perishable diet. I don’t think you want to eat any fish heads.
But the literal food that we eat that is spoiling if we don’t consume it has a connection to the figurative foods that perish. Not a literal food like that banana or that cream cheese or the fish heads, but there’s a perishable diet out there figuratively. Think of the figurative foods that perish, the figurative foods that spoil or that are wasted. Maybe you can call it man’s food. The food of this culture, the food of our society that we live in. How about the food of human knowledge, the food of human wisdom or the food of entertainment, the food of just pleasure, folly, craziness? There’s the food of addictions, there’s the food of obsession, the food of infatuation as well. Or so often times we see people get caught up in the food of riches, wealth, the food of the workaholic. Is there really lasting fulfillment in those things? Do those things really nourish us or are they just like the literal food that perishes and is consumed and is wasted and is gone? You see those kinds of things will spoil as well. It’s amazing that King Solomon wrote about that. You turn over to Ecclesiastes 2, Solomon wrote about these perishable foods, the foods that spoil figuratively. The food that we as human beings often live by most often seem to be wasted, and soon perish and don’t last and are spoiled. He wrote about it in Ecclesiastes 2:1 Ecclesiastes 2:1I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
American King James Version×, I’ll read this from the New Living Translation so it might be just a little bit different from your King James or you New King James, but right at the beginning of chapter 2 notice what Solomon said.
Ecclesiates 2:1-11 He said to myself, “Come now, let’s give pleasure a try… . Oh there’s that food of fun, that food of entertainment, that food of just pleasure he says let’s give that a try; let’s try that diet, let’s look for the good things in life …”But I found that this too was meaningless… didn’t nourish him… v.2 It is silly to be laughing all the time I said. What good does it do to seek only pleasure?… You see, that’s a perishable food in that perishable diet… v.3 After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine… Might as well get into drinking. Seems like people like to party, let’s get into that for a while. Let’s see if that part of the diet will be healthy. That will really bring me self-worth, really put me on a path that will be lasting, and he says… while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way I hoped to experience only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world… . So, drinking didn’t cut it. He found the same results. They were consumed and gone… . v.4 I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself, by planting beautiful vineyards… in getting all the stuff I could, all of the things I could buy, bigger home, better car, the American way is what we’d say today. Is that where I’m going to find true happiness? Is that where I’m going to find fulfillment? Is that something that is going to last? He said:… I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kind of fruit trees. v.6 I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves, I bought slaves both men and women and others were born into my household. I also owned great herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who lived in Jerusalem before me. … All of these accumulations, all of these things that he had to have. Sounds like our world doesn’t it? Well, was it in that? Maybe it was in money, maybe that’s the food that would help… v.8 I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers both men and women, I had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire… He had it all; he had it all… v.9 So I became greater than any of the kings who ruled before me and with it all I remained clear eyed so I could evaluate all things… So he came to a point to say, “Is this diet working? Is this really something that’s fulfilling? Is this something that’s lasting?” And he analyzed it… . v.10 Anything I wanted I took, I didn’t restrain myself from any joy. I even found great pleasure in hard work… . He became a workaholic… . an additional reward for my labors… . But… v.11 As I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish,… . was it meaningful? Was it fulfilling? Was it lasting? It says in the middle of… . v.11… .it was all so meaningless. Vanity of vanities. Uselessness. It was like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere… . any of the food of this kind of a perishable diet isn’t going to last. It won’t make it; it will not be fulfilling.
Solomon came to realize that that kind of a perishable diet just won’t work, and that’s what Christ was talking about. That kind of diet, that kind of work that we do to try to be fulfilled our own ways, Christ said that’s not going to work because without Jesus Christ we can’t be healthy. We can’t be fit, we can’t be whole, we can’t be balanced without eating of the diet of the bread of life. And see that’s the struggle. We find ourselves so often times like Solomon. We find ourselves on the wrong kind of spiritual diet, the wrong kind of an emotional diet and we take in all these ingredients, these foods that don’t work; that don’t work.
