Food and Clothing; Christ in You and You in Christ

Two of the great themes that run through the Bible from beginning to end are food and clothing.

The first instruction God gives directly to man is to be careful what he eats. Man can eat from any tree of God’s garden, including the tree of life, but man should not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God created man naked, even though man was not aware of this until he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Man then tried to clothe himself with leaves. Man attempted to cover himself with that which had revealed he was uncovered. God stepped in and clothed man with the skin of an animal.

The Bible closes with a wedding feast, the wedding feast that God gave man access to in the beginning before man rejected it for one piece of fruit from a single tree.

At that wedding feast is a bride, the bride of Christ. She is no longer naked but adorned for her husband, having the glory of God, her radiance like a most rare jewel.

In between the first few chapters of Genesis and the last few chapters of Revelation, the themes of food and clothing are seen over and over, each time from a different vantage point. While Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, God fed her daily with manna from heaven and her clothes never wore out. And, Paul says godliness with contentment is great gain. For, if we have food and clothing, then with these we will be content (notice he never even mentioned a home).

But, these themes of food and clothing are meaningless, unintelligible, without Jesus Christ. He, and he alone, provides the substance and the meaning to these two great metaphors of food and clothing.

Jesus says, “Abide in me and I in you.”

Jesus says, “Whoever abides in me and I in him.”

Jesus says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you.”

Do you see who is in the center of those three statements? Jesus!

Jesus is at the center of life, of abiding. He has the place of preeminence.

But, look again at how Jesus expounds on abiding.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.

Vine → Branches → Fruit

Jesus is the vine. You are the branches.

Who is the fruit? The Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ.

Vine → Branches → Fruit

Christ In → You → In Christ

The vine feeds the branches with its sap, its life. Christ in you is the epitome, the fullness, the truth of the theme of food that runs through the Bible. For this grand theme of Christ in you, we have been given an act to commemorate it. We call it communion. We partake of the bread, symbolizing Jesus as the true bread from heaven. We partake of the wine, symbolizing the blood of Christ in which is eternal life, the life of God. We do this as often as we get together. Eating and drinking must be done daily for physical life. So, must we eat and drink daily of Christ for his life to be in us. The vine feeds the branches. Jesus is our food. Christ in you.

But, as the sap of the vine, its very life, flows through you, it produces fruit. Fruit that is of the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. You are now in Christ. The tree bears fruit. The tree is clothed with fruit. You are clothed with Christ. For this grand theme of you in Christ, we also have been an act to commemorate it. We call it baptism. In baptism, we put off the old man and put on the new man – a change of clothing. We are baptized into Christ, into his righteousness, into his clothing. But, unlike communion, this act, baptism, is done just once. We only need to change clothes one time as we eat daily of Jesus.

Vine → Branches → Fruit

Christ In → You → In Christ

Christ in heaven as the head of his body. You, the body of Christ in the earth. You are a witness of him to all the world, partaking in the ministry of reconciliation, through the bearing of fruit, which is the expression of the life of Christ in the earth. On earth you are his body, the expression of the life of Christ.

You are the priest, the mediator, of Christ between heaven and earth. This is how you participate with Christ in the reconciling of all things to God.

The vine is nothing to look at. But, the fruit is the glory of the tree.

Vine → Branches → Fruit

Christ In → You → In Christ

Christ in you is the hope of glory!

Food and Clothing

Communion and Baptism

The Vine and the Fruit

Christ in You and You in Christ

How impotent are the words. How powerful is the truth!

What Book Could You Read Over and Over?

In our company newsletter, we have a section where you can get to know new employees. We ask them a series of questions that reveal something about themselves. One of the questions is the title of this post.

I enjoy reading the answers. And, every time I read the answers I think about how I would answer the question. My answer would be short, but my explanation would be rather lengthy.

So, what book could I read over and over? The Bible.

In fact, it is the only book that I have ever read more than once. Cover-to-cover, I think I have read through the Bible at least 10 times now.

That is not to say I haven’t read other good books. I have read a lot of good books, and there have been a few that I planned to read again (Les Miserable being the most likely). But, it never happens. I think the reason is because I already know the plot. There’s no suspense. The element of surprise is gone. The first read is fresh, new, alive, exciting. The second is not.

So, how is it that I have spent the last six or seven years reading the Bible all the way through over and over? And, why is it that I will start again “in the beginning” on January 1?

Because every time I sit down to read the Bible I find some thought, some idea, some insight that is fresh, new, alive, exciting. But, these are not just random thoughts, random ideas, random insights. These are moments of inspiration and revelation from the Holy Spirit regarding my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And, since Jesus is alive, each new revelation of old words, words I’ve read numerous times, brings life to my spirit, my mind, and my body.

Perhaps you have never experienced the Bible this way. Perhaps you have never read it all the way through. Perhaps you have read the Bible cover to cover but only out of some sort of obligation so the experience was dull, boring, forced.

If one of the above statements is you, and even if one of them is not, then I would like to invite on the journey through the Bible with me in 2017.

Check back tomorrow to see what the journey entails.