Are you washed? Or just starched and ironed?

Kids in bathJohn Wesley observed, “The church recruited people who had been starched and ironed before they were washed.” With all due adjustments for differing laundry habits, the same can be said for the church in all times and places from the beginning.

Maybe even before the beginning. In Mark 7, the Pharisees complained to Jesus that his disciples didn’t properly wash their hands before they ate. Jesus didn’t respond with the deferential apology they evidently expected. In effect, he pointed out that they might be ceremonially washed, but not clean.

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How to eat the Bread of life

Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. . . If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” His audience of devout Jews grumbled. So did his disciples, so much so that some of them stopped following him (John 6:66). It’s still a disturbing thought, but for the Christian, the obvious application of this metaphor is communion. Jesus said the bread is his body and the wine is his blood.

Jesus compared his claim to the manna in the desert, except that everyone who ate that food eventually died. Yet Paul makes it clear that the manna was spiritual food, as well as physical food.… Read the rest

Pontius Pilate on trial

As far as the Sanhedrin was concerned, they had arrested Jesus and put him on trial. Since Rome had long since taken away their right to carry out a death sentence, they had to take him to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate for another trial. In fact, however, Jesus never was and never can be on trial. Whoever encounters Jesus for whatever reason is on trial. The stakes are higher than life or death of the body. The outcome of the trial determines eternal destiny.

The Jewish leadership dragged Jesus to Pilate’s palace and accused Jesus of sedition against Rome.… Read the rest

Thoughts on the bread of life: you are what you eat

Photo by John Snyder - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo by John Snyder – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

What happens when we eat, say, a piece of bread?

  1. Most foods are not bite-sized, so we have to cut it up, tear it apart, or bite off a chunk.
  2. When we put it in our mouth, we chew it. That breaks it up even more.
  3. We digest it in our stomach and intestines, breaking it up very thoroughly.

From there, it enters the bloodstream and is carried to every cell in our body.

On the last evening of his earthly life, Jesus broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take.… Read the rest

Washed? or clean?

We’ve all heard many times that thorough hand washing is the single most effective step in slowing the spread of infectious diseases. If we can’t use soap and water, now we have hand-sanitizers that kill germs and then quickly evaporate.

I was washing my hands at a restaurant once, when one of the employees came out of the toilet and left without washing his hands. I reported him to the manager. His behavior was unsanitary.

A Pharisee once invited Jesus to his home for lunch, and to his shock, Jesus did not wash his hands. But his shock was not like mine.… Read the rest

Cleansing blood

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”–Revelation 1:5b-6, NKJV.

Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? The very question has always made me cringe. Blood is sticky and messy. It stains things, ruins things, contaminates things. A fountain filled with blood? Yuck. Plunged beneath the cleansing flood? Sounds disgusting. And yet. . .

That’s what happens when blood gets outside the body. When it’s inside the body, cleansing is exactly what it does.… Read the rest