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Food Glorious Food!

07 May 2021

A still from the Oliver Twist film showing Oliver holding his bowl

This song from Oliver the musical captures the expectations of the children enslaved in a Victorian workhouse. Consigned to a diet of gruel, glorious heavenly food can only be grasped in the imagination of their dreams. 


So too the Israelites, brought up on the diet of religion dispensed dispassionately and manufactured by the Temple machine which Jesus cleared out in chapter 2.  John the Baptist has started to whet the appetites of many Jews who start to think he may be the One.  When things are going well and your name is becoming known it would be so easy to bask in the glory but here John understands the season.  It is time for him to become less and Jesus to become greater and he’s glad.


That is a challenge for each of us if we are honest with ourselves.  How much are we prepared to say yes to His will and lay down our wills, so He becomes greater? 


As for Jesus, His diet is clear “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work” and strangely the disciples experience Jesus seemingly reading the wrong menu and neglecting appropriate Jewish etiquette.  John 4:4 says “Now He had to go through Samaria” but the traditional route from Jerusalem to Galilee for a Jew (in his right mind) was to go round rather than through Samaria. After all, Jews and Samaritans despised each other and there would surely be no welcome on the two-day journey. But Jesus, who spent time with His Father in the early hours each day, knew His Father’s voice so He obeyed the call of heaven.


When reason or emotions shout, it is important to feed on and speak out the Word of God, that the voice of the flesh may decrease and the voice of the Lord may increase in shaping the direction of our lives.


And oh, what an encounter God had set up.  In a seemingly insignificant place mentioned nowhere else in scripture, the One who has come from the highest heaven meets an outcast woman of an outcast people group, the lowest of the low you might say.  Jesus ignores all the etiquette of the day, going out of His way, to reach this woman with a word from heaven. 


Here, we see this woman completely transformed by her encounter with Jesus, and so much so that she is no longer ashamed to talk about her life openly. No longer avoiding people by going to the well at the hottest part of the day when all was quiet to avoid the gossip, she goes running to her village to tell them about this much bigger story, the Messiah has come!  Many believe her words and many more believe His words as they receive Him into their village … Jesus reaping where the Father has sown and like Father, like Son they share great joy as these outcasts accept Jesus as Messiah (Saviour) and trust in Him.


See how Jesus has graciously included this lowly woman in His work, enabling her to now have a voice and share the good news, opening the door a little to show God’s bigger plan of salvation for both Jew and Samaritan together as One people (the Gentiles and the ends of the earth were coming in Acts 1:8 as directed by the Holy Spirit).  The need to go and tell is a today thing, the harvest is ripe!


The Samaritans take Jesus at His word but not so the Jews of Galilee who demand miraculous healings like those He did in Jerusalem and demand miraculous feeding.  In their God bless Israel alone (bless me me me) culture they saw Jesus as a meal ticket, the manna of their history was no more than food to get through to another day, satisfying their physical needs.  Yet before them stood Jesus, the real manna of heaven, no longer to be grasped only in dreams but a present reality on earth.  Here stood the spiritual food that alone satisfies the spiritual need of every soul to be made whole.  Jesus was on the menu but the people refused to eat, rejecting glorious food for the same old gruel on ‘just getting by’ street.


These scriptures have stirred so many questions in me.  How hungry are we for the food of God?  How diligently do we study the menu of heaven? How excited are we to try a new dish that God has prepared for us?  Where are we prepared to go for Jesus? What cultural etiquette are we prepared to step across to reach the lost? 


Add some of your own and share some comments as part of our daily readings, we love to hear what God is speaking and how God is moving amongst us all at GoChurch. Share some daily bread with folk this week, nothing tastes better than freshly baked bread…mmm, food, glorious food!

Photo of Peter Hayes

Peter Hayes
Core Leadership Team
GoChurch Manchester