Although I’ve been a Charismatic in theory for most of my Christian life, I would say I have not been one in practice, at least not in terms of outward manifestations of God the Holy Spirit. I have had mystical experiences, to be sure, but only inwardly. So, when I had an embarrassingly emotional charismatic experience a few weeks ago, my boat was rocked. It made me seriously uncomfortable.
I had to face my own pride and come to terms with becoming like a child.
There’s a great part of John 6 where Jesus compares himself to the manna from heaven that God gave the Israelites while they were wandering in the desert (cf. Exodus 16:4). He says,
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. (John 6:50, ESV)
This is offensive. Not only is Jesus making a bold claim about his divinity here, he’s using a metaphor that sounds like cannibalism–a big no-no for first century Jews.
Remember that the blood of an animal or person was sacred to the Jews; they would never eat any meat with blood left in it. See what Jesus says next to make his point:
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. (John 6:56, ESV)
Jesus was deliberately making people uncomfortable and intentionally challenging their cultural assumptions.
Jesus was illustrating that in order to follow him, we’ll have to leave part of ourselves behind.
You and I are constantly confronted with truths from the Bible that we simply don’t understand yet. We encounter applications of the Scriptures that run counter to our political ideals and cultural values.
This is going to be hard, but are we going to let it kill our belief?
Or will we stand with Simon Peter, who, even though he didn’t understand everything yet, said
...“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:68-69, ESV)
Is Jesus making you uncomfortable? Good. Maybe he’s trying to teach you something.
How has God challenged your emotional and cultural baggage?