If you’ve ever been to a church service before, you have probably heard the old analogy preached “how often do you eat? More than once, right? So you should feed your spirit more than once as well.” This is an often-used statement which highlights the importance of continual spiritual feeding – it’s also a good analogy, quite Biblical in-fact… however the Bible does not stop there. The scriptures are very clear about what – or I should say who we are to continually feed on.
What we will be studying today, is what exactly the scriptures say about feeding on Jesus, how this feeding occurs and how feeding continually on Jesus benefits us. God does not leave any of these details out, because He wants us to know and receive all that He has given to us. So if your spirit has been hungry, or even if you don’t realize that it has been, come, taste and see that the LORD is good, and let’s feed on Jesus today.
Our first scripture today is going to be at the very beginning of the baby Jesus here on earth, because from the very start He shows what His purpose is, why He came and how we should receive from Him. So let’s read Luke 2:6-7:
“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
We see an interesting detail here in these verses. There was no room for Jesus at the inn. Now it is more likely that this “inn” is not the type of inn that we think of today, but that it was actually a house, and it may even have been David’s house which he wanted Chimham to live in, mentioned from 2nd Samuel chapters 17 through 19, 1st Kings chapter 2 and Jeremiah 41:17, which would make things even more interesting. Regardless, whether you see this inn as a traditional travelers inn, or a family house, the fact remains that there was no room for them there, which leads to the real detail that Jesus was placed in a manger.
Today we think of a manger as a wooden thing that you see in most nativity scenes. However real mangers were made of stone back then and they were in the stables. Mangers were actually feeding troughs; that is where Jesus was placed, and I want you to see the imagery here, because this detail is in the Bible for a reason… Jesus was placed in a feeding trough. Where creatures would go for food, Jesus was there. Now the significance of this continues on further when the angel appears to the shepherds in verses 10-12:
“And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
The angel brings good news, great joy not for them only, but to all people. An important event has occurred… that today a Savior is born, which is Christ the Lord. The angel didn’t call Him a judge or a law-giver. And right after telling them that the Savior, the Christ, the anointed One of God has been born upon the earth, look at what the angel proclaims next in verse 12: And this shall be a sign to you; You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger.
Now I must admit, at first I didn’t give this statement a lot of thought… but the more I saw it, the more I started pondering, “why is this a sign? Aren’t most babies wrapped in swadling clothes?”, it might be a sign to find a baby laying in a feeding trough, but the swaddling clothes didn’t make sense. Always remember, there are no insignificant details in the Bible! There is special significance here; there is a reason why the angel mentions both the swaddling clothes and the manger as a sign. Because in verse 8 it mentions that after Mary gave birth to Jesus, they [the shepherds] were in the same country. These shepherds where Bethlehem shepherds, watching over the flock of Migdal Edar, the sacrificial flocks. The traditional place where Passover Lambs are born. And also prophesied where the true sacrificial Lamb, the Messiah was to appear (Micah 4:8, Micah 5:2)
Furthermore, the Greek tense of the phrase “wrapped in swaddling clothes” is actually having been swaddled. This is important because as these Levitical shepherds knew, each sacrificial lamb as it is being prepared for sacrifice, must be wrapped in swaddling bands in order to prevent the lamb from thrashing around, injuring itself and causing a blemish.
So the two signs that these shepherds would have completely understood, were that Jesus had been swaddled, and laid in a manger, a feeding trough. He was wrapped as a sacrificial lamb, and placed in a manger, so that all people can feed on Him.
Jesus Himself continued this idea of us feeding on Him throughout His earthly ministry as well. When He proclaimed that He was the true Bread, the Living Bread the Real Manna that came down from Heaven in John 6:32-35.