Now we might call them different things than what Solomon did. You know we might not find it on WebMD, but you know maybe we eat the internet diet. We spend all of our time on the internet and we get so consumed by it we think somehow satisfaction is going to come from there. Sometimes it’s also known as the Facebook Diet. Is that where satisfaction comes from? How about the Advertising Diet? We are plagued by so many hundreds of commercials and billboards and advertisements every single day that it shapes our thinking. It can infect our perception of what reality is all about, and we can get taken in by that. We can get taken in by the TV Diet, or maybe the Netflix Diet and we watch, and watch, and watch, and watch. We never read anything. We never talk; we never have conversations, we’re just entertained. Or maybe it’s the Hurry Up Diet. I’ve got to hurry up, I’ve got to make this happen, I’ve got to rush, I’ve got to scurry, I’ve got…… . Maybe that’s what we’re feeding on. There’s the Gaming Diet. I’ve got to play my games. I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do it and I got to do it for hours, and hours, and hours on end, and they just suck up all of our time. So, we can’t eat of the things that we need to be partaking of. Or the Busy Diet – I’m so busy, I’m always occupied, I’m always active and we have this occupied sickness because we’re eating the wrong food. And so if we fit into those kinds of diets and that’s what we’re partaking of, spiritually we are starving. We are starving.
Now we all know there’s a lot of food out here physically that’s not the best for us, and often times it’s pretty plain. I don’t think too many of us would say that we should eat at McDonalds all the time because they have the most nutritious food of all. It’s interesting, you think about McDonalds for just a moment, it wasn’t all that long ago, go back to 1968 they had a thousand restaurants around the world. Do you know how many they have today? 33,000 restaurants - 33,000. They serve more burgers every second than you can even imagine. Do you know how many burgers they serve every second? 75,000,000 burgers a second all around… .that’s unbelievable. They’ve got customers upon customers, upon customers. If you added up just the net worth they would be like the 90th largest economy in the world, and that’s phenomenal when you think about it. They say, McDonalds themselves will say 1 in every 8 American workers have worked at McDonalds. Maybe we take a raise your hand and see who’s worked there. And it gets scarier than that when you think about the things that they do. You know that more people recognize, this is around the world, more people recognize the golden arches than the cross. That’s amazing. Just think about how many Catholics and Protestants revere the cross, and yet more recognize the sign. In fact they did a survey of school kids. Ronald McDonald was recognized by how many school kids? What percentage of school aged children do you think recognized Ronald McDonald? 96%, so there are 4% that didn’t get it. There’s only one character, and I mean that, one character more recognizable than Ronald, guess who that is. Right, Santa. Yeah, oh Ronald is more recognizable than Mickey, isn’t that amazing. It’s just amazing and when you think about that physical food and we recognize the fact that that’s not the best food for us, and yet it’s one of the most recognizable things. It’s one of the most visited businesses when it comes to food than any other that’s out there. And in a sense Christ is comparing that perishable food, that physical food, to the spiritual and says don’t eat that. Now we know if we really want to be healthy that’s not the best choice. Well, it might keep us going for a while. It’s like I got to eat and I’ve got to eat now, so ok, I go there and it just keeps me going.
But that’s not the best and when it comes to the spiritual Christ says don’t labor, don’t work, don’t be consumed with that kind of food, that kind of diet whether it’s the Internet, or the Gaming, or whether it’s the TV, or the Hurry Up because that’s in a spiritual sense the McDonalds kind of diet. And so, Christ says don’t work for… . God doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work and labor to buy food and supply our needs and all that sort of stuff. That’s not what we’re talking about here because Paul said if you don’t work, you shouldn’t eat. So, yes we’ve got to work so we can buy food and sustain ourselves physically, but you see the difference between that Perishable Diet and the Bread of Life Diet gets down to the heart and core of really who we are, and what it is that sustains us.
It’s a good example of this, one I think we’re familiar with over in Luke 10:38 Luke 10:38Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
American King James Version×. Luke 10:38 Luke 10:38Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
American King James Version×is the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha. I think it’s a story that we’re familiar with but maybe not one we associate with a diet, but the story does connect. Let’s notice how it connects here, Luke 10:38 Luke 10:38Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
American King James Version×-
Luke 10:38 Luke 10:38Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
American King James Version×- The New Living says this,… . As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing… .Sounds a little bit like what we did last night. The New King James says: … she was distracted with much serving… She came to Jesus and she said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”… What does Jesus say? You see there’s many times throughout the Bible where people come to Christ and they ask Him to settle a problem. And true to character, He doesn’t really tell her to get up, get out and get going. He teaches a lesson by it. He refuses to side with one or the other the way that certainly Martha wants to, but notice what He says…. 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details!… Some translations say, you are worried over much, other translations say you are troubled, or you are bothered, or you are fretting, or you are anxious over all the details – the Perishable Diet and yet He says… 42 There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and I won’t take it away from her.”