Jesus is the true bread which we should be feeding on. Yet many people are not doing this. We have this mentality today that as long as we are simply doing something with a religious theme, that we are feeding correctly. We’ve actually allowed the Pharisaical mindset to cause us to forget how to eat. We think, as long as I go to church and hear a message from a preacher, I have fed on Jesus. As long as I read my Bible and pray, then I have fed on Jesus. The problem is that it is entirely possible to hear a sermon preached straight out of the Bible, and still not feed on Jesus. It is entirely possible to read the Bible like a rulebook, looking for all the things that you think you need to do, or merely learn Bible facts and trivia, and still not feed on Jesus. It is possible to pray with a legalistic mentality and not feed on Jesus – trust me, I’ve been there. I have experienced all of these things, and my spirit was starving to death.
You see my friend, to feed on Jesus is entirely different than simply using Him as a guide or example as many people try to do today. They think that Jesus came to show them how to behave in order to live – No, He came to give them life, which is Himself!
Learning about Jesus is completely different than feeding on Jesus. You can learn all of the Bible facts in the world and impress those around you with your vast amount of knowledge, but still have no power there. Jesus said in John 6:53 that unless you eat His flesh and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Then continuing in verse 34, He that does, has eternal life.
This tells you what specifically you should be feeding on, the pure essence of Jesus, not rules, not regulations, not mere Bible trivia or Bible facts, not politics, not psychology, numerology or Christian mysticism. The true way to feed on Jesus is to eat His flesh and drink His blood. What is that a picture of? Communion. What does communion represent? His sacrifice for you. That is the Gospel, that is His finished work for you. To feed on Jesus is to receive the truth of what He has done for you, what your status in Him is. How He has cleansed you and made you holy – understand that you are not trying to do these things yourself! He has already done them for you!
Do you know that by eating, by feeding on Christ, you can have victory over your enemies? It sounds ridiculous, but David knew the secret… David wrote in Psalm 23:5, that God prepares a table for him, in the presence of his enemies. Which seems totally counter-intuitive until you stop to consider exactly what was on the dining table. Jesus said that He was the bread of life, The Hebrew word for bread is lechem, which comes from the root, lacham, to stand (as in war), and what are we told to do against the enemy? The scriptures say over and over again, to stand. Stand in the Armor of God against the enemy (Ephesians 6:13), stand against the fiery arrows. Stand in Christ. How? By struggling? By striving? No… by eating – and not just any food, The bread of Life, the Living Manna, Jesus Christ.
Why is it important to keep feeding? why is it important to keep hearing the Gospel of Grace and to keep feeding on Christ? Because everything in the world tries to pull you away. It took Peter six days to completely forget that Jesus was the Christ. He totally forget His God-given revelation about Jesus being the anointed One, a mere six days later (less than one week) in Matthew 17. And there are a lot of false message out there in the world, and many false teachers even behind church pulpits, preaching works, laws, rules, condemnation and death. Yet Jesus says, Eat My flesh, Drink my blood. Feed on My sacrifice for you, and you will have everlasting life. Remember that faith comes by hearing that is a continual hearing, not just having heard one time. If you only hear “I love you” from your spouse once and never hear it again, and the rest of the time you are hearing messages about divorce and marriage trouble and all bad news, it won’t be long before that pollution filters in.
Paul wrote in Acts 20:32: “… I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”
We are commended (committed) to God, and the Word of His Grace. The Holy Spirit could’ve written anything through Paul here. He could’ve written “Now I commend you to the Law of Moses, which kills all who disobey it.”, but instead, the Spirit chose to commend us to the Grace of God, which doesn’t puff-up with undue pride as many seem to think, but it builds up, and gives you an inheritance. The message of Grace in Christ, builds you up in Him, in His truth and His promises, it doesn’t tear you down. The message of Grace in Christ gives you an inheritance, it shows you all of what Jesus has given you, and the position which He has paced you in; it doesn’t steal your inheritance away. As you feed on Christ, you become stronger, healthier, more alive, spiritually, mentally and even physically. His words are life and health to your flesh, your body. (Proverbs 4:22, John 6:63)
Feed on Christ, feed on His Grace, what do you do with bread? You eat it. He fed the multitudes after having the sit down, He wants you to simply rest and feed on His finished work. He is the ultimate banquet. Dine on Him continually, and you will never go hungry.