The New King James says Martha, Martha, my dear Martha. He cared about her, He doesn’t rebuke her, He doesn’t put her down. He responds very tenderly and He instructs her in the process. He shows that He cares about her and He questions her not because of what she was doing, because we know in a meal like last night if you ate at someone’s home, it takes a lot of effort. There’s a lot of details that need to be taken care of. Those things have to happen if you’re going to have a nice meal. So, He wasn’t critical of her because of her activity, He was critical because of her attitude about it. It was her attitude about it. She had brought in unnecessary anxiety into the whole situation. She worried about it when she shouldn’t have had to worry about it. Even though it was a big dinner, even though there were lots of things to be prepared, she didn’t have to be worried about it. She didn’t have to be anxious, she shouldn’t have been upset and fretting over it. That was the real issue that Christ pointed to and He said just one thing is needed. One thing is needed. Have the right view, have the right priority He said. Look to what’s best not just what’s necessary, but what is best. If you were to read v.42 in various translations there’s quite a few of them that says, “Mary has chosen for herself the best part.” Not that Martha you’re terrible and awful, and you’re an awful person that’s going to be condemned to the lake of fire. That’s not what He was saying to her, but he was contrasting what was best. Is it best to eat healthy good food to sustain you, or should we all go to McDonalds – well not this week. Not this week. You see, there’s something that’s best and Mary chose what was best. And so I think the lesson in this story then is, so many times we expend all this energy and all this effort for the food, for the entertainment, for the things that don’t last. And those things perish, they spoil. And that Perishable Diet, Christ says, isn’t going to sustain us. It might help us a little while physically, but when it comes to what is eternal and what will last that’s not going to cut it. So that’s why Christ pointed to a different diet. He pointed to the Bread of Life Diet and you know some of the ingredients. What are the kinds of foods that we need to be eating if we’re of the Bread of Life Diet? We know Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×. You can just write it down. … ..’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” We know that.
There’s an interesting connection back in Deuteronomy. If you go to Deuteronomy 8:3 Deuteronomy 8:3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
American King James Version×, all the way back here we find the reference to a spiritual diet. Not a perishable physical food diet, but here we point to the way, all the way back here, to this diet that is of food that will last. Let’s notice it all the way back in Deuteronomy 8 beginning of the chapter, we’ll pick it up in v.3.
Deuteronomy 8:3 Deuteronomy 8:3And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
American King James Version× So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger,… Here as the Israelites were walking through the wilderness, what was God’s purpose? What was one of the lessons that they were to learn? Here’s a little summary of this as they’re coming into the Promise Land, He says:… 3 God humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you didn’t know nor did your fathers know… So He gave them physical food, why? Why did they get the manna? Was it just something to sustain them physically? Was it just a physical, perishable diet or was it intended to be the bread of life? An always sustaining diet all the way back here we see that it was intended to be a spiritual diet. Notice, their fathers didn’t know it; it says… that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord … . Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version× …Christ was quoting Himself. He was quoting the instructions to the people. The God of the Old Testament gave these instructions to them, that they would realize that kind of food is going to perish, and you need a sustaining diet that will lead to eternal life.
And so, over and over and over again we are told this Word is the kind of diet that we must feed off of. That’s what the Israelites should have been feeding off of and we’re told this over and over. You read through the Psalms and it comes up many, many times. David talked about how God’s Word is wonderful, how it is like gold, how it is like fine food. He talked about it being sweeter than honey. In fact, we sing that song about how I love thy law oh Lord. Remember that one? If we turn to the wrong page we might think, Oh how I love I thy law, not that one – the other one. How I love thy law oh Lord and the end goes, “sweeter are thy words to me, than all other words can be, safe I walk thy truth my light, hating falsehood loving right.” And so, is the food we’re eating, the words that we are taking in, are they really sweeter, sweeter than the wonderful desserts we had last night? You see those are the words, that when we live by them and they are inside of us, inside of our thinking and then shown in our actions, they are then more meaningful, more sweeter than any food, than any other words, and they do keep us safe. They are our light, they do give us direction and they are lasting. And over and over again throughout Scripture we are told that. That’s what we need to be feeding on; feeding on God’s Word so we can live God’s way. In fact, Isaiah the prophet, he commented on this as well in Isaiah 40:6 Isaiah 40:6The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
American King James Version×. Isaiah’s given some instructions here that bring the diet that Christ wants us to eat to mind. So in Isaiah 40 we find God giving instructions to Isaiah to prophesy to Jerusalem, and of course by extension he’s prophesying to us as we read his words as well. And down in v.6 Isaiah is told to … Cry out… and Isaiah says well… . What should I cry?” Who would have thought he would be crying out a diet? But in a way, I think he is, isn’t he? Notice what he’s told to cry out. He said -
Isaiah 40:6-8 Isaiah 40:6-8 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
7 The grass wither, the flower fades: because the spirit of the LORD blows on it: surely the people is grass.
8 The grass wither, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
American King James Version× … “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass… . You see this physical life is not going to last, it’s not something that’s going to bring ultimate fulfillment, it says… 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
And when that word is in us and Christ is living His life through us, that’s the kind of diet that is sustaining, spiritually sustaining. In fact, over in 1 Peter, Peter quotes this section of Scripture. You might just write down 1 Peter 1:22 1 Peter 1:22Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned love of the brothers, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently:
American King James Version×. He quotes from this same section in Isaiah, and he talks about the fact that as we eat of this diet we can be purified because it’s a healthy spiritual diet. It’s a diet that when we eat it in it’s going to help us to obey, it’s going to help us to love the brethren, it’s going to help us to reflect Christ, it’s going to help us to have a fervent desire to please God. And those are things that are permanent. Those are things that are lasting because when we feed on Jesus Christ and His word we will truly live. Because He is the bread of life and if we eat of that we continue to have that as our guide. We will have everlasting life, that’s one of the amazing promises. So Christ says, instead of laboring for this food of the world that doesn’t last, that perishes, He gives us a solution and He tells us clearly – feed on Christ as the bread of life. In fact He says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” It’s one of the beatitudes. And so when we’re hungering and we’re thirsting for that spiritual food, it’s also interesting there in Matthew 5 where the beatitudes are when He talks about hungering and thirsting, when we’re after that, He says it’s going to be like last night. We’re going to get to a point where we will be full. So when we’re hungering and thirsting for righteousness, Christ says there in the beatitudes, “You will be filled.” You see when we’re seeking after the other food, the Perishable Diet, that’s not going to last. That’s going to wear out and we’re going to be hungry again and it’s not really going to fulfill us. And so He says, when Christ, when Jesus Christ is at the core of who we are, that’s when we will never spiritually hunger again. Not only for Christ because we’re constantly filling ourselves, but we’re not going to be hungry for the things we shouldn’t have. We’re not going to want the junk food that this world has to offer. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that situation.
Ever gone to the store when you’re hungry? Bad idea – that’s a bad idea. I remember one day my wife sent me to the store to get pecans. So, she was going to make a nice little dessert so it’s like, I was starving. I think I missed lunch that day or something. For whatever reason go to the grocery store; I am starving and boy when you are hungry everything looks good. So it’s like, ok, I grab that little hand basket you know they have at the entryway, so I started walking through the store and it’s like whoa that looks really good. They had a little display where they were giving you samples and it’s like oh, that’s really good. I’ve never had that, I should get that. That’d be kind of nice to have. Well, then I had to go back and get a cart. So I went back and got a cart and I just started putting all these other things in the cart because I was hungry and it looked good and oh I’ll eat this when I get home. And maybe I’ll have a little bit of that so all of sudden, you know, all these items are in the cart. So I get home and I’m walking in with all these bags, you know how you get them all on your arms and you’re carrying them all and you know you’ve got ten bags and trying to carry them all in, so I get in there and of course the reaction is, “I only sent you to the store for one thing, what did you come back with?” So I go “Look at all this really great stuff!” So I pull it all out and I forgot the pecans. Go back to the store. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that. That’s really bad, that is really bad. But that’s the worst of it and I think in so many ways you try to get the nutritious things at the store. Sometimes you buy the junk food you’re not supposed to, but it sure was a reminder for me. I went to the store for the nuts and I forgot it. I got everything else, so my priorities got all out of whack. Got all out of whack and I think that’s kind of the way life is isn’t it? We go out; we leave services today, we’ve got this whole week ahead of us of unleavened bread, but boy the shelves of this world are stocked full with every choice imaginable, aren’t they? Every choice imaginable is out there and this grocery store of the world has everything to offer. Like Solomon, everything to offer, but nothing that lasts. It’s a Perishable Diet. And so the Bread of Life Diet on the other hand, that contrasts with having the right priorities. Setting our priorities right, allocating the resources that we have to the right things. So I bought a bunch of stuff I didn’t need, I shouldn’t have bought, probably blew the entire grocery budget that week on all the stuff because I was hungry and I didn’t do it right. My priorities were wrong, so in a way, we’ve got to be careful to what we’re giving priority to. What does God want with our priorities? What does He want with our purchases? What does He want for us to eat? In a way, unleavened bread reminds us what is our primary focus. If it’s what we can do and what we strive for, all too often that’s physical things. All too often that’s a perishable diet. In fact if you go back to John 6 again, John 6 let’s pick it up in verse 66. John 6:66 John 6:66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
American King James Version×. It’s that section of scripture right after Christ talked about eating His flesh and drinking His blood when He talked about partaking of the symbols of Passover which literally mean we’re ingesting Christ; we’re taking Christ within us so that we will live by His ways. Many of them didn’t understand that, they thought it was a literal thing and not a spiritual thing that He was talking about here.
John 6:66-69 John 6:66-69 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus to the twelve, Will you also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life.
69 And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God.
American King James Version× When He explained this to those that were following Him it says… . From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
And now that you know we have kept the Passover and we’re beginning the Days of Unleavened Bread, we know where the bread of life is. We understand the bread of life; we know that Jesus Christ is our sustenance. Where would we go? Anywhere else we would go it would be a perishable diet and so to know Him is eternal life. To have His mind, Philippians 2 talks about that, to obey Him as the author of eternal life. We know that Christ has the ultimate diet. We know that Christ’s diet is a diet of peace, it’s a diet of generosity, it’s a diet of faithfulness, it’s a diet of righteousness. And you know those things are in a way they’re like the minimum daily requirements because if our life is going to last forever those are things we have to be feeding on as we feed on Christ. And so our goal during unleavened bread is to remember – we have a choice. We have a choice between these two diets, the perishable one or the bread of life, and unleavened bread is a wonderful reminder to stay on the diet. Stay on the spiritual diet because every day we’ll be watching you know, is this something that was rising? Does this have yeast in it? Does this have baking soda? What’s in this? We’ll be noticing that this week. And so we’re making it a priority and as we do that I hope we’re reminding ourselves that it’s not just a physical thing. Am I eating the food that endures to everlasting life? Over in Philippians 3:7 Philippians 3:7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
American King James Version×let’s notice what it says there and how Paul encourages us as he did those in Philippi to stay on the diet. It is wonderful that God gives us an entire week to change our eating habits, to notice the things that are going into our mouths and hopefully that is an amazing reminder that we have to watch what goes not only into our mouth, but into our minds, into our hearts so that we can watch what comes out of our minds and our hearts.
Philippians 3:7-10 Philippians 3:7-10 7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death;
American King James Version× He reminds us… . I once thought all these things we so very important… That’s what New Living says, … . but now, I consider them dross, or worthless because of what Christ has done… I recognize these two diets. The diet of Christ is something that endures; the diet that this world has to offer is worthless… 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with to the pricesless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… .I’ve discarded everything else, … just like that leavening that went out, I’ve discarded everything else on that kind of diet… counting it as garbage (that’s what the Living says) so I may have Christ… . that I may attain Christ… 9 to be found in Him. Not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ. The righteousness that comes from God and is by faith… .And so he says, I want that diet. I want to live more by that diet … . 10 I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death and so somehow to attain the resurrection of the dead.
And so that’s what we can thrive on because we symbolize that at our baptism. We recognized and recommitted ourselves at the Passover, so now we are on that sin-free path of seeking to more fully know Jesus Christ, understand God the Father and realize that this is something we do daily. That it is not something that we do once a year, but we’re growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He set the standard for us and we’re striving to be more and more like Him, and that’s the kind of diet that gives us life. And He gives us that bread to eat as we allow Him to live in us and as we allow Him to live through us.
And so, unleavened bread reminds us – do we need a diet? We do. Now the question is: what diet are we on? What food are we laboring for? Are we focusing on the temporary or the eternal? Are we looking to Christ? Are we looking to things that truly cannot satisfy us, because Christ offers just the opposite? The true bread of life satisfies, the true bread of life is hopeful, the true bread of life is abundant and the true bread of life is eternal. Final scripture over in Isaiah 55. Isaiah 55:2 Isaiah 55:2Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
American King James Version×, I’ve kind of made it my theme scripture for this feast because I think it gets right to the heart and core of what the lesson of unleavened bread is all about.
Isaiah 55:2-3 Isaiah 55:2-3 2 Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
American King James Version× Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. 3 Incline your ear, and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the sure mercies of David.
And so we’re reminded, not only this week of Unleavened Bread, but let us always feed on the Bread of Life